This isn't really a birthday cake. It's more like a really, really moist chocolate-y chocolate cake, paired perfectly with lightly sweetened whipped cream and some berries.
So, why have I made a chocolate cake with cream and berries and presented it as a birthday cake? Because I have this really picky sister who didn't want a chocolate cake with fancy chocolate frosting, or even better, chocolate ganache. She didn't want a pretty cake bought from some cake shop, and she didn't even want it to be decorated and say 'happy birthday' on it. No, she asked for a really yummy plain 2 layer chocolate cake. With marshmallow frosting. And strawberries. But like a sandwich, and she wanted the filling to be oozing out. And she didn't want the sides of the cake to be covered. And if I could, would I be able to not make it too 'fun'. If I didn't mind.
So, trying to comply with HRH's request, I set off making the cake. I did make a few changes, instead of marshmallow frosting, I opted for lightly sweetened whipped cream, and instead of only adding in strawberries, I added a few more types of berries.
I looked at several chocolate cake recipes and took the aspects I thought would provide me with a super moist chocolate-y cake, and it actually worked really well. Like, it might be the chocolate cake I use for all birthday cakes now. I had baked the cake the night before, and once cooled wrapped in up in cling film and left it at room temperature overnight, and it wasn't even slightly dry the next day!
I can report that the birthday girl loved the cake, and all the guests (our family) finished their plates. Which doesn't always happen when you've just stuffed your face with around 5 different dishes, and seconds. But it did.
Of course, you could present this cake how you like: with chocolate ganache, chocolate buttercream, vanilla buttercream, marshmallow frosting, with or without berries, peanut butter, or even just half the recipe and make it a one layer everyday cake... It's safe to say you have many options, and I'm sure all would be amazing. But if you do make it this way, just be warned that you won't have a crumb left to eat when you're craving it the next day. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Chocolate Cake with Cream and Berries
300 grams dark brown sugar
300 grams granulated sugar
425 grams plain flour
135 grams cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
2 1/4 teaspoons of baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
200ml vegetable oil
350ml hot coffee
600ml whipping cream
3 tablespoons icing sugar
300 grams raspberries
400 grams blueberries
500 grams strawberries
Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans, and set aside.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugars, flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. In a medium sized bowl, or a measuring jug (I used a measuring jug), mix together the eggs, oil and buttermilk until mixed in well. With the mixer on low speed, slowly pour in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Continue to mix on low speed until evenly distributed. Then, pour the hot coffee into the mixture on medium low until smooth. Mix the mixture with a spatula to make sure all the ingredients have been mixed together. The batter won't be thick, it will be more soupy.
Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes are done. Leave to cool in their pans for around 20 minutes, then flip onto a cooling rack - be careful, as the cake is really moist and quite soft and might break, as you can see above - and allow to completely cool.
Whilst the cake cools, prepare the whipping cream. In a bowl of an electric mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric handheld mixer, whisk the whipping cream and icing sugar until thick and spreadable. Prepare the berries by washing them, and the strawberries by chopping off the head and slicing them in half, but leave a few whole to decorate the top of the cake with.
Put the first layer of cake, and spread on half the whipped cream (this is if you want to create a sandwich like I did. You can easily cover the whole cake with the cream, and if you wish to do so, top a 1/3 of the whipping cream on the first layer of cake.) Press in half of the berries. Carefully place the other cake layer on top, and spread on the rest of the cream. You can decorate the rest of the berries nicely on top, or just go for that "rustic" feel like I did. If the cake is for an occasion (like this was) sprinkle some edible glitter for a party feel.