How To Transform a Chocolate Cake Into a Decadent Delight
Boozy Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cake
The easiest way to transform a classic cake into a perfectly indulgent delight is by decorating a simple chocolate sponge with boozy, decadent chocolate-dipped strawberries. Your otherwise unassuming cake will impress anyone who will happen to be around, guaranteed!
I have spoken about my little allotment in another post (link above) and about how such a tiny plot can offer so much bounty every year and with so little intervention on my part.
Although I only made it to the allotment three times in the past two weeks, I picked kilograms of beautiful strawberries. I stuffed my face until I could not breathe without even washing the sweet, juicy organic beauties (the rain did the job for me!)
Then I still had plenty of fruit to bring home and divide into categories: freezer, jam, more face stuffing because I can’t help it when they call me!
With the leftovers, I wanted to see how strawberries work in a double chocolate combination. Because I had already made classic chocolate-covered strawberries on a few occasions this summer, I went for something different: a boozy chocolate–dipped strawberry cake that was pure chocolate heaven!
The only difference was to add two tablespoons of Baileys to the melted dark chocolate. The result: even more indulgence for the adults (the underage still got their safe share of white and milk chocolate extravaganza!)
Melted chocolate is a bit tricky to work because you have to be quick and precise (needless to mention that the speed will decrease exponentially with every shot you decide to treat yourself to; I only indulged twice, but I observed the difference!)
If you add anything else while melting dark chocolate, especially a liquid ingredient, the chocolate tends to harden even faster. The solution is to reduce heat to a minimum and keep the bowl on the bain-marie a little longer.
Once the fruits are covered in boozy chocolate, decorate as you prefer and place the strawberries on a rack or a piece of baking parchment; refrigerate them for at least half an hour before decorating the cake.
I decided to use extra ripe bananas for sweetness and only added a tablespoon of organic coconut sugar to this cake. According to my taste (bear in mind that I don’t like sickly sweet anything!), the sponge was sweet enough. Still, even if it weren’t, I don’t think anybody would have noticed since the boozy chocolate-dipped strawberries conferred the flavour and were the main attraction!
Perhaps because aside from the booze, I choose a heart-shaped tray for the sponge, the idea that this cake would be perfect for Valentine’s Day was mentioned a few times. Of course, it won’t be the season for picking fresh strawberries from your garden unless you live somewhere where it is summer in February.
For the rest of us, a grocery store would do, as long as they sell organic strawberries! If you wonder why I keep mentioning organic, it is because my cooking/baking is largely organic-based. For your information, you can find more about the health benefits of strawberries here.
Ingredients for Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries and Pomegranate Chocolate Cake
For the sponge:
3 overripe bananas
1 tbsp organic coconut sugar
200 g organic white flour
3 tbsp organic cacao powder
5 organic eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp Baileys (or any other chocolate liquor)
A pinch of salt
A handful of fresh strawberries
A handful of pomegranate (optional)
1/2 bar dark chcolate
2 tbsp Baileys
Shredded coconut or a crunchy cover (optional)
Start by washing the strawberries, hull them (cut the green top) and stick a toothpick in each.
Fill a quarter of a pan with water and prepare the bain-marie to melt the chocolate. Break half a bar of dark chocolate in a glass bowl (not plastic!) and place it on the bain-marie. As it melts, add the cream liquor and stir. It might need a minute or two until the consistency is right to start dipping the fruits.
Place the chocolate bowl on a trivet (handle with care, as it will be hot!) and work quickly to deep the strawberries. If you choose to use additional toppings, do so before placing the dipped fruits on the rack or parchment paper.
Place in the fridge and allow to cool for at least half an hour.
Meanwhile, prepare the sponge.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the baking mould with parchment paper. I used a loose base heart-shaped tray, approximately 20 cm wide.
Peel the bananas and mash them using a hand mixer at low speed. Add the eggs, salt and sugar and mix at high speed for 6-7 minutes until the composition becomes lighter in colour and the volume triples.
Add the cacao powder and mix at low speed for 20-30 seconds until the colour becomes uniform.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together, add at once and incorporate slowly, using a large spatula. You should not over-mix during this step to preserve the oxygenation level and the puffiness of the sponge.
Place the batter in the lined tray and decorate with slices of strawberry.
I added a handful of pomegranate, hoping to enhance the taste a little. Because this sponge was a little sticky due to the bananas, I had to bake it a little longer, and some of the pomegranates charred. Next time I will incorporate the tiny fruits into the sponge to avoid this. Or use four tablespoons of coconut sugar instead of overripe bananas.
Bake for 50-60 minutes and do the toothpick test to ensure the sponge is cooked thoroughly. Allow extra baking time if needed.
When the sponge is ready, turn the heat off, leave it in the oven for another ten minutes. When the ten minutes are up, remove the tray from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Next, remove the tin’s sides and base and allow the sponge to cool completely.
Place the sponge on the serving platter, dust with powdered sugar (optional) and stick the chocolate-dipped strawberries into the sponge to finish the cake.
Chocolate Cake with Baileys Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
- Medium size baking tray (about 20 cm Ø or 20 cm irregular shape)
- Parchment paper
- Large mixing bowl
- Large silicone spatula
- Pan and glass bowl for bain-marie
- Electric mixer
- 3 pcs overripe bananas organic, peeled
- 5 pcs eggs large, organic
- 2 tbsp Baileys or any chocolate liquor
- 200 g white flour light, organic
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar organic
- 3 tbsp cacao powder organic
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt sea/rock, finely ground
- 5-7 pcs strawberries washed and hulled by cutting the green top off
- 1 handful pomegranate optional
- ½ bar dark chocolate minimum 60% cacao
- 2 tbsp Baileys/other chocolate liquor
- 1 tsp shredded coconut or ground nuts for extra decoration
How to make the boozy chocolate-dipped strawberries
- Wash the strawberries, hull them (cut the green top) and stick a toothpick in each.
- Fill a quarter of a pan with water and prepare the bain-marie to melt the chocolate.
- Break half a bar of dark chocolate in a glass bowl (not plastic!) and place it on the bain-marie. As the chocolate melts, add the cream liquor and stir. It might need a minute or two until the consistency is viscous enough to start dipping the fruits.
- Place the chocolate bowl on a trivet (handle with care, as it will be hot!) and work quickly to deep the strawberries. Deep in any additional toppings, then place the fruits on a rack or parchment paper.
- Refrigerate for at least half an hour.
How to make the sponge
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Line the baking mould with parchment paper. I used a loose base heart-shaped tray, approximately 20 cm wide.
- Peel the bananas and mash them using a hand mixer at low speed. Add the eggs, salt and sugar and mix at high speed for 6-7 minutes until the composition becomes lighter in colour and the volume triples.
- Add the cacao powder and mix at low speed for 20-30 seconds until the colour becomes uniform.
- Sieve the flour and baking powder together, add at once and incorporate slowly, using a large silicone spatula. If you overdo this step, the sponge might flatten.
- Preferably, add the pomegranate and incorporate them gently.
- Place the batter in the lined tray and decorate with slices of strawberry.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes and do the toothpick test to ensure the sponge is cooked thoroughly. Allow extra baking time if needed. Reduce heating if necessary to avoid charring the top.
- When the sponge is ready, turn the heat off, leave it in the oven for another 10 minutes, then remove and place it on a cooling rack. Next, remove the tin's sides and base and allow the sponge to cool completely.
- Dust with powdered sugar and decorate the cake by sticking the chocolate-dipped strawberries into the sponge.
- Slice and serve as it is or with ice cream/whipped cream/additional fruits.
If needed, store the chocolate-dipped strawberry cake in the fridge for up to three days. Serve with your preferred coffee, a bubbly or chocolate liquor. Enjoy!