I am content if the dessert I order is sweet and satisfying. But there are times when that dessert is so much more and takes on a life of it’s own. This was the story of a generous slice of cake I recently shared with friends.

It was simply described as “Pineapple Banana Cake”,  but this cake had lots of everything. Not only was it a sixth of a cake and easily served four, it was rich and moist, studded with pecans, packed big pineapple flavor, and arrived frosted in thick buttercream. The garnish deserves its own mention: a mountain of maple laced whipped cream on the side, topped off with fresh strawberries and a drizzle of caramel sauce.

I realized my fixation with this slice had become overwhelming as I was working through my third rendering. It was just hard to resist the pale stripes of frosting intersecting dark textured cake, punctuated by bright spots of red strawberries. The first piece this cake inspired was a painting,  which quickly transformed into a baking project, and then became a serving of Chocolate Strawberry Cake from The Cardboard Kitchen.

Crazy? Maybe a little. Fun? Definitely!

Strawberry and Whipped Cream Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

Cake:

3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups light brown sugar

3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 tsp salt ( if using salted butter, reduce to 1/2 tsp)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350⁰

Melt chocolate, set aside

Beat butter in stand mixer, then add brown sugar and eggs. Beat until light and fluffy (about 5 min).

Add vanilla and melted chocolate, beat just until combined.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt. Add to chocolate mixture, gradually, alternating with sour cream and beating after each addition.

Stir boiling water into batter. Batter will be thin.

Fill paper lined muffin pan 3/4 full.

Bake 15-20 min or until center springs back when touched. Makes 18.

Filling:

1/2 pint fresh ripe strawberries,wash, dried, roughly chopped, set in sieve to drain.
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla (or to taste)
sugar to taste

Whip cream, add vanilla and sugar to taste.

Fold in strawberries.

Set aside in fridge until ready to fill.

Buttercream: ( if you are not piping, halve recipe)

4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk, or (more adjust to consistency)
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
food coloring if desired

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat at low speed until well mixed. then increase speed to medium

until light, fluffy and well mixed,scraping bowl often. Tint with food coloring if desired.

Assembly ( just before serving):

Piping bag method:

Fill bag  fitted with a #18 plain tip with cold strawberry whipped cream mixture.
Fill from the bottom by puncturing, being careful not to overfill.

Layering method:

Split cupcakes horizontally, and spread mixture between layers, and refit with top.
Note: I found it easier to frost after I filled, but I was piping the frosting and piping the filling.