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Mini Chocolate Strawberry Layer Cake

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  • 1 cup 4.25 oz all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 7 oz granulated sugar
  • ½ cup 1.5 oz unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the buttercream

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache

  • 5 oz. semisweet chocolate
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Additional strawberries (to garnish)


For the cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter two 6-inch round cake pans (or one six-inch pan and two 4-inch pans for a tiered cake, like I did), and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
  2. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined.
  3. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

For the buttercream

  1. Place strawberries in a blender and puree until smooth. Pour strawberry puree to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often, until puree is reduced by at least half, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool completely in the refrigerator.
  2. Beat butter with an electric mixer in a bowl until it is considerably paler and smooth, about 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add 1 cup powdered sugar and combine until blended.
  4. Beat 2 tablespoons strawberry puree and vanilla extract into butter mixture until just combined.
  5. Alternate between adding the powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and strawberry puree 2 tablespoons at a time until you have used all of the sugar and strawberry puree. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes, until fluffy and creamy.

To assemble

  1. Once your cakes are completely cooled, level each cake so that the top is flat with a long, thin knife or cake leveler. If you only have one 6-inch cake, cut the cake layer into two thinner layers.
  2. Place one cake layer on a cake plate, add about 1/3 cup frosting and spread evenly over the layer. Top with the second cake layer. Frost the entire cake thinly, and place in the freezer for about 15 minutes to let the frosting set. If you have the two 4-inch cakes, repeat the previous steps with the two smaller layers.
  3. After letting the crumb coat set, frost the cake normally (both sizes if applicable). If doing the tiered cake, carefully use a bench scraper or spatula to place the mini cake centered on top of the 6-inch cake. Place back into the freezer to set for another 15 minutes.
  4. After the frosting has set, make the chocolate coating. In a microwave safe bowl add the chocolate and cream. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring between each until melted and smooth.
  5. Allow the chocolate to cool for about 3-5 minutes, and then pour the sauce (reserve a small amount to dip strawberries) onto the middle of the cake and spread to just the sides, allowing the sauce to drip down the sides of the cake. Dip strawberries in leftover ganache and place on top of cake. Place the cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour (or overnight) until the chocolate is completely set and the frosting firm. Let set at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
  6. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.