Chocolate Strawberry Party Cake

Good health is more than just counting calories and healthy eating is more than a diet; it’s a way of life and you should enjoy it. Getting together with friends and family for some cake, coffee and conversation can do wonders for your mood. Having fun is important for your physical, mental and emotional well-being.

This chocolate cake is perfect for celebrations, birthdays or Valentine’s Day. Made with 100% cacao powder and only half a cup of mascobado sugar, it is wholesomely decadent and mainly sweetened with fresh medjool dates. You cannot taste the dates, only the natural sweetness.

The pink frosting is made with three ingredients: whipping cream; freeze-dried strawberries; and a few tablespoons of white powdered sugar. There is no artificial food dye in this frosting, only real strawberries that were freeze-dried. I used “Crunchy Fruit” freeze-dried strawberries by Organica.

You just need to process the dried strawberries in a NutriBullet or small food processor until powdery and add it to the whipping cream. The end result is a pink fluffy strawberry cream that holds firmly together and spreads like frosting. Adding fresh strawberries to the cream will not yield the same result. They need to be freeze-dried.

To make it vegan, you can substitute the eggs in the cake with whipped aquafaba (chickpea liquid) and the dairy cream with coconut cream.

The recipe is below.

Enjoy! Happy Valentine’s!

Chocolate Strawberry Party Cake

Serves 8 or more.

CAKE INGREDIENTS

Wet

  • 7-8 big and fresh medjool dates, pitted (180 grams pitted dates)
  • 1/2 cup boiled water
  • 2 eggs, room temp. (Vegan: 1/3 cup liquid from 1 can/jar of chickpeas to make aquafaba)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, room temp.
  • 1/2 cup light tasting oil (e.g. vegetable, grape seed, canola)

Dry

  • 2 cups white spelt flour (farina d’épautre claire)
  • 2/3 cups 100% cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup Mascobado granulated sugar cane
  • 1 teaspoon (tsp) baking soda
  • 11/2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

FROSTING INGREDIENTS 

For frosting the top layer only:

  • 1 cup (250 ml) cold, refrigerated heavy whipping cream * (see note for vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons powdered white sugar
  • 24 grams freeze-dried strawberries (about I cup)

For frosting middle and top layers:

  • 2 cups (500 ml) cold, refrigerated heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons powdered white sugar
  • 48 grams freeze-dried strawberries (about 2 cups)

*For vegan: Use refrigerated/cold thick coconut cream. With canned coconut cream that separates, refrigerate for at least 8 hours. The bowl and beaters should also be cold. With the type of coconut cream that separates, scoop out the thick cream at the top of the container and not the liquid that is at the bottom. It has to be very thick. Transfer the chilled cream into the mixing bowl and beat with electric beaters until creamy, about 2 minutes, until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and freeze-dried strawberry powder and hand mix or lightly beat until blended and creamy, about 1 minute. If too thick, add a small amount of almond or coconut milk. Taste and adjust sweetness and thickness as needed.

Note: The strawberry frosting is not my original recipe or concept. I’ve adapted it from other recipe developers.

GARNISH

  • Fresh strawberries

PROCEDURE

For the cake:

  • Oven: 350°F / 180°C
  • Pans: two 8-inch (20cm) springform pans  -or-   one 10-inch (26cm) springform pan.
  • Line bottom of pans with parchment paper and lightly grease sides.
  1. Remove the pits from the dates and weigh them. You should have about 180 grams. Transfer the date flesh into a small bowl and cover them with the 1/2 cup of boiled water. Press the dates so that they are submerged in the hot water. Allow dates to soak for five minutes to soften.

2. Transfer all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and hand whisk until evenly blended.

3. Into a stand-up blender bowl, add the eggs, almond milk, oil and the dates with the hot water in which they soaked. Blend on low gradually increasing to high speed for about 30 seconds or until the dates are blended in the mixture (see vegan option below).

For vegan : Pour the chickpea liquid into a bowl and beat with electric beaters on medium-high speed for about 2-3 minutes, or until foamy (NOT stiff like meringue). Set this aside. In a stand-up blender, add the almond milk, oil and the dates with the hot water in which they soaked. Blend on low gradually increasing to high speed for about 30 seconds or until the dates are blended in the mixture. Add the chickpea liquid and blend on lowest speed for 10 seconds.

4. Pour the liquid blender mixture into the dry ingredients. Whisk well by hand for a few minutes until the dry and wet ingredients are completely incorporated. 

5. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan(s) and bake in preheated oven. 

  • For two 8-inch (20 cm) pans: bake for 20-30 minutes. If baking both pans at the same time, you can rotate them halfway through the cooking and move them from the top rack to the bottom and vice versa. I baked them one at a time on the middle rack for 25 minutes.
  • For one large 10-inch (26 cm) pan: bake for 30-40 minutes on middle rack. 

6. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs.

7. When done, let the cake cool in the pan(s) on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Then slide a thin, dull knife around the edges and remove the springform rim and let the cake cool completely. When completely cool, remove the bottom of the pan and the parchment paper. The cake has to be completely cool before frosting it.

8. With two 8-inch (20 cm) cakes, you can freeze one and frost the other to make a smaller cake or proceed to making a double layer cake, as featured.

For the frosting:

While the cake cools, you can make the frosting. It can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge until you are ready to frost the cake. It keeps and holds well in fridge for several days.

Before making the cream, make sure to place the egg beaters and bowl in the refrigerator or freezer for about 15 minutes to chill. These items need to be cold. Also, keep the cream stored in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Measure/weigh the amount of freeze-dried strawberries that you need and process them in the small bowl of your food processor or NutriBullet. Make sure that these bowls are clean and dry before adding the strawberries. Process until powdery. Set aside.

Measure the amount of cream that you need. Beat cream with electric beaters on medium-low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. The cream should bubble or foam and start to thicken.

Add the sugar and the freeze-dried strawberry powder and beat on medium-high speed until firm fluffy peaks form, about 2 or 3 minutes. Do not over beat to avoid it turning into butter.

Frost the cake as you prefer. If frosting middle and top layers, set one cake upside down on a platter. You can shave off with a serrated knife a very thin slice to make it sit flat on the plate. You can also shave off a thin layer on the outer edges of the cake if you find them too crispy. Spread a layer of frosting on the top. Set the second cake on top, right side up. Frost the top. 

The cake keeps well in the fridge for several days in a sealed container or with a large bowl turned over the cake. 

Julie Zimmer

Julie has extensive experience in nursing practice and education in a wide range of fields from intensive/coronary care, to medical-surgical to community and public health. Julie has Bachelor Degrees in Psychology and Nursing, and a Master’s Degree in Community Health Nursing Education. She has taught in faculties of nursing and in various communities in Toronto, Canada and in Geneva, Switzerland, and is a consultant to the International Council of Nurses (ICN). Julie also has years of experience teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) in addition to coordinating an English department in a Swiss private school.

3 thoughts on “Chocolate Strawberry Party Cake

    1. Thank you Helen and Billie! I’m vegetarian but I have one daughter who is vegan 🌱 and that’s why I like to include the vegan option. Also, it’s important for the environment, which is why I tend to lean more towards plant-based foods. Plant-based cooking is also becoming more sophisticated and tasty and I find that very interesting!

      1. That’s wonderful! One of us has a daughter who is vegan (and a picky eater) so we are always on the lookout for new and exciting recipes! 🙂

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