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Monday, October 26, 2009

Happy Birthday to You~!

So today is my BF's birthday. More than expensive material gifts, he appreciates gifts that are homemade or have alot of thought put into them. Last year I baked him chocolate cupcakes with PB icing (he doesn't like sweets, but he does adore PB) and surprised him at the bar after his hockey game. He was so happy! I know that surprises like this make him really happy, so I wanted to make sure to surprise him again this year too! It was a bit harder this year since I practically live with him. So I had to pretend to be in lab everyday this weekend to assemble this cake. Its a chocolate cake with whole strawberries and strawberry mousse. I also put chocolate covered strawberries on top, but my friend has the picture in her camera. I'll fix this post when I get that photo! Then I purposely went late to his hockey game so I can drop off his cake at the bar his team usually drink t after the game. Luckily the bartender that was working knows my BF and was sweet enough to store the cake downstairs in the frig and help me out with the surprise.

The cake was more looks than taste. I didn't like how it came out, but it definitely was very pretty. Next time I attempt this cake, I'll try a chocolate sponge cake and less gelatin in the mousse layer. I was too scared that if I used less gelatin, that the mousse would be runny and collapse. Well, couldn't have been too bad, at least the hockey team politely finished the cake! :)

More than the work that was involved in making the cake, my boyfriend should be most surprised that I was able to carry the cake all the way to the bar from my apartment 100 blocks uptown without tripping and falling! I'm notorious for my klutziness! Luckily one of my friends came to the rescue and carried the cake up the stairs for the final surprise. There was no way I would have made it up a staircase with a big cake without dropping it!

Chocolate Cake with Fresh Strawberry Mousse

For Chocolate Cake Layer*:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
6 T cornstarch
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 t salt
3 t baking soda
3 t baking powder
2 eggs slightly beaten
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 T Kahlua or vanilla extract
2 cups boiled water

For Strawberry Mousse layer:
2 quarts of stawberries
2 T balsamic vinegar
6 T sugar
1 pint heavy cream
2 1/2 packets of knox gelatin (appx. 18g)**
1 T rum***
2 egg yolks

For Decoration:
5 oz. dark chocolate
2 oz. milk chocolate
1 pint strawberries

To make chocolate cake layer:
Preheat the oven to 350C. Sift together first 7 ingredients. Then mix in the remaining ingredients adding the hot water in two parts. The batter should be thin. Put batter into greased and floured 10-Inch Springform Pan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until when you insert a toothpick and it does not come out wet. Cool completely.

To make strawberry mousse layer:
Cut up one quart of strawberries and allow it to macerate with the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Let it sit for approximately 30 minutes and then puree using a blender or food processor. Heat 1 cup of the heavy cream and gelatin over medium low heat until the gelatin is completely melted. Turn off the heat and stir in the rum and egg yolks. Then one tablespoon at a time, add the strawberry mixture into the gelatin mixture. Whip the remaining heavy cream until it thickens but does not form peaks. Slowly mix the thickened cream into the strawberry cream gelatin mixture.

To assemble the cake:
Cut the top rounded part of the chocolate cake off (you can either throw this away or snack on it). Clean and hull the strawberries and choose the largest prettiest ones for the outer rim. For the outside section, cut the strawberries in half and place the cut side them against the outside rim of springform pan. Place the rest of the hulled strawberries pointed side up on top of the chocolate cake. Trim the strawberries to be shorter if it sticks out too far past the rim of the springform pan. Pour the strawberry mousse into the pan on top of the strawberries and allow to harden overnight.

To decorate the cake:
To make chocolate covered strawberries: Clean and dry the strawberries, leave the hulls on. Chop the dark chocolate. Microwave for 30 seconds, mix using a spatula, and repeat until the chocolate is completely melted. Dip the all the strawberries into the chocolate and place onto a wax paper or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Place in the frig or freezer to allow to harden. Chop the milk chocolate. Microwave to melt. Then take a fork and drizzle stripes across the dark chocolate using a slight flicking action with the wrist to make a striped pattern across the chocolates.
To make chocolate design on top of the mousse cake: Using a fork, drizzle the remaining dark chocolate across the cake to make a pretty pattern as seen in the pictures above.

*I would try a more chocolate sponge cake like layer.
**Next time I would try less gelatin, maybe as little on only one packet. This layer came out way too stiff.
***I used Captain Morgans cuz that's all I had in my freezer. YUM!


Mother Rimmy said...

What a beautiful cake! I wouldn't want to cut into it, it's so pretty.

Jenn said...

Thank you Mother Rimmy!

Anonymous said...

Definitely a beautiful cake! Happy birthday to your bf :)

The Chickenless Chick said...

I like that you identified exactly what could be tweaked about the recipe... it wasn't just "good" or "bad." It was very thoughtful of you to plan all this and I'm sure your bf is overjoyed to have you in his life. I hope that, if you make the cake again to perfect the proportions, it comes out as pretty as it did this time around!

Jenn said...

Thanks experimental culinary pursuits!

Well, Chickenless Chick, I wouldn't want someone to make the same mistakes I did. If anything I'd want improvement ... and dropping by and telling if it worked would be a bonus for next time I try this recipe! :)

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