*This rich and delicious Chocolate Strawberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake is sure to please any crowd! Complete with rich layers of fudgy chocolate cake, a mascarpone cheese filling, and fresh whipped cream to finish the outside. It was so simple and easy to put together and HELLO! So beautiful! 🙂
I admitted on my Hummingbird Cupcake post that layer cakes are sometimes just not my thing because they can be super time consuming and at times I feel as if the cake will be dry and the whole thing will be a flop! Who wants to spend hours preparing something only to serve it and feel like they aren’t getting the decadent dessert they envisioned? Not me!
Especially not me on this day! Every week I take my 3 boys (the 4th is at school) to the grocery store ALONE. Wegman’s aka my Disneyland is basically one of my favorite places on earth, which I’ll openly admit to anyone. However this day. This day… my children just wanted every junk food item ever known to man. They begged, they pleaded, they yelled in front of older folks who just stared at me. They turned my Disneyland into the hell only parents of small children know to be true. They cried. They whimpered. They wanted marshmallows. They wanted Pirate’s Booty. They wanted the juice with the characters on it. They wanted to go into the junky cereal isle. They “needed” those Ninja Turtles popsicles! You name it, it happened on this day at Wegman’s!
Needless to say I was physically and emotionally drained after leaving the store and just thanking God the whole way home we all made it out of this grocery store trip alive. Telling myself over and over again I should probably just wait until my husband gets home to go grocery shopping next time. But alas, next week around this time I will be dragging myself through the isles of Wegman’s with all the employees and retired folks staring at the walking circus that is my family and getting the “I remember those days!” from every empty nester in sight.
When we got home I remembered that I had gotten some steaks for my husband to grill for dinner and got to thinking maybe a cake would be a nice dessert on a night like this. After we all calmed down I remembered the mascarpone cheese that my husband decided to randomly buy for no reason and then request I make something with it and decided that would be a great addition to my cake. If you’ve never surprised your husband with a totally random and beautiful cake along with big, delicious, manly steaks on a Friday night you should really try it sometime! Nothing says I love you like coming home to a delicious meal complete with an out of the ordinary for me to make dessert.
What I really love about this Chocolate Strawberry & Mascarpone Layer Cake is the balance is spot on. I love a dessert that combines rich decadence with light and refreshing. I put chocolate chips in the cake, and they really brought a fudgy component to the cake that went perfectly with the fresh whipped cream and strawberry. My husband isn’t a heavy dessert type of guy and this cake was just perfect for him. It isn’t over powering, it isn’t disgustingly sweet and so overkill that you end up feeling sick at the end of your meal. It is exactly what a dessert should be, a compliment to everything you just ate. The last bite that makes you say “Wow that was just perfect.”
To decorate the cake I knew I wanted to go the naked cake route because I just love a rustic looking cake. Topping a cake with fresh fruit and chocolate chips is such an easy way to accomplish a “wow” factor so that is exactly what I did. I used and offset spatula to frost the cake, and it could not have been easier! Whipped cream is very forgiving on a cake, and sometimes messy even looks good! My main tip on frosting would just be to make sure you fill in all gaps between layers and filling to make everything look even. To accomplish this, just pile some frosting on those gaps and spread! I bet you can’t even tell there was a piece of my cake that broke on one side. When this happened I thought yep this is exactly why I love cupcakes….. but whipped cream came to my rescue and it was easily covered (it was a really small piece anyway). Through working at bakeries I have learned that more often then not cakes will have small flaws like this, it is just knowing how to hide it that makes a truly professional looking cake.
- 1 and ½ sticks butter (softened)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 and ½ cups milk
- ¾ cup strong coffee or espresso
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur's unbleached)
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
- 1 and ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips + more for decorating
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream (divided)
- ¾ cup 10 x sugar (divided)
- fresh strawberries for filling and decorating (approximately 2-3 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease (2) 8 inch cake pans with butter, then dust them with flour to ensure your cake will come out of the pan. To add additional non-stick power cut a parchment paper circle and line the bottom of the pan.
- Place softened butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with paddle attachment until light, fluffy, and pale in color. Scrape down sides of bowl frequently to avoid any chunks of butter. Add eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl in between each egg. Add vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl, mix flour, sifted cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Have milk and coffee on reserve.
- Alternating between wet and dry ingredients add about ⅓ of the flour mixture, followed by ⅓ of the milk/espresso. Repeat this step starting and ending with dry ingredients until all ingredients are combined. Turn off mixer and gently fold in chocolate chips. Evenly distribute batter between your (2) 8 inch cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25-30 minutes or until cake is baked through and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool completely before attempting to release from pans.
- For Mascarpone Filling: In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add 8 ounces mascarpone cheese and 1 cup heavy whipping cream. Whip on medium speed just until mixture comes together. This happens very quickly. Add ½ cup sifted 10x sugar. Be careful not to over whip.
- For Fresh Whipped Cream Frosting: Add 2 cups heavy whipping cream to bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until you reach stiff peaks, or until cream stands up on whisk attachment on its own. As cream is whipping slowly add ¼-1/2 cup sifted 10x sugar.
- For Assembly of Cake: Release chocolate cakes from pans. Place mascarpone filling on top of bottom layer and spread evenly. Slice strawberry and layer them on top of mascarpone filling. Place second cake layer on top of filling. Using your whipped cream and a offset spatula spread whipped cream over cake. Slice desired amount of strawberries and place in center of cake for decoration. Finish with a handful of chocolate chips on top.