It’s mid-December, and it’s HIGH time that I get down to those strawberry centred recipes! Quite honestly, I have been busy travelling and attending weddings or doing wedding planning, the former being more fun than the latter! Over the last weekend SS and I were in Bangalore to celebrate a college friend’s wedding, and it was so wonderful to see people again after 7-8 years! The weekend was fabulous, and we even got to sample some authentic Karnataka food, my favourite being their popular shallot-based curry and dry roasted whole chillies which have this amazing pungent spice, yet isn’t fiery.
It was also so humbling to meet people after ages, and the first topic of conversation being Joie De Vivre, and how it makes people salivate, and want to eat/cook some themselves! [Predominantly it was the eating!] Now that being the case, I feel like committing sacrilege by constantly professing my love of strawberries and not translating that into anything on the blog. I’ve actually made this cake a couple of times already, and they’ve managed to gain swoons every time. So this time I [finally] decided to write about it, and share this amazingly simple cake with the world, which looks so beautiful and difficult, but really isn’t!
It all started one November afternoon when I decided to bake a cake.
A Chocolate Cake.
A Valrhona Chocolate Cake.
A Valrhona Chocolate Bundt Cake.
And Valrhona Ganache.
I pulled open my drawer that contains all the odd and even shapes of cake moulds in my repertoire, a lot of which I often judge myself for purchasing. But this bundt pan called out to me. I own 2, one of those silicone varieties, which jiggles like jelly, and makes me so nervous that I always place it on a baking tray, just to be extra safe. This particular bundt pan is my mother in laws, from the time when she attended catering school! And yes, it still works flawlessly. In fact, I find that used pans tend to soak in a little fat and get better with use. Also, its just fun to use something that family has been using for decades!
I halved one my my favourite layer cake recipes, because I knew it was strong enough to hold its ground and not crumble over then strawberries are piled high into the centre. But because chocolate and strawberries aren’t enough, I also melted down a 2″ square of valrhona chocolate with some butter, making a nice rich and glossy ganache, which went on top of the bundt, because, why the hell not?!
On a completely unrelated yet relevant note, I also made @thesmitten’s Decadent Hot Chocolate mix yesterday for my fabulous friend who manages to come to my rescue every time I have tech-related issues, which I can quite honestly admit, is quite a lot! 😛 But seriously, this hot chocolate mix is just something really special, using unsweetened Ghirardelli cocoa and Lindt 70% flakes, along with a bit of sugar, a whole vanilla pod and a tad bit of cornflour, this mix really results in a smooth, silky yet not too thick in terms of consistency, rich, decadent mug of hot chocolate. Now I would love to top them off with some good ol’ fashioned marshmallow, but getting the non-gelatin kind here is a nightmare. Also, for a more adult twist, I would suggest a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, or better yet, some Baileys or Amarula!
See, that was totally relevant, right?
- 1 cup all purpose flour (I use Bluebird Maida)
- 1/3rd cup + 1 tbs cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup + 1 tbs milk (I use Amul Lite)
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup + 1/3 cup caster sugar (I use Bluebird Caster Sugar)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbs canola oil (or sunflower oil)
- 1 tbs vanilla extract
- 2 tbs butter
- 50gm dark/semi sweet chocolate
- 1 tbs icing sugar
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, cleaned
- Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Grease a 8″ or 9″ bundt cake pan with canola oil spray, such as Pam. If you don’t have any spray handy, fret not. Grease with butter and then flour lightly.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix together the milk and the red wine vinegar.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar and oil. Add the milk mix, and the vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Sift once again into the wet ingredients mixture, and mix until incorporated.
- Pour into the cake tins. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until a knife/toothpick comes out clean.
- In the mean time, slice half the amount of the strawberries and leave the other half whole, with their leaves on.
- When the cake is ready, leave to cool for an hour on the cooling rack. Dust with icing sugar using a sifter.
- Melt down the butter and chocolate in a microwave at 20 second bursts, till almost melted. Use a fork and mix together, resulting in a smooth glossy mixture.
- To assemble, pile in the sliced strawberries into the centre of the cake. Now spread the ganache on the top crown of the cake. Finish with the whole strawberries in the centre.
- Allow people to gawk.