The Topping must be made in advance, but it can be done a few days
ahead. This dessert must be assembled just before it's served. This
looks beautiful and tastes great, and June is peak strawberry season,
so give it a try. If the cream is beaten stiff enough, this cuts
and serves neatly, but if not, no one's awarding points for neatness,
and it'll still taste wonderful.
- 8 ozs. semisweet
chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/4 c. light corn
- 2 Tbsp. unsalted
- Pinch salt
- 3/4 c. heavy cream
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 c. sifted cake
- 2 c. sugar, divided
- 2/3 c. unsweetened
Dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp. baking
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 c. cold water
- 1/2 c. tasteless
- 3 eggs, graded
"large", separated and at room temperature
- 1 generous qt.
- Up to 1/4 c. sugar,
depending on sweetness of berries
- Optional: 1-2
Tbsp. orange liqueur
- 1-1/3 c. cold
- 1/4 c. confectioners'
- 1 tsp. vanilla
For Topping: In
medium heatproof bowl, combine chopped chocolate, corn syrup, butter,
and salt. In small saucepan over low heat, heat cream, stirring
often until very hot. Pour about 2/3 of the hot cream over the chocolate.
Set bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch
bottom of bowl); whisk often until mixture is melted and smooth.
Remove from heat and hot water. Gradually whisk in remaining cream,
then vanilla. Cool briefly, then chill. When cold, cover tightly;
store in refrigerator until needed.
For Cake: Grease
two nine-inch round layer pans that are 2" deep. Line pan bottoms
with wax paper cut to fit, then grease wax paper. Lightly flour
pans, knocking out any excess. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350'F.
Into large bowl
of electric mixer, sift flour, 1-1/2 c. sugar (reserve remainder),
unsweetened cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Attach whisk beater(s)
Add water and oil
to dry ingredients. Beat one minute at medium speed. Scrape bowl
and beater(s) with rubber spatula. Add egg yolks; beat at medium
speed one minute more.
In clean small bowl
with clean beaters, beat egg whites at high speed until very foamy.
Gradually add reserved 1/2 c. sugar, about one tablespoon at a time,
beating at high speed between additions. Continue beating to stiff
peaks. Pile onto cake batter; fold in gently but thoroughly and
only until no white streaks show in batter.
Divide batter evenly
among prepared pans. Bake in preheated oven 30-40 minutes, or until
toothpick inserted in center emerges with only a few moist crumbs
still clinging to it. Do not overbake. Cool in pans 10 minutes.
Gently loosen edges; invert layers onto cooling racks. Remove pans
and gently peel wax paper from bottom of layers. Reinvert layers
to cool completely, right side up. When cold, if necessary, level
tops with large, sharp, serrated knife.
Prepare strawberries while cake bakes. Pick berries over, discarding
any that are moldy. Wash briefly, then dry gently but thoroughly.
Hull and trim. Slice each berry vertically into 3-4 slices. Taste
a slice for sweetness. Place berries in medium nonreactive bowl;
add up to 1/4 c. of sugar, depending on sweetness of berries, and
optional liqueur. Toss gently. Cover and chill for 1-3 hours, occasionally
tossing gently to dissolve sugar.
For Cream and to
Assemble: When cake layers are completely cooled and have been levelled
(if required), place one layer, right side up, on serving plate.
Chill a medium bowl and beaters for the cream for at least 15 minutes.
Drain the strawberries in a strainer, but make sure to save the
liquid. While strawberries drain, scrape cold Topping into small
heatproof bowl. Set over simmering water on low heat (water should
not touch bottom of bowl); stir very frequently until melted and
barely warm. (Alternatively, place Topping in small microwaveable
bowl; microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring
well between each, until melted and barely warm.). Pour topping
into small pitcher.
In chilled medium
bowl with chilled beaters, beat cream at high speed just until traces
of beater marks show in it. Add sugar, then vanilla; beat at low
speed until incorporated, then increase speed to high and beat just
until cream forms very stiff peaks.
Drizzle cake layer
on serving plate with about half of liquid drained from strawberries.
Place about half of strawberries on top of cake; make them into
a flattish layer and keep them a half-inch or so away from the outer
edges of the cake. Pile half of the whipped cream on top; again
make it into a flat layer, and keep it about a half-inch away from
the cake edges.
Place the second
cake layer on top (right side up) and press very gently. Drizzle
with remaining strawberry liquid. Pile on the rest of the whipped
cream, and spread it all the way to the edges of the cake in a slight
"bowl" shape, so that the edges are higher than the center. Place
remaining strawberries inside this whipped cream "bowl". Drizzle
with some of the barely warm Topping. Cut with large, sharp knife.
Serve immediately, passing remaining Topping so everyone can pour
to their taste.
Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains
copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the
text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie
Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own
server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the
text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for
your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for
your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server
from your own documents.