A while back, it was Father’s Day. A couple of days before that, it was my daughter’s first birthday. Hard to believe that it has been a whole year since her birth. She is coming along in leaps and bounds. Every day she makes me giggle and smile. Just today she started “kissing” back. Albeit a wide open mouth pressed against my cheek, but nonetheless adorable in every sense of the word. She is a tiny person and her personality is starting to really shine.
Now if she would only stop waking up at 5am and shrieking for everything she needs…
For Father’s Day, we decided to hit our local historical society’s open house. Held every year, the best draw is a ride on the miniature steam/diesel/electric engines. Mini train rides! Besides that, there are many historical artifacts to look at and many beautiful pictures to take.
The old fashioned kitchens were my favourite thing. So rustic and calm. Beautiful serenity amid the rough background of the period.
I thought after my last post, that I should really lighten it up a bit and give you a damn fine recipe for once. There is a great reason this blog is called Guilty Kitchen. Yes, I may have developed an unnatural obsession with fitness and proper nutrition, but I also fully believe in not depriving yourself of anything you want. My favourite quote is from Oscar Wilde: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it.” so I often do, but I keep it to a minimum.
My journey has taught me that I can have everything I want, I should just probably hold back a bit. Instead of three plates at the buffet, I now only do one and make sure it’s got everything I want on it. Instead of eating the whole cake in one go, I often freeze portions of it to eat over the next few weeks. Or better yet, leftover cake can be smashed into pieces, mixed with frosting, rolled into balls, dipped in chocolate and voila! Cake Balls! I freeze those too for future portion controlled binges.
It may not sound like the kind of food extravaganza some people are into, but it works for me. I saw a great quote the other day that really inspired me and made me feel like I am in a great space right now. I will always be faced with foods that make me want to eat every morsel in sight and I will always be working to stay fit and healthy. It doesn’t come easy and once you achieve it, it takes work to keep it. This is a lifelong journey for me and I plan on enjoying every minute of the ride.
This cake is a chocoholics wet dream. Two kinds of chocolate and a healthy dose of sweetness in the frosting make it the kind of cake you want to eat slowly with a big glass of milk handy. I served this as my daughter’s first birthday cake. She ate approximately one bite before she threw it all on the floor. A similar thing happened when I made a carrot cake for my son’s first birthday. It doesn’t seem like my kids are too into the cake, so I baked something I knew I would like. Does that make me selfish?
I did make it so that it was a princess cake though, as the strawberry buttercream was a delightful shade of pink. What I did find though, was that there are no good recipes for strawberry buttercream anywhere on the planet. Or at least as so far as Google can find… Most were said to be only faintly tasting of strawberries as only a tiny amount of fresh pureed strawberries go into the frosting. I didn’t want to use an artificial flavouring either, so I was stuck making my own way, again.
So I devised a way to make a strawberry concentrate that was so thick, once you added it to the buttercream it was still a very pipable frosting. Is pipable a word? My spell check thinks not.
If you are planning on making this cake, make the strawberry concentrate and the cake the day before. The concentrate needs time to cook and chill and if you get the cake out of the way the day before, all you have to do is assemble and decorate! Make sure to wrap the cake in plastic overnight.
One Year Ago: Stuffed Mushroom Caps
Double Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Strawberry Buttercream
Yield: One 8″ two layer cake (approximately 12-14 servings)
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 40 minutes
For the Cake:
*Can be made up to one day in advance*
1 cup pastry flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup 66% dark chocolate pieces (try to ensure that it’s at least 60% or more for best results)
4 eggs, room temperature
For the Frosting:
Strawberry Concentrate (Make a day in advance):
1 lb. fresh strawberries, sliced or roughly chopped
1/2 cup sugar
Make the Frosting Base:
1 1/2 cup butter
3-5 cups icing sugar
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour two 8″ round baking pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.
2. Sift together the flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl in the microwave using 10-15 second increments (depending on the age of your microwave). Stir between each interval and check that it doesn’t get too hot. Just get it hot enough that if you stir it enough, all the chocolate will melt.
4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (on medium speed), beat butter and cream cheese together until smooth and fluffy (about 6-8 minutes). Remember to scrape the bowl down if necessary.
5. Add sugar in one addition and beat for two to three minutes.
6. Pour in vanilla and melted chocolate and beat for an additional two minutes.
7. Beat in eggs one at a time, ensuring they are fully incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape down bowl if necessary.
8. On low speed, pour in the dry ingredients in two additions. Scrape down bowl between additions.
9. Divide batter evenly between pans (I weigh mine) and bake for 35-40 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pans.
10. Remove from oven and cool on wire racks for 10 minutes. Turn out and peel off parchment paper, then flip back over and cool completely.
1. For the Frosting (Part I) Strawberry Concentrate: Toss strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Turn down to simmer and continue to cook for 1 1/2-2 hours or until strawberries have reduced by 2/3rds and are extremely thick, like jam.
3. Now comes the tricky part. I’m pretty particular, so I strained mine through a very fine sieve to get out all those seeds. I think you could get away with not doing this step, but I thought it would make the overall texture a lot better.
4. Pour into a small bowl and lay plastic over the surface to avoid a skin. Allow to chill for at least four hours.
1. For the Frosting Base: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
2. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pod and add to the butter along with the vanilla extract.
3. Slowly add in the icing sugar one cup at a time on slow speed. Scrape down sides of bowl between additions.
4. If making in advance, keep frosting in the fridge. Bring it back to room temperature when you are ready to assemble your cake. Beat the room temperature frosting until it becomes fluffy again.
To Make Strawberry Buttercream:
Pour 2/3rds of the concentrate into the frosting and beat on medium speed until incorporated. Reserve 1/3 of the concentrate to serve as a filling for the cake.
Assembling the Cake:
1. Using a long serrated knife, cut the tops off the cakes if necessary. Set the first cake down on a cake stand or plate. Spread a layer of strawberry buttercream over. (Optional: Pipe a raised border along the edge of the cake to hold in the concentrate. Spread the remaining concentrate over the buttercream.
2. Place second cake cut side down on top of the first. Spread a thin layer of buttercream over the top and sides of the cake as a crumb coat. Apply the rest of the buttercream as thick as you like.
3. I decorated my cake with a few piped balls and added fresh strawberries in the middle surrounded by another layer of the concentrate. It worked well, but some of the balls gave way, spilling the concentrate down the sides of the cake. Next time I would just do the fresh strawberries.Yes…I ate a piece this big….
Similarly delicious food from other fabulous food blogs:
Avocado Pound Cake on Joy the Baker
Mojito Pound Cake on Erin Cooks
Lemon Ricotta Pound Cake with Berries on Two Peas and Their Pod
Irish Cream Pound Cake on Andrea Meyers
Lemon Pound Cake on Lovely Lanvin