Chocolate Strawberry Layer Cake

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Cakes / Chocolate / Fruit

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Second to Christmas, Birthdays happen to be one of my favorite holidays.  Mine, my husbands, my friends…I love celebrating each and every one of them.  Maybe it’s that no celebration better warrants an over-the-top, sky high, sprinkle-crammed, multi-layered birthday cake.  With as many candles as you could possibly cram on top.  My birthday cake is no exception.  Filled with strawberries, chocolate and cream cheese it’s what my cake dreams (and hopefully yours) are made of.

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It is well documented that chocolate and fruit are one of my favorite flavor combinations.  As Spring is now officially upon us in DC I am chomping at the bit to start baking with all the seasonal fruit that’s going to start rolling in.  Strawberries are one of the first that start to make an appearance and I cannot wait to start perusing the farmers market in the coming weeks for allllll the fruit.  Let’s just not tell my husband how much organic berries cost m’kay?  I get enough grief for the state of my grocery bill as it is.

However, I digress.  This cake is everything a birthday cake should be.  The different cake layer flavors alone is enough to impress, but add strawberry cream cheese filling and enough sprinkles so that no one mistakes this is not a celebration its definitely one of my favorite to date.

*recipe adapted by Style Sweet CA

Ingredients

For the Strawberry Puree
12-15 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the Strawberry Confetti Cake
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk

For the Classic Chocolate Cake
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup whole milk
1 cup hot strong-brewed coffee

For the Strawberry Cream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 cups confectioners sugar
3-4 tablespoons strawberry puree

For the Confetti Buttercream
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups vanilla swiss meringue buttercream
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup sprinkles of choice

Instructions

For the Strawberry Puree
1. Place the strawberries, sugar, and salt in a food process and process until smooth.  Set aside

For the Strawberry Confetti Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans and set aside
2. Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the sugar and mix on medium-high until the butter is light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.
4. Turn the mixer to medium-low and add the egg yolks one at a time, the vanilla, and 3/4 cup of the strawberry puree (reserve the rest for the strawberry cream).  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl
5. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in two batches.  Add the milk.  Mix on medium for no more than 30 seconds after the last streak of the dry ingredients are combined.  Fold in 1/2 cup of sprinkles
6. Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean.  Let them cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.

For the Classic Chocolate Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour two 6-inch cake pans and set aside
2. Sif together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the oil and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.  With the mixer on, add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl
4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three batches, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Stop and scrape down the bowl.  With the mixer on low, stream in the coffee.  Mix on medium-low for no more than 30 seconds, or until combined
5.  Evenly divide the batter among the prepared pans.  Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes come out clean.  Let them cool on a wire rack for 10-15 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans

Make the Strawberry Cream
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until smooth.  With the mixer on low, gradually add the confectioners sugar and 3-4 tablespoons of the reserved strawberry puree until incorporated.  Turn the mixer to medium-high and mix until smooth and creamy.  Transfer to a separate bowl and set aside.  Wipe out the mixing bowl

For the Confetti Buttercream
1. Make recipe swiss meringue buttercream, recipe found here
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium-low for 2 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups buttercream and almond extract and mix on medium  until smooth.  Fold in 3/4 – 1 cup sprinkles.

Assemble the Cake
1.  Once the cakes have cooled completely, level them and choose which layer will be at the bottom
2. Place it on a cake platter or serving dish
3. Spread 1/2 cutoff the strawberry cream with an offset spatula.  Top with the next cake layer, being sure to alternate between the chocolate and strawberry cakes and repeat twice with the strawberry cream, ending with the fourth layer
4. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the confetti buttercream and decorate with the remaining sprinkles

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