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Berries, Cakes, Chocolate, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Valentine's Day

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine’s Day

February 1, 2016

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca

This tastefully naked chocolate cake is everything and more for Valentine’s Day. First, it’s naked, second, it’s chocolate, third, it has chocolate. covered. strawberries – the official symbolic food of Valentine’s Day.

I could go into all sorts of naked cake innuendo, but we’ll save that for later. 

January seemed to go by slow, yet fast. The beginning dragged on, as it always does at the beginning of the year. The weeks after the holidays are always sort of foggy. But now It’s February and it feels like we’re speeding ahead into 2016. 

If you already have plans for Valentine’s Day, add this naked chocolate cake to the mix. If you don’t have plans for Valentine’s Day, plan to make this naked chocolate cake and share it with someone. I wasn’t going to tell you that Adam and I finished this cake in two days – but we did. And it was delicious. 

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca

I had thought up this cake quite a while ago, and had been impatiently waiting for February to roll around so I could share it.

I fell in love with the ‘naked’ or ‘bare’ cake craze while planning our wedding. I had wanted a ‘naked’ cake for our wedding. I love the look of naked cakes, with the sides exposed and the frosting rustically layered in between. There are two ways to go about it, one – top the cake layers and leave unfrosted, or two – leave a pseudo ‘crumb coating’ look with a very thin layer of frosting around all sides with cake peeking deliciously through. They’re usually adorned with fresh fruit or flowers and they’re visually stunning.

I like both styles, depending on the overall look you are going for. I ended up making our wedding cake – because, baker. I was actually quite calm the morning before the wedding making the cake, trying not to worry about if it would make it until the next day or not – it did, thank god, avoiding a bridal-meltdown.

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca

This chocolate cake is perfectly moist and light, layered with coconut cream and sliced strawberries and topped with chocolate dipped strawberries – it has all the Valentine’s Day iconic treats, chocolate covered strawberries, whipped cream, and chocolate. The flavours and colours are the perfect pairing for Valentine’s Day. This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, so you have lots of time to prep and bake this delicious treat to share with your special someone – or, let’s be real, eat it in it’s entirety yourself. 

Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca
Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca
Naked Chocolate Cake for Valentine's Day // Bakeaholic.ca

Naked Chocolate Cake
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 cups sugar
  2. 1 3/4 cups flour or gluten-free flour blend
  3. 3/4 cup dark cocoa
  4. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  6. 2 eggs, room temperature
  7. 1 cup dairy-free milk
  8. 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  9. 2 tsp. vanilla
  10. 1 cup boiling water (or fresh, strong brewed coffee)
  11. 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips
Frosting
  1. 1 can coconut cream, chilled (not milk)
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  1. 4-5 Strawberries, washed and dried
  2. 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks or chips
  3. 1 tsp. coconut oil
  4. Strawberries, washed and dried and sliced for cake filling.
To Bake
  1. Line two 6-inch round cake pans with parchment.
  2. Pre-heat oven to 350-degrees.
  3. In medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Add the chocolate to the butter and stir to melt. Whisk in the cocoa powder.
  5. Add the eggs, milk and vanilla to the dry ingredients and blend together. Stir in melted chocolate.
  6. Blend well.
  7. Add the boiling water and mix slowly.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  10. Allow to cool completely before removing from pan. Slide knife around the edges and turn out onto cooling rack.
To Assemble
  1. Heat chocolate in microwave in 1-minute intervals on 50% power until melted. Stir in coconut oil. Dip or drizzle washed and dried strawberries in chocolate and place on parchment paper or foil to set.
  2. Slice tops of cakes flat and even using a serrated knife.
  3. Whip chilled coconut cream with hand mixer, on high until light and fluffy. Place first cake layer on cake plate, top with half of the whipped coconut cream. Using a offset spatula spread evenly. Add sliced strawberries in single layer. Top with second cake layer and rest of coconut cream, spread evenly over top.
  4. Place chocolate covered strawberries on top. Store at room temperature before serving. Place leftovers in refrigerator.
Notes
  1. I like to keep a can of coconut cream in the fridge so it's ready when I need it. If you don't have a chilled can, just scoop it out into a metal mixing bowl and chill in freezer until you need it.
  2. Cake can be stored in fridge for 2-3 days.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Cupcakes

Summer Cupcake Series: Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes

July 17, 2012

I have 5 days left in this country – and Summer has finally decided to stick around. We had to endure a rather unruly June, but July has been quite nice. I have been told I’m not really allowed to complain, however, as I am going to Europe for a month. Where the weather looks like this:

Believe me, I will not be complaining.

That is, until it is so unbearably hot and humid that I can’t sleep through the night. Who can stand sleeping in anything when it is THIS hot. Adam and I have shrugged off our duvet cover each night, and even having a thin bed sheet on top is too much. Each morning I wake up in a tangle of bed sheets and the duvet half on the ground. I find I toss and turn more in the heat.

I remember my mom telling me that when she took my brother to Italy when he was a baby, they would let him run around naked indoors because it was too hot. I can’t imagine a baby in that heat! At least I know i’ll be well hydrated, because I will be hooking an IV of fluid up to myself in the form of a straw – and some Pellegrino.

Tonight we also had Adam’s baseball BBQ and game – it was great until my allergies began to act up. Thankfully my current bed partner (Adam) doesn’t mind crawling in bed with a girl covered in a face mask and a lovely nose strip (thank you Breathe Right)  It’s the only thing that will do the job right now. Along with allergy medicine, nose spray, and an Advil decongestant. I really hope my future children do NOT inherit my allergies. Summer’s really suck with them.

On another note..

Berry season is in full swing – delicious local berries are readily available as we make our way through the seasonal peaks. Strawberry season is almost over – but there is still plenty of time left to go and pick some (I believe end of July is the finish). Unfortunately we haven’t been able to hit up many U-Pick farms, due to the fact we’re moving, packing, and (I’m) leaving the country later this week. However, last year we did visit Krause Berry Farms in Langley, and loved it – Their welcome sign is, after all, a giant strawberry.

They provide all the info for each berry season and schedule. If you have a free weekend I suggest visiting them, the farm and cafe are awesome – corn pizza, fresh fruit smoothies, milkshakes, sky high pies, and mini donuts! You can also buy frozen foods and bring them home with you! You can read about my older post and visit to Krause Berry Farms here.

I made these strawberry cupcakes for our blogger picnic a few weekends ago – they are perfectly light and refreshing without being overly sweet.

I picked up the cute mini purple cupcake stand from our visit to Steveston the weekend before from a store called Serenity Home Decor. They have lots of unique and adorable gifts, cupcake related items, baking, novelty etc. Definitely worth a stroll through.

Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes 

You will need:

24 baked and cooled yellow cupcakes

one batch of Swiss Meringue Buttercream

local, fresh strawberries, washed & sliced (reserve smaller strawberries for decoration)

Fresh Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

Ingredients:

5 large egg whites

1 cup sugar

3 sticks butter, chilled, cut into cubes

Directions: 

Add washed, sliced strawberries (about 3/4 cup) to a food processor, and pulse for a few minutes until pureed. Do not drain, or add sugar. I like to leave the seeds instead of draining it like a coulis and heating it up – leave it fresh and un-cooked. Set aside.

In a metal mixing bowl, preferably from your stand mixer, place over a pot of simmering water, not boiling. Add sugar and egg whites. Be sure there is no yolk or oil in the egg whites, they will not whip properly otherwise.

Whisk constantly, until thermometer reads between 140-160 degrees F. If you do not have a thermometer, heat until sugar is completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot. This takes about 7-10 minutes.

Transfer metal bowl back to stand mixer, with whisk attachment and whip until the egg whites are thick and glossy and cool. The bowl itself should be cool to the touch, again this takes about 7-10 minutes on high.

Once the glossy thick texture is achieved, switch to a paddle attachment, and on medium add the chilled cubes of butter, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

The texture will begin to change, to a heavier, silky texture. It may look curdled, but continue to mix and it will become smooth once again. This time my butter was a bit too warm, and my frosting was curdling and soupy. I place it in the fridge for 15 minutes, added a couple more pieces of chilled butter and began to whip again. It became smooth once again.

Pour in the pureed strawberries, and whip for a moment to blend completely. No artificial colouring needed here – all natural baby.

Using a star tip, pipe strawberry buttercream onto cupcakes. Slice reserved smaller berries, dried/wiped dry, and place on top.

These cupcakes are best eaten the same day – but are ok to be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two at most. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

 These would be perfect for a summer picnic, a bridal shower, baby shower, or summer BBQ as a light and tasty tag-along dessert. You can most certainly swap out Strawberries for other berries as well.

Enjoy your summer =) Any plans??  I suggest visiting a U-Pick Berry Farm! Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries!

Pie

{In Season} Strawberry-Rhubarb Galette’s

May 29, 2012

The warmer temperature lately has been a lovely welcome to June. It seems like May literally flew by. I can’t even remember what has happened this month. A long weekend getaway, we listed our house, I’ve been out of school for about a month now. Maybe the fact that I don’t have to keep track of what day it is helped the month slip by.

Speaking of our house, we officially accepted an offer. We listed it at the beginning of May, and last weekend we accepted an offer. We were really happy with the price we’ve set it at, and we’re happy to get very close to it. At first they wanted to move in, in two weeks! Um, hello, not happening. First of all, it’s a very important week coming up, well day really. My birthday, it’s next Tuesday. And then, the week after that is my official grad ceremony, and of course graduation party. So, there was no way I was moving and packing up our condo in two weeks while all that was happening as well. When we countered we extended the date for the end of the month, June 25th. That was better situated for us. So, as of Wednesday next week we will know for sure if we have sold, once the subjects are removed. We are both quite happy that it went so fast, only four showings, so we can rest assured we (read: Adam) won’t be stuck with two mortgages come November 😉 . For the interim we will be staying at my Moms, thankfully they have a big house with lots of room, and Adam’s parents for the 5 months before we officially move into the new house.

The day we accepted the offer, I also went for my graduation photos. It didn’t seem real until I placed the cap on my head, and donned the official gown. It brought me back to my grade 12 graduation, as the photos were taken at the same photography studio. But, it’s real! I’ve confirmed my attendance at my convocation ceremony, and rented my gown. As if I haven’t paid the university enough money, I had to pay to rent a gown for a couple hours, on a time limit, to attend my grad ceremony. Oh well, it will only happen once! I’m not sure if there is a grad ceremony for when I finish my teaching program next year or not. My mom has also planned a party to celebrate with our friends and family that I’m looking forward to. I think 6 years of university deserves some acknowledgement, and a few drinks.

Something that has also been happening this month, the appearance of fruit. It’s the cusp of the fruit season and everything is growing bursting through the ground. A few weeks ago I posted a photo of a giant rhubarb plant at Adam’s parent’s home. Rhubarb is technically a vegetable, but it is more often found in sweet dessert recipes than savoury. His mom needed to pick the very large, towing plant and gave me some to bring home, as long as I baked her something with it of course 😉 One of my favourite combinations is strawberry-rhubarb. Delicious in a pie, hand pie, or as individual galette’s like I’ve done here. We had Adam’s family over for dinner, his mom and dad, sister, brother-in-law, and our sweet little niece, so I thought I would made a small galette for each person.

You can really sub any fruit for the filling, blackberry, blueberry, apple, peach, peach-blackberry, apple-strawberry, etc etc. So many fruit combinations.

Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Galettes
Adapted from: Martha Stewart’s Pies & Tarts

Pâte Brisée

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

1. Pulse flour and sugar in a food processor (or whisk together by hand in bowl). Add butter, and pulse, or use pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining. Drizzle 1/4 cup water over mixture, pulse (or mix with fork), until the mixture begins to hold together. If it seems too dry, add another 1/4 cup of water, 1 tbs. at a time and pulse again.

2. Turn out onto counter, and wrap in plastic wrap tightly, chilling for about one hour, or overnight.

Galettes

  • Chilled Pâte Brisée
  • 1 1/2 pounds trimmed rhubarb, cut into 1/4 inch pieces (about 5 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 cups granulated sugar

1. Divide dough evenly into 8 pieces ( I made 6 slightly larger ones ). On a lightly floured surface roll out each piece into a 7 inch round, 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. arranging several inches apart.

2. In large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, cornstarch and sugar.

3. Cover each round of dough with a heaping 1/2 cup mixture, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the edges over the filing, leaving the opening in the center. Refrigerate 30 minutes, or until firm.

4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush edges with egg wash, one egg beaten, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. bake until crusts are golden brown about 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, and bake until juices start to bubble and run from center, about 15 minutes longer. Remove from oven, let cool and transfer to wire rack.

These are also delicious warm from the oven, topped with ice cream. Maybe with the Honey Ice Cream from last week!