Macerated summer strawberries and a luscious chocolate buttercream are sandwiched between layers of deliciously moist vanilla bean cake in this Chocolate & Strawberry Layer Cake! Can I get a ‘love sigh’ from you? Because this cake is about to release all your happy!
We need to come together, discuss some things. Have a seat on my virtual porch for a few minutes. Here, on the rocking chair.
Are you parched?
Would you like something to drink? I make a bomb ass Strawberry Lemonade.
Would you like some ice with that?
Let’s look out in the distance for a bit. Feel the breeze blowing in our hair.
Are you comfortable? I see you rocking. It feels nice, doesn’t it?
Would you like a slice of cake?
Pretty, isn’t it?
I don’t mean to shift your focus from these real world issues – but can we talk about this cake situation?
Yes, yes – Take the first bite. It’s ok. I’ll wait. Oh, a second bite. OK!
Moist, isn’t it?
The cake layers. I mixed the batter with vanilla bean paste, some vanilla, and almond extracts.
I’m all about flavor.
Chocolate buttercream. No, no – Not Swiss meringue buttercream. American buttercream. Not too sweet, not gritty, fluffed with heavy cream. It’s just right.
Macerated strawberries and chocolate buttercream are filled between layers of this heavenly cake.
How did I get this cake so perfectly frosted?
I watched some videos, read some articles. First, I learned how to crumb coat a cake by reading this article. It’s been a while since I crumb coated a cake.
Then I remembered this bomb ass technique called spackling. It was invented by an amazing chef called Toba Garrett. Have you heard of her? Have you heard of spackling? In a nutshell: You mix together cake and frosting until it forms a paste. This paste is used as a thick crumb coating. It’s perfect for frosting those gorgeously tall cakes you find on The Pinterest and also perfect for laying on fondant. Read this article. There’s a great step-by-step tutorial.
Want to watch them?
OK, maybe later.
Would you like another slice of cake?
Oh, I know you feel you shouldn’t, but fuck a diet.
The Beatles once said All You Need is Love. And I know it’s going to take more than love. Let’s start somewhere.
Like, let’s start spreading this cake. ‘Member that feeling when you took the very first bite of cake?
Hold on to that.
Let’s build from there. Now, let’s rock in our chairs for a while.
Chocolate & Strawberry Layer Cake
For the chocolate buttercream frosting
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup Cocoa powder
- Pinch table salt
- 4 cups Confectioners' powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup Heavy cream cold
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
For the macerated strawberries
- 1 1/2 cups Sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons Granulated sugar
- Splash of vanilla extract
For the cake
- 1 tablespoon Baking powder
- 2 cups All-purpose flour spooned then leveled
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 1/4 cup Buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Vanilla bean paste
- ¼ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon Almond extract
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cup Granulated sugar
- 2 large Eggs
Make the chocolate buttercream frosting:
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip butter, cocoa powder, and salt over medium/high speed until combined. Turn the mixer off and add the confectioners' sugar all at once. Turn the mixer on to the lowest speed and whip until the confectioners' sugar is completely combined with the butter/cocoa powder mixture. It will look super grainy/sandy at this point.
- Stop and scrape the mixer to incorporate.
- Turn the mixer to medium/high speed and add the heavy cream in 2 parts, allowing the heavy cream to thicken each time before adding in more cream. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping the frosting until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Turn off mixer and remove bowl. Transfer about 1/4 of the frosting to a large piping bag with a round tip. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Macerate the strawberries:
- Place the strawberries in a medium bowl. Sprinkle sugar over the berries, add the vanilla extract, and mix until combined. Set aside in room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Bake the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Grease three (3) 8" round cake pans with cake release or cooking spray and line them with a circle of parchment. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk quickly with a fork to combine and set aside.
- Combine the buttermilk, vanilla bean paste, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a measuring cup. Mix well to combine and set aside.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment over medium/high speed, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Stop and scrape the mixer to incorporate ingredients. Turn the mixer back to medium/high speed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stop the mixer once more and scrape to incorporate ingredients.
- Turn the mixer speed to low. Starting and ending with the flour, alternate adding the flour and buttermilk mixtures to the creamed butter mixture. Mix over low speed until moistened. Remove from mixer and fold a couple of times to ensure all the dry flour bits are incorporated into the batter.
- Divide the batter as evenly as you can into the cake pans. Bang the pans a few times on your counter or work surface until the batter spreads, evens out, and rids itself of air bubbles.
- Place cakes in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester (or wooden skewer) placed in the center of the cakes comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
- Even out the layers by using a leveler or serrated knife and save the cake scraps for spackle. Use the best layers for the bottom and top of your cake.
- Place the bottom layer atop a cardboard circle. Pipe chocolate buttercream on the bottom cake layer and smooth as best you can. Arrange the macerated strawberries neatly on top of the chocolate buttercream.
- Place the middle cake layer over the strawberries. Pipe more chocolate buttercream over this layer and smooth as best you can. Add the final layer.
- Using Toba Garret's spackle technique, combine left over cake with some chocolate buttercream until thick and pasty. I use a 3:1 cake/frosting ratio. Carefully, with an offset spatula, ice the cake with the spackle. If the spackle becomes too difficult to handle, place the spatula under very hot water as needed. Dry quickly and continue spackling the cake. The hot spatula will help melt the buttercream.
- Place the cake in the freezer for about 20 minutes to allow the spackle to set.
- Remove cake from freezer and frost with the chocolate buttercream, smoothing with an offset spatula as you frost the cake.
- Slice and enjoy.
- Cake recipe adapted from Wonky Wonderful
- Chocolate Buttercream recipe adapted from I Am Baker