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