So I think we’ve probably done our time on the healthy eating front and deserve a little treat for showing so much restraint over the last few weeks. And what better way to treat yourself than a slice of chocolate cake, iced with chocolate ganache and filled with cream and strawberries. Yes, I can literally hear you salivating at the thought.
The recipe is originally from Jamie Oliver’s “The Return of the Naked Chef” and is called Party Cake in his version, but in our house it’s referred to as chocolate strawberry cake for obvious reasons. I’ve stayed true to the majority of the recipe save for the icing. Jamie’s version has an icing made from butter, icing sugar and dark chocolate. I’ve swapped this for a chocolate ganache as it’s less sweet and much tastier in my opinion.
I first made this cake back in 2005 whilst trying to impress the Perky Kebab with my culinary skills on his birthday. Things obviously went to plan as I managed to get him to marry me (even if it did take 8 years…) but sadly my plan may have may have worked a little too well. Whilst I’m always brimming with new cakes to try; cakes bigger and better and more delicious (hopefully!) than the last one, every year the same response comes when asked whether he’d like something new: “But what about my chocolate strawberry cake??”. So no room for innovation in our household it seems.
The good news is that this is an exceptionally delicious cake, so in spite of all my complaining, it’s not exactly a hardship to make it. The sponge is light and fluffy with a sprinkling of flaked almonds baked into it. The strawberry and cream filling is clearly going to be a winning combination, especially when paired with the chocolate ganache topping, which runs deliciously down the side of the cake as it sets. A perfect party cake for any celebration.
Chocolate Strawberry Cake
Very slightly adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Party Cake
For the sponge:
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
200g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
A large handful flaked almonds
For the filling:
200ml double cream
For the topping:
150g dark chocolate broken into pieces
150ml double cream
1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/160°c fan/350°f/gas mark 4. Line the bases of two 20cm/8 inch sandwich tins with greaseproof paper then grease the sides using a little butter.
2. Add 4 tablespoons of boiling water to the cocoa powder and mix until smooth.
3. Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy then add the eggs, cocoa mixture, flour and baking powder and mix well. Stir through the flaked almonds.
4. Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. To check the cakes are cooked, insert a toothpick or skewer into the centre. If it comes out clean then they are done. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
5. Meanwhile, make the ganache topping. Heat the cream until bubbles appear around the sides but it’s not boiling. Pour over your broken up chocolate. Leave to stand for a minute before stirring well, allowing all the chocolate to melt. (Your ganache will split if your chocolate gets too hot.) Leave the ganache to cool down so it is still runny but won’t just run off the cake.
6. Whip the cream until you have soft peaks. Putting 5 strawberries to the side for decoration, hull the rest of the strawberries and chop into small pieces. Hull and halve the remaining 5 strawberries.
7. Now it’s time to assemble your cake. Spread the cream over one cake and then scatter your diced strawberries over the top. Place the second cake on top and then pour over the ganache. I find the best way to minimise mess is to do so on a wire rack with some cling film spread out underneath so you can just scoop up the chocolately cling film afterwards and bin it. Once the ganache has set slightly, decorate with the reserved strawberry halves.
The cake will keep happily in the fridge overnight.