Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Chocolate Trifle Cake

Today is my very last twenty-something birthday: 29. It's a little anti-climactic. No more major milestones. I can already drink legally and rent a car. And it's not like I get to ring in the start of a new decade of existence. So, I guess now I just get a little older and hopefully a bit wiser.

In honor of this not-so-exciting birthday, I decided to fully embrace my misplaced angst and indulge in something big and decadent. And what's more ridiculous than multiple celebrations to kiss my roaring twenties goodbye? First, I convinced my sister to ditch life for a few days for a weekend trip to New York City. Then, a big home-cooked dinner with the in-laws followed up with a night of DC theater and Ethiopian food with the hubs. Needless to say, it has been an awesome week, but I still feel kinda "old" and boring.

Guess I'll just have to drown my sorrows in leftover birthday cake. Not a bad idea considering I made one of my favorites: Chocolate Trifle Cake with Macerated Strawberries and Mascarpone Whipped Cream.


Chocolate Cake
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Macerated Strawberries
  • 2 lbs strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending upon sweetness of berries)
  • 1-2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, softened
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted


Chocolate Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt at low speed. 
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. 
  4. Slowly beat in the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated.
  5. Slowly add the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch round pans.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean.
  8. Remove cakes from the oven and cool in pans for 30 minutes.
  9. Invert onto wire racks to cool completely.
  10. Using a long, thin serrated cake knife and a sawing motion, slice the cake horizontally into even layers.
* This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's Double Chocolate Layer Cake.

Macerated Strawberries
  1. While the cake is baking, combine all ingredients in a medium bowl.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Mascarpone Whipped Cream
  1. Using a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat heavy cream on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together mascarpone and confectioners' sugar until smooth.
  3. Gently fold whipped cream into mascarpone mixture until completely incorporated.
  4. Place the bottom half of one of the cake layers on your serving dish. Using a pastry brush, mound one quarter of the whipped cream mixture in the center of the layer and, using an icing spatula, spread it to the edge.
  5. Top with an even layer of the macerated strawberries.
  6. Place the other half of the cake layer, crumb-side down. Top with whipped cream mixture and strawberries as described above.
  7. Repeat the same process for the remaining two layers.

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