strawberry chocolate cake

Strawberry Chocolate Cake with Basil

As we bid winter farewell, this Strawberry Chocolate Cake with Basil is perfect for ushering spring and to make the most of our bumper strawberry season. Moist and full of its naturally fruity punch, this delightful layered cake has a few surprises in store. I’ve adapted it slightly from its original recipe, Strawberry Basil Cake, but the main kick is contained in the addition of balsamic vinegar and basil leaves.

strawberry chocolate cake
Irresistible to the young and old…
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Yes, yes, I can see you looking a wee bit stunned from where I am.If you’ve never tried adding these before—it does sound rather like an odd combination. But trust me, like the source of its inspiration says (Primrose Bakery EVERYDAY book), the slightly different and unique taste is the very thing that makes this cake so good, it’s better than expected.

strawberry drip cake
strawberry chocolate cake with basil
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An adapted recipe combining strawberry & chocolate
I’ll admit I’m rather partial to first of all anything chocolate, and then strawberry. For this reason I adapted this joyous recipe and sneaked in a second twist to the plot. When sliced, you’ll be pleasantly greeted by a middle layer of chocolate sponge inside topped with a layer of chocolate fudge. I think the chocolate adds just the right note of ‘masculinity’ to compliment the demure pink blush of this strawberry dessert.

layers of strawberry and chocolate cake
The middle ‘masculine’ layer of chocolate : )
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exposed middle layers of strawberry and chocolate
Strawberry chocolate cake with basil, meringue and chocolate ganache glaze
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There’s a reason why strawberry matches chocolate so well. The sharp fruity notes versus the richness of decadent couverture chocolate is pleasing both in texture and contrast. For simplicity, I’ve left this option open to you to use your favourite ‘middle layer’ chocolate recipe (or any other flavour you may want to combine with strawberry). In this post I’ve only included the strawberry sponge and its strawberry frosting recipe from the book.

Strawberry chocolate cake
Strawberry chocolate cake with basil, meringue and chocolate ganache glaze
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I’ll be reviewing the Primrose Bakery EVERYDAY recipe book in a future ‘bake the book’ blog post, so look out for it!

Now back to this great tasting cake, I think it makes the perfect sweet for your springtime dessert as you start to entertain in our great Aussie outdoors again. I baked this fabulous Strawberry Basil Cake for this Father’s Day weekend to honour the dad of my kids, who does so much for us. Also something in memory of my beloved late father who loved Australian strawberries whenever he visited in spring.

Strawberry chocolate cake
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I hope you’ve got something fun and indulgent planned for the special men in your life this Father’s Day as we celebrate this wonderful occasion. And if you’re a dad, Happy Father’s Day from us! Have fun and Happy Spring season!

Part 1: The Sponge Cake

265g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
240g unsalted butter, room temp
190g caster sugar
2 large eggs
macerated strawberries (see recipe below)

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 180℃ / 160 (fan-forced)
Grease two 8 inch baking tins (or 20 cm) lined with baking paper.
Combine flour, baking powder and salt to set aside.
In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until well combined.
Pour in macerated strawberries and fold through with a spatula.
Divide the batter between the two baking tins as equally as you can.
Knock a couple of times to dispel any air pockets.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until cake turn a golden brown colour (or when your skewer comes out clean from the cake).
Allow cakes to stand in baking tins for at least 15-30 minutes before turning them out to cool on wire racks.

I tend to like to refrigerate my sponge cakes overnight to chill before frosting the next day.

Macerated Strawberries
250g fresh strawberries, washed and cleaned
8-10 pieces basil leaves, large
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 T caster sugar

Directions:
Dice up the strawberries and transfer to a small bowl.
Slice or chope up finely the basil leaves and add to the strawberries. Add vinegar and sugar and stir through until the ingredients are well combined. Let the strawberries stand for at least half an hour to ‘macerate’.

Part 2: Frosting:
There’s 2 parts to the frosting, first the syrup then the icing and butter.

Strawberry Syrup
160g strawberries, chopped (cleaned and stems removed)
1 T caster sugar

Dice the cleaned strawberries up and transfer into a small saucepan with the sugar.
Bring it to a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring and mashing the strawberries
with a fork until the mixture becomes thick, jam-like and a frothy syrup forms.
Tun off the heat and allow to cool completely before use.

Strawberry Frosting
125g unsalted butter, softened
80g cream cheese, softened
85g strawberry syrup
500g icing sugar

Using an electric hand mixer, beat the above ingredients on low speed until they are well mixed. Scrape every bit down the bowl and continue to beat on medium speed till you get a smooth icing for frosting the cake.

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