I said to someone the other day that my love language is carbohydrates. I stand by that statement, but I was particularly confronted by the truth of it making this cake for a dear friend of mine’s (almost surprise) birthday this past week. It’s excess manifested. It’s the definition of over the top. But it’s also me trying to show someone that they’re special, and if it takes hundreds of grams of cocoa and seven dirty piping tips in my sink, I’m good with that.
The only foreknowledge I had of what this cake should be was the tip that my friend likes chocolate cake with chocolate icing and strawberries on top, so say what you will, but I followed the brief I was given. I wanted to make sure, though, that the cake was (*shudders*) moist enough to stand up to all the icing and extra fluff, so I made it with buttermilk for the extra fat content. Then I did a Bailey’s cream cheese icing to add some mellow notes to the sharpness of the chocolate (and who doesn’t like a bit of booze in their 21+ birthday cake?). The mirror glaze was a long shot. This was the thing that could have gone horribly wrong. It did go a little wrong because I used the wrong size cake circle and the mirror glaze got trapped on the excess sticking out from the cake, but I won’t lose sleep over it.
For the lagniappe on top, I made a different buttercream recipe because I wanted it stiffer and smoother than the cream cheese icing I had done for the filling and crumb coat. And then I decided I wanted to add strawberry flavors aside from the whole strawberries I used to garnish, so I ground up freeze-dried strawberry slices (thank you Trader Joe’s) to a fine powder and mixed them into some of my buttercream. Dried strawberries are such a strong, tart flavor that I think it added a little extra flavor kick to the heavy chocolate flavors in the rest of the cake. To finish, I topped with strawberries, raspberries, and pomegranate seeds coated in simple syrup.
I didn’t actually try the cake (true confessions, I’m not the biggest fan of chocolate, so I wouldn’t have been an accurate judge of taste on this one), but my friend said it was “literally the best thing I’ve ever eaten,” so I’m counting this one as a win. All the elements I used to make this beauty are below!