This is an old fashioned eggless chocolate cake, from Passionate About Baking, which turns out moist and delicious every time.  No exceptional baking skills required for this one, so it is a safe recipe for those who want to put their best foot forward when baking for a crowd or a special occasion. The richness of dark chocolate mingles well with the tartness of fresh strawberries [mine were not so fresh, unfortunately] to produce a unique balance of flavors that has become my current favorite lately. This particular cake is for my friend who left the ABH family today for yet another exciting adventure. Farewell mon cher ami! Hope you find the strength and determination to face new challenges as you have always done and continue to be the shining light of warmth and generosity we love you for.

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY CAKE

Ingredients

For the Chocolate Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 cups caster sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon table salt

2 cups hot water

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons white vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Filling

300 ml whipping cream

200g strawberries, chopped

1/4 cup caster sugar

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 vanilla bean scraped

1-2 tbsp powdered sugar

For the Chocolate Ganache

200g dark chocolate, room temperature

150 ml low fat cream, room temperature

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 180ºC with rack in the center. Line the bottom of one 9-inch spring form tin or two 9×2 inch round cake pans.

  • Whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Combine water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla in a large measuring cup.

  • Add to the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Turn batter into prepared tin or divide batter between pans if using 2.

  • Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes for a single cake or 35 to 40 minutes for 2.

  • Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert them onto the rack. Leave cake upside down on the rack to cool completely.

  • To prepare the filling, chop strawberries and place them with sugar, scraped vanilla bean and balsamic vinegar in a sauce pan.

  • Simmer till it is thick and jam-like. Cool completely. Beat the cream to stiff peaks and gently fold in cooled strawberry mixture.

  • For the ganache, place the chocolate and 150ml cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 30-40 seconds. Stir until smooth.

  • To assemble, slice the cake into 4 layers, and sandwich with the filling. Frost with chocolate ganache. Makes 10-12 large servings.
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