Fudge Fantasy Cake

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Preparation time: 1 hour plus chilling
Cooking time: 25 minutes plus cooling

Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 12 servings


•4 eggs
•2 cups buttermilk
•2 cups cold strong brewed coffee
•1 cup canola oil
•1 cup honey
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
•3 cups sugar
•1-1/2 cups baking cocoa
•2 teaspoons salt
•1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
•1 teaspoon baking powder

•6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
•12 fresh strawberries

•8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
•1 cup heavy whipping cream
•1 teaspoon instant coffee granules

•1 cup butter, softened
•1 package (2 pounds) confectioners' sugar
•1-1/2 cups baking cocoa
•1-1/4 cups half-and-half cream
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•3 cups sliced fresh strawberries

•1-1/2 cups crushed chocolate wafers
•Chocolate curls


•Line four 9-in. round baking pans with waxed paper; grease and flour the pans and paper. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, beat the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil, honey and vanilla until well blended. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder; add to egg mixture and beat just until blended. Transfer batter to prepared pans.
• Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
• Meanwhile for strawberries, in a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Dip strawberries in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper; let stand until set.
• For filling, place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream and coffee granules just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until ganache reaches a spreading consistency, about 45 minutes.
• For frosting, in a large bowl, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar and cocoa until fluffy. Add cream and vanilla; beat until smooth.
• Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread with 1/2 cup filling; arrange 1 cup sliced strawberries over filling. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer; spread remaining filling over top.
• Frost sides and top edge of cake with 4 cups frosting. Press crushed wafers into sides of cake; pipe remaining frosting around edges. Top with chocolate curls and chocolate-covered strawberries. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.

To Make Ahead: Cake layers can be baked the day before serving. Store each layer in a resealable plastic bag at room temperature.


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