Food Styling Challenge (Blackberry Chocolate Cake)

by Michael on February 26, 2013 · 30 comments

Blackberry Chocolate Cake

 

I have often professed my love of living in Canada and residing in a country with four distinct seasons. Each season ushers in hope and endless possibility. And with the seasons lasting but a few short months, it’s just enough time to sink into the heart of them before they vanish. Winter likes to bend the rules. And when she settles in it seems as though she’ll never leave. This is one of those winters. It started off quietly, but as the days grow longer her presence is more noticeable than ever. Fierce and harsh and no end in sight. And now I’m ready for a change.

There is one thing in particular that I love about a longer winter. Turning on the oven more times than the rest of the three seasons combined. Great slow cooked food with a deep aroma that walks through the house. That and the occasional baked good.  And on days when the weather turns for the worse, it’s the perfect opportunity to settle into the kitchen and create something deeply rich and warming.

Recently, Amanda from I am Baker contacted me about a food styling challenge she was running on her blog. Each month would feature a different blogger making and styling chocolate cake. Aside from the cake, we had carte blance on the rest of the project. We had a small budget to purchase second-hand props and style it ourselves. Last month Kristen of Dine and Dish did an incredible job with this White Chocolate Confetti Cake, way above my baking and icing grade.  I jumped at the challenge even though I knew it wasn’t in my skill set.

I’ll admit it. I am NOT a baker. The truth is I like to sit snugly in my comfort space behind a stove. Maybe it’s because cooking is a very flexible process and baking is regimented and precise. I have never been one to follow a recipe entirely, so baking a cake tested my patience. I decided to choose a recipe that I’ve wanted to make for a while and just changed it slightly to include some of my favourite berries.

Thanks Amanda for inviting me in on this challenge. It was hard but I’m so glad I did it! Now head over to I am Baker to check out my answers to some her questions and to see the rest of the images for this challenge.

Blackberry Chocolate Cake 2

Blackberry Chocolate Cake

*slightly adapted from Donal Skehan’s Swedish Chocolate Dream Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour, plus AP flour for dusting
  • 2 1/2 cups superfine sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 8 tbsp. sweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 cups blackberries
  • 3/4 stick unsalted butter, for frosting
  • 12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature, for frosting
  • 4 tbsp. half & half, for frosting
  • 3 cups icing sugar, for frosting
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, for frosting
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Prep:

  1.  Preheat oven to 355°F.  Grease three 9″ cake pans with a removable base. Line the bottom with a disc of parchment paper and dust with flour. Keep aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a pot and remove from heat. Add in the sugar and mix thoroughly. Add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well each time. Add the flour and cocoa and mix until combined.
  3. Pour into the three prepared pans and place in the centre of the oven, baking for 20 minutes or until the top sets but the middle remains slightly soft.
  4. While the cakes bake, get started on the frosting. In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and half & half together until smooth. Add in the sugar, cocoa and vanilla and beat until well blended. Reduce speed to low and continue beating until smooth. Chill for 20 minutes.
  5. To assemble the cake, place the first cake on a cake stand and spread with one-third of the frosting. Top with blackberries. Add the second cake layer, frosting again and topping with blackberries. Finish the cake with the third cake layer, spreading with the remaining frosting and again finishing with blackberries.

 

 

 

Leave a Comment

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

argone February 26, 2013 at 10:16 am

gorgeous layer cake … would have loved to try … but I’m not very comfortable with cups. congratulations anyway !

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Amanda February 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

You are amazing. Thank you so much for being a part of it!!

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Michael February 26, 2013 at 12:39 pm

Thank you Amanda! I am so grateful to be asked to contribute!

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Rushi February 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Mmmm I’d love a piece of that chocolate cake, it’s so scrummy :)

Was wondering if I could use frozen blackberries instead of fresh ones.

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Natasha February 26, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Well, despite you not being a baker, this cake looks wonderful! Well done!

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Michael February 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Thank you Natasha!

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Madeline Turnquist February 26, 2013 at 3:32 pm

This looks delicious! I have about 3 litters of frozen Maine blackberries. Did you use fresh or frozen berries for your cake? Do you have any suggestions for potentially using frozen berries? Thank you.

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Michael February 26, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Thanks Madeline! I suppose for the inside layers you could use frozen berries that have softened. But for the top I suggest fresh berries.

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm

What a beauty, I love the blackberry topping!

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Sue {munchkin munchies} February 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Stunning and delectable cake! This recipe is a “must make”!

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Brooks February 26, 2013 at 6:39 pm

Mike, I could stare at this cake all day and the recipe is spot on. I’d say you ARE a baker. Bravo!

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Amanda February 26, 2013 at 9:29 pm

AGREE!! :)

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Kiran @ KiranTarun.com February 26, 2013 at 6:40 pm

I am not a baker myself — but you did terrific, Michael :)

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Rena February 27, 2013 at 10:38 am

For a non-baker that is one stunning cake!! New follower, found you from iambaker!

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Jodi @ Garlic Girl February 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I just love everything about the cake and the photos! I’ll be back for more!

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Serena (serenabakessimplyfromscratch) February 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Wow you did a wonderful job styling the cake and it looks amazingly scrumptious! I love blackberries and chocolate!

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sippitysup February 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Me not baker either. But in your case it matter not, because your sense of style would make a set of dentures looked edible. Of course chocolate cake is not dentures. So my metaphor bombed. GREG

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Samantha February 28, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Beautiful cake! I hear you about winter. The weather in Calgary has been especially temperamental this year. One day it feels like spring is on its way, and the next we have a few feet of snow!

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Jennifer Shtutman March 1, 2013 at 10:20 am

you have the most gorgeous photos!! Striving for that perfection on my food blog :) Thanks for sharing!

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Michael March 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Thank you Jennifer! I’m sure you’ll get there. Lots of practice can only help. I started off the same way as everyone else. Cheers!

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Spencer March 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Looks fantastic! I could so eat that whole thing on my own.

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Brooke Schweers May 1, 2013 at 5:27 am

This cake is so beautiful! Almost too pretty to eat. Even though you say you are not a baker obviously you have that skill because this cake is amazing!

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marla May 16, 2013 at 10:32 am

I have admired this beauty before ~ but I am back to gaze again. I am up for the challenge next week ;)

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Asmita May 18, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Gorgeous!

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Chris @ Shared Appetite July 2, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Wow, this cake looks so decadent! Must try!!!

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Beth August 14, 2013 at 5:12 am

is there no baking powder or such in the cake or is it in the Cake Flour already? might be a silly question sorry, i’ve never used cake flour before. :) thanks

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Michael August 16, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Hi Beth! Yes, the baking powder is in the cake flour. Hope that helps.

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