It's National Strawberry month and strawberry season is at it's peak. Farmers markets and stands are boasting sweet berries by the pint, half flat or full flat. If you were to drive through Ventura County, CA...you'd probably see a road side fruit and vegetable stand on every corner. As a matter of fact, the yearly Strawberry Festival is going on this weekend in Oxnard. A mere 45 minute drive (without traffic) from my house and I've never been. I don't understand how that's happening. I mean, strawberries are my favorite fruit...I've lived here all my life.....how do I keep missing the most fabulous festival of the year?
I'm so disappointed in myself. I've let my berry love down. This must be remedied!
In the meantime, lets console my strawberry craving with a delightful torte.
This recipe was inspired by a couple of recipes I ran into. As much as I love raspberries (they are a very close second to strawberries...but are fighting for that position with blackberries) I just had to stay true to my first love.
Chocolate Cake with Strawberries
Raspberry Chocolate Torte
Strawberry Chocolate Torte
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, diced
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp instant coffee granules
3 1/2 oz toasted almonds
2 heaped TB flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar (if you have bakers or caster sugar, that would be best)
8 fresh strawberries, plus more for garnish
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
Preheat your oven to 325' F. Line the bottoms of 2 round cake pans with parchment paper (you can spray the bottom with cooking spray before placing the parchment paper inside, to keep the paper in place).
Put the 8 oz of chocolate and the butter in a medium sized, microwave safe bowl.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a the microwave (or use a double boiler) in 30 second increments, stirring in between until nearly all the chocolate is melted. Complete the process by stirring until fully melted.
Set aside to cool. Once cool, stir in vanilla and coffee granules.
In a food process, finely grind the almonds. Add in the flour and salt and transfer to a small bowl. Set aside.
With an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a large bowl until they double in volume (about 5 minutes). Slowly add the sugar and beat for 1 more minute. Fold in the cooled melted chocolate until just combined. Sprinkle in half of the almond/flour mixture and fold until just combine then sprinkle in the other half, folding until just combined.
Divide the batter between the two cake pans. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs.
Allow to cool in the pans.
Meanwhile, make the filling by smashing the strawberries and combining with the cream cheese.
Carefully remove the cakes from the pans. Place one of a plate. Spread the filling over it. Place the other cake on top.
Thats where I ran into some problems. My cake crumbled....(I think I may have slightly over cooked them)
I pieced it together...hoping the filling would help keep it in place, acting like glue...which it did. But...it wasn't a pretty site.
Thank God for glaze!!!
Lets hurry up and make that glaze so I don't have to see this mess any more...
Bring the cream to a boil. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until melted.
Spread the glaze over the cake...
The glaze will thicken as it sets.
Garnish with strawberries and a bit of powdered sugar if desired.
And there you have it. A delicious, seemingly beautiful dessert (who can see the crumbled section, right? No one has to know...trust me) that is bound to satisfy.