Fudge Fantasy Cake

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Difficulty: Easy - for beginners
Serves: 12 servings

Preparation time:
Cooking time:

Ingredients

•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

CHOCOLATE-COVERED STRAWBERRIES:
•6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
•12 fresh strawberries

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

FROSTING:
•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

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

Method

•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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