Thursday, May 2, 2013

Strawberry Chocolate Cake...Mmmm!

I know I normally place my recipes under the On A Whim tab, but this cake really belongs under Tangents. My son and I were reading his Highlights magazine the other day. At the end, there is always an art project and a recipe. The recipe they provided was for oatmeal bran muffins with blueberries. My son wanted to make them. I didn't have 80% of the ingredients. The recipe called for the following (that I didn't have on hand and honestly didn't want to buy): oat bran, oats, wheat germ, blueberries, bananas, oil, and buttermilk. Determined to think of something to make with him, we walked around town running errands, stopping at the grocery store and finally purchased some much needed baking soda and baking powder. Of course, my child wanted frosting with confetti sprinkles, too :)

We walked to the bank, the library, and then the store all the while discussing our cake, among other things. Side note: my husband and I have realized that when we take our son for a walk, he really opens up about what's been going on in his life and in his head. He shares and asks questions. We have found that taking walks around town or in the woods offers a wonderful opportunity for learning. For example, we talked about before and after during our errand run: 
"We are going to the bank before the library, and we are going to make a cake after the store." 

Which leads me back to this cake!

My son wanted a strawberry chocolate cake. I rummaged through my ingredients list within my head (remember, I'm still walking) and know that I have all necessary ingredients for this. Now, I have never made a traditional cake recipe before. I have a coffee cake recipe, but not a cake recipe. Quite frankly, a part of me was nervous. I don't usually have luck following someone else's recipe for cakes either, unless it's from a box. Not to mention, I was studying a muffin recipe in hopes of converting into a cake recipe...What?? However, I am optimistic...There is no other way to dive into the creative process :)

I knew I had to make adjustments that would allow for a similar ratio of dry to wet ingredients. I chose to do a combination of flour and baking mix with cocoa powder to make up for the dry ingredients I did not possess. For the wet, I decided that I would add more butter than the original muffin recipe called for oil (they wanted 1 teaspoon oil), in an effort to compensate for the lack of buttermilk in my fridge. I substituted the strawberries for the blueberries, and to replace the texture of the mashed banana I added flavored syrups. Now we have an original cake recipe that is such a far cry from the muffin recipe my son wanted to make...

After altering the ingredients to get the perfect cake batter consistency, my faith grew stronger...
And upon removing from Toaster Oven #2 (the one that just fits a 13 x 9 inch pan) I was elated with the results!

Here is how my son and I made the cake: 

Mix 1 c. all-purpose flour, 1 c. baking mix, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 c. baking cocoa powder, 1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/4 tsp. salt, set aside. 

In a separate bowl: 
1/2 c. strawberries (I used frozen strawberries, already sliced, having placed them in a bowl to thaw overnight in the fridge) 
1 c. milk 
1/4 c. butter (straight from fridge, do not melt) 
1/8 c. strawberry syrup, 1/8 c. chocolate syrup (I do not have an 1/8th measuring cup, so I filled a 1/4 cup halfway with the strawberry syrup, then filled the rest with chocolate until it met the top)
1 tsp. vanilla. 

Use mixer on low speed to combine. I only have a hand held; if you have a fancy one, there is some envy over here :) If you look at the picture, middle right, you will notice that there are little chunks of butter and strawberries floating at the top...this is OK, you do not have to make the wet ingredients smooth. Now, incorporate the wet and dry ingredients. I just poured the wet ingredients into my dry ingredient bowl, then used the mixer to combine until the batter was smooth and thick. 

After lightly coating a 13 x 9 in. baking pan with butter, pour the batter into pan, using a spatula to spread evenly to corners. Bake at 300 degrees for 20 mins., until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. If in a traditional oven, check cake at 15 minutes to determine how much more time is needed. Wait until cake is completely cooled before frosting. 

This was a very difficult task for my son, who had participated in every single aspect of making this cake. Though, I will say, he did leave when the mixer was on because he didn't like the sound, returning when I turned it off. But this was the part he was most looking forward to: the frosting! I took him to the park in an effort to keep his mind, and fingers, off of the cake :)

Before the cake had finished baking, I went back to my notes to document the quantities for this recipe, ensuring my ability to make this same cake again. Having been an equal partner in the creation of this lovely dessert, my son took it upon himself to grab a piece of paper and a few markers to do the same. This provided one of the most precious moments of being a mother and watching my child grow. He was excited, talking to himself about the ingredients we used, eager to document everything just like Mom. It was beautiful and I teared up. This is the most involved he's been in the kitchen with me. He stuck it out from beginning to the very end. I am so grateful for him :)                                                                

And, below is the beautiful frosted cake!
Perfect for Mother's Day, topped with strawberries reminiscent of hearts.
This cake is elegant and sophisticated. Decadent and rich in flavor. 
The strawberry and chocolate flavors subtly battle it out for prominence. 
The cake itself is the most moist cake I have ever tasted, and yet light and fluffy. 

For a look with more Pizzazz (below) add confetti sprinkles! 
I must say, it looks like it's party time :) 
My son did a great job picking out frosting! 
I placed the hearts with the intention of one strawberry per piece of cake, 
allowing for each person a huge piece!  
 Feel free to alter the fruit and syrups of this cake. 
If you prefer blueberries and bananas, then use them! 
I hope you enjoy this cake as much as we do :)

* I recommend adding strawberry slices until it is time to serve the cake. The life on the slice strawberries is a couple of days, even in the fridge. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds amazing and will definitely try this one ;)