Today is my 29th birthday! So I made myself this gorgeous and decadent chocolate covered strawberry birthday cake with fresh flowers because:
- It’s my last birthday of my twenties! I’m both thrilled and terrified at this thought.
- I’m 29 weeks pregnant, so what mama wants, mama gets! (Chocolate covered strawberry everything, please and thank you.) Also, I think it’s cute I’m turning the same age as I am in gestational weeks. Right? Double celebration!
- I’m having my THIRD boy, so pink cake and flowers are essential. Gotta maintain my queendom somehow.
So, let’s talk about this fancy strawberry cake. I am a fan of naked cakes, and it’s appropriate for them to be in their birthday suit for a birthday celebration. However, a lot of times they look lonely without a little ganache loving. And what is the best combination with strawberry? Chocolate, of course.
This was my first time doing a drippy cake, and I think it turned out alright. Maybe a little thick? But I like how it didn’t drip all the way to the bottom. I used a 1:1 ratio for chocolate and heavy cream. So, four ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, and half cup heavy cream. I would start there, and then slowly add in one tablespoon of heavy cream to thin it out as needed.
One more item of business about making a birthday cake with fresh flowers! Peonies and ranunculus are obviously not in season, so I spent a pretty penny at our local flower wholesaler to make this dream come true. The big pink flowers are peonies, the small red ones are ranunculus, and the white ones with the dark center are anemones. For greenery I used stems of silver dollar.
The most important aspect of decorating cakes with edible flowers is ensuring they are safely applied. Ranunculus and anemones are toxic if ingested, so it’s important to cover the stems and petals in cellophane or plastic wrap before applying to the cake. I gently set them on top so there is minimal contact and you can’t see the plastic barrier. Peonies and silver dollars are non-toxic, but may still be treated with pesticides, so be aware of that when using fresh flowers. Got it? Good.
Go grab the step by step instructions and recipe for how I made this chocolate covered strawberry birthday cake! Enjoy!
Links to cake decorating products I use:
Wilton Set of 8 Icing Colors
Ateco Decorating Comb & Icing Smoother
Wilton Aluminum Performance Pans 8 by 2-Inch Round Pan
Ateco 608 Revolving Cake Decorating Stand
Premium Quality Angled Icing Spatulaa – High Grade Stainless Steel
Chocolate Covered Strawberry Birthday Cake with Fresh Flowers
Prep time: 1 hour
Bake time: 30 minutes
Set time: 2 hours
Yield: 8-10 servings
2 boxes strawberry cake mix
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil
Light Pink Buttercream Icing:
1 cup butter, cold
1 cup shortening
4 1/2-5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pea-sized drop pink gel food dye
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semi sweet baking chocolate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together both packages strawberry cake mix according to ingredients and directions. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. Fill pans 3/4 way full. Bake for 28-32 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes clean. Allow cakes to cool, then tightly wrap in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for at least 2 hours to chill.
2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together cold butter and shortening until smooth. Scrape down the sides. Switch to the whisk attachment, and blend on high speed for 5 minutes until it doubles in size and turns a pale yellow color. Slowly add in sifted powdered sugar one cup at a time. Mix in vanilla extract and pink gel food dye. Fill two piping bags full of buttercream and cut a 1/2 inch opening in each.
3. Remove chilled cakes from the freezer. Cut off the rounded tops, and cut the cakes in half, to about 3/4″ in thickness each. You should now have 4 cakes pieces. Place on a cake stand, flat side up, and pipe on 1/3 of the icing on top. Smooth with an offset icing spatula. Repeat this step until all cakes are layered. Pipe on remaining buttercream to the top and sides. Place the cake stand on a revolving cake stand. Use a cake decorating icer with a flat edge to smooth out the top, dragging down icing to the sides. Spin the cake stand as you brush the sides to get a smooth even icing application. To give it a naked look, press firmly to scrape some of the frosting so the bare cake is slightly exposed. Smooth top and sides, then chill in freezer.
4. Prepare ganache in a small, heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Bring the heavy cream to a boil, then remove from heat and add chocolate. Whisk until it is melted and smooth, and add vanilla. Remove the cake from the freezer. Apply ganache to the cake edge with a spoon. It should drip halfway down. Repeat this step all the way around the cake. Spoon on remaining ganache on top. Set in freezer for 15 minutes to harden.
5. Prep flowers and greenery by cutting and applying covers to stems and leaves. When cake and ganache is set, arrange flowers however desired. Take a million pictures, and enjoy!