It seems like ages since my sister Ingrid and I were last able to celebrate a birthday together. This year though, she came to visit Peter and me only a few days after her birthday, which is close enough to require serious celebration in the form of a triple-layered chocolate cake. Since the recipe is nothing new, I decided to illustrate the cake construction process in a series of doodles.
To make this strawberry bejeweled chocolate layer cake you will need:
1 Guinness chocolate cake (with Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout instead of Guinness)
1 batch chocolate ganache (recipe below)
1 batch whipped cream (recipe below)
2 small baskets strawberries, washed, ends cut off, and cut in half length-wise
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
2/3 cups heavy whipping cream (the rest to be used in the whipped cream)
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Do not make this before you are ready to use it! The ganache will thicken over time, making it harder to spread evenly on the cake layers! To make the chocolate ganache, put the chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl. Bring the heavy cream just to a simmer and pour over the chocolate chips. Let the chocolate chips and heavy cream sit for a minute so that the chocolate starts to melt. Then stir the chocolate chips and heavy cream until completely mixed together (it will be a dark chocolate color and be completely smooth). Add the butter and vanilla extract and stir until the butter is completely melted. The ganache is immediately ready for spreading on the cake layers.
The rest of a 16 ounce bottle of heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon sugar
Do not make this before you are ready to use it! The whipped cream will become runny if left at room temperature too long and will harden if put in the fridge, making it difficult to spread evenly on the exterior of the cake! Add everything to a large mixing bowl with high sides and beat with electric beaters until softly whipped. To make the whipped cream easiest to spread on the cake, you don’t want to whip the whipped cream too much. Otherwise you may have to treat the whipped cream like icing and use a plastic bag with a corner cut off to pipe the whipped cream onto the cake.
And now, for the detailed cake construction directions: