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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vanilla and Chocolate "Checkerboard" Cake with Strawberry cream filling

It was 'M's birthday and like every year I do, I was going to bake a special cake for him!! Last year it was "Zebra Cake" (http://my-kitchens-aroma.blogspot.com/2012/04/pat-cake-zebra-cake-with-chocolate.html) and this year, I wanted to try something 'new'...not just 'any' cake...something new...some new technique.This one seemed to be exciting and involved some 'thinking' and planning-which type of cake to bake..soft textured or sturdier/denser cake and a bit of geometry too:)
Here is how you make it-

Basically you need 2 types/ colored cakes.I baked a vanilla and other dark chocolate. If your cake it too moist or spongy, you will have hard time cutting and lifting the cake circles. This cake modified from this recipe (http://www.azcookbook.com/zebra-cake/) is a denser cake and did hold the cutting and lifting pretty well.

Bakes two -8 or 9 inch cakes
4 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
1 cup canola oil
2tbsp butter at room temperature
1tsp tsp vanilla essence
1 +1/4 tbsp baking powder
1 tablespoons dark cocoa powder  (dark cocoa is necessary to get rich dark brown color for better contrast)
3tbsp grated dark chocolate bars- microwave for few seconds until soft.
1/4tsp salt

Strawberry cream filling
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream(cold)
1/4 cup fresh strawberry puree(chilled for 1 hour)
1tbsp sugar

Whipped cream icing
1 Cup heavy whipping cream(cold)
2tbsp sugar
1/2tsp vanilla essence

Mini chocolate chips
fresh sliced strawberries

1) Pre heat the oven to 350F. Grease 2 cake pans with shortening/non stick spray and dust with flour.
2) Sieve together all purpose flour, salt, baking powder.
3)Beat the eggs for 3mins with electric whisk. Add the butter and sugar and whisk till it is light color and fluffy.
4) Add the oil and milk and beat for few seconds.Add the vanilla extract.
5) Add the dry ingredients slowing and beat only till well blended.
6) Divide the batter in 2 parts. To one part add the dark cocoa powder and softened dark chocolate bar.Beat for few seconds till well blended.
7) Pour the vanilla and chocolate batters into 2 separate pans. Bake at 350F for 30-35 mins, until golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the cakes cool completely for few hours before cutting and icing.
The cakes upside down for sturdier cutting.If your cake has a bulge cut and level it out:

Strawberry Whipped cream:
Beat the whipping cream on high speed with a electric mixer, till soft peaks are formed. Add the chilled strawberry puree and sugar and beat till stiff peaks are formed.Store in refrigerator.

Whipped cream icing
Beat on high speed the heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla till stiff peaks are formed.Store in refrigerator.

Assembling the cake:
1) With chart paper, make circular stencils or concentric circles, 1.5 to 2 inches thickness. Largest will have the diameter as your cake pan.
2) Place the stencils on the cake one at a time and carefully cut the concentric circles.Gently lift each circle and place on a platter.
3) Inserted a vanilla ring inside the chocolate outer ring.Alternate the rings and fit into each other.
4) Place the cake on the serving platter.On the bottom reassembled cake, spread the strawberry cream filling. Make sure to push it in the concentric gaps. This will help in better sticking of the 'checks'. You can also pipe the icing in between the concentric circles when you are fitting them into each other.
5) Place the other reassembled cake on top. Ice this layer and the entire cake with the whipped cream icing. Spread and smoothen from all sides. Decorate with strawberries and mini chocolate chips.
With icing tip, makes borders withe the whipped cream icing.
Chill in refrigerator till ready to cut!

6) Cut into wedges(like pie) to serve.Enjoy!!