Juicy, chocolate-coated strawberries are the crowning glory on this irresistible cake. The Aztecs called chocolate the food of the gods, and this cake is a slice of heaven. Preparation Time 60 - 130 minutes Cooking Time 140 minutes.
Ingredients (serves 60)
Melted butter, to grease
750g butter, chopped
3 x 200g pkts dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tbs vanilla essence
600g (3 cups, firmly packed) brown sugar
375g (2 1/2 cups) self-raising flour
300g (2 cups) plain flour
80g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder
10 eggs, lightly whisked
250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
2 x 375g pkts dark choc melts
3 x 250g punnets large strawberries, washed, dried
100g white choc melts
100g milk choc melts
Ribbon, to decorate
2 x 200g pkts dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 x 300g ctns sour cream.
Preheat oven to 160°C. Brush a 24cm (base measurement) square cake pan and a 20cm (base measurement) square cake pan with melted butter to grease. Line the base and sides with non-stick baking paper.
Place the butter, chopped dark chocolate and vanilla in a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth. (See tip 1.)
Add the sugar, combined flour, cocoa powder, egg and buttermilk to the chocolate mixture. Use a balloon whisk to whisk until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pans. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the small cake comes out clean. Remove the small cake from oven and set aside in the pan to cool completely. Bake the large cake for a further 30 minutes. Set aside in the pan to cool completely.
To make the chocolate panels, cut non-stick baking paper into four 7 x 60cm strips. Place the strips on a clean work surface. Place the dark choc melts in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon for 5 minutes or until the chocolate melts and is smooth. Spoon the chocolate along each of the baking paper strips. Use a palette knife to spread the chocolate over the baking paper strips. Set aside for 30 minutes or until set. Reserve the leftover chocolate. Use a small sharp knife to cut the chocolate crossways into 6.5cm-wide panels to make 28 panels.
To make the chocolate ganache, place chocolate and sour cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until the mixture is smooth. Place in the fridge for 40 minutes to chill.
Meanwhile, line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Melt the reserved chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl doesn't touch the water). Stir with a metal spoon until smooth. Dip one-third of the strawberries halfway into the chocolate to coat. Place on the lined tray and set aside for 15 minutes to set. Repeat, in 2 separate batches, with remaining strawberries and the white choc melts, and milk choc melts.
Use a large serrated knife to trim the top from both cakes. (See Tip 2, below). Place the largest cake, cut-side down, on a serving platter. Use a palette knife to spread two-thirds of the chocolate ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Place the small cake, cut-side down, on top. Spread the remaining ganache evenly over the top and sides of the small cake. Attach the chocolate panels to the sides of the cakes, overlapping slightly. Wrap ribbon around the large cake and tie or use double-sided tape to secure. Arrange strawberries on top to serve.
Notes & tips
Freezing tip: At the end of step 4, cool completely. Wrap each cake in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of foil. Label, date and freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight at room temperature. Continue from step 5.
Cook's tip: To melt chocolate in microwave, place in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on Medium/500watts/50%, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth.
Tip 1: When melting the chocolate, ensure the bowl fits snugly in the pan and doesn't touch the water. Don't boil. If steam escapes and enters the bowl, the chocolate will "seize" and become hard and lumpy.
Tip 2: To create a smooth surface for the chocolate ganache, trim the raised top from each cake (as above). Then turn each cake over so the base becomes the top. This also stops crumbs collecting in the ganache.
Cutting the cake: Cut the cake following these handy tips: Remove the ribbon and transfer the strawberries to a plate. Use a large sharp knife to cut the cake into slices. Dip the knife in hot water and wipe dry with a clean tea towel between slices. This makes it easier to cut the cake. Spring has sprung at Taste.com.au so it's time to start thinking about barbecue recipes, picnic recipes and salad recipes. And don't forget we are always adding new recipes, too!