Father's Day indulgence

Whew – what a long day!

To be honest…it does serve me right for leaving the baking of our father’s day cake to the very last minute… In Australia, we celebrate father’s day on the first Sunday in September every year, and though I always remember it, for some reason I always persist in leaving the preparations till the last possible moment – at which point I must run around like a headless chook in order to get everything ready on time!

I had originally planned on making profiteroles – they are my father’s absolute favourite dessert of all time, plus I could create a magnificent towering croquembouche with them so it had been a sound plan in my mind.

That is, till I remembered that my father’s dentures means that anything like the toffee which is used to create a croquembouche would create havoc in his mouth. Well, i could still make the profiteroles, but as a croquembouche was a no-go, another impressive cake had to be devised to sit as the centrepiece to the table.

A quick browse of my more recent cookbook acquisitions led me to this marvellous creation – dense but fluffy dark chocolate cake, stuffed with ruby red strawberries, white chocolate and whipped cream…all combined to create a decadent dessert that would still be somewhat light enough in flavour so that it would not overwhelm the tastebuds.

The resulting cake looked…well, pleasant enough, but not particularly spectacular. That was, until the family crowded around to see the first slice. And OH, what a slice it was – fluffy, light layers of dark chocolate cake, studded with glimpses of red strawberries peeking out from white chocolate cream, covered with a snow white layer of cream and big juicy strawberry halves.

With the family declaring this to be a worthwhile celebration cake, I think it’ll definitely make some repeat appearances in our kitchen in the future 🙂

Black & White Choc Strawberry Gateau
(adapted from The Home Guide to Cake Decorating by Jane Price)

Ingredients for cake:
125g cream cheese
60g unsalted butter
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
100g dark/bittersweet chocolate, melted
250g all-purpose flour
185g caster sugar30g cocoa powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
185mL cold water

Ingredients for white choc cream:
125g white chocolate, broken into small pieces
120g cream

Additional elements for assembly:
300mL thickened/heavy cream
250g strawberries, rinsed and dried and roughly chopped
100g whole strawberries, rinsed and dried, and carefully chopped in half

Baking the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F), line a 20cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper, then set aside. Using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar in a bowl till light and creamy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then beat in the melted chocolate till the mixture is smooth.

3. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder and bicarb soda, then use a large metal spoon (or silicone spatula) to fold it into the cream cheese mixture alternately with the water. Gently mix till smooth, then pour into the lined cake tin.

4. Smooth the surface, then bake for 45-50 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the cake tin for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool.

5. Once the cake has cooled, use a serrated bread/cake knife to cut the cake into three layers. Place the bottom layer onto your plate, then cut four long strips of baking paper and place them around the bottom so that the plate is protected from potential cream drops.

6. Melt together the white chocolate and cream, then cool till it reaches a spreadable consistency. Meanwhile, beat the additional 250mL thickened cream. Once the white choc ganache has cooled, use an offset spatula to spread a thin layer on the bottom layer, then top with chopped strawberries, then carefully spread a layer of whipped cream on top of that. Place second layer on top, then repeat.

7. Clean your offset spatula, then carefully ice your cake with a thin layer of whipped cream, and garnish with halved strawberries, a dusting of cocoa powder, and serve 🙂

[tags]Jane Price, strawberries, chocolate cake, Father’s Day, celebration, baking, recipes[/tags]