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Chocolate-Strawberry Basket Cake

Photo: Tina Cornett; Styling: Mary Lyn Hill
Yield Makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Transform a two-layer chocolate cake into a work of art by piping the buttercream frosting on the cake with a basket-weave tip, adding a handle to the top of cake, and mounding the top of the cake with fresh strawberries and flowers.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
  • Florist wire
  • Assorted fresh flowers and foliage
  • Florist tape
  • Florist water picks
  • Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries
  • Garnish: Marzipan Bees

How to Make It

  1. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add sugars, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Set mixture aside.

  2. Stir together instant coffee granules and 1 cup boiling water until granules dissolve.

  3. Stir together flour and next 4 ingredients. Add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until blended after each addition. Gradually add coffee mixture and vanilla, beating at low speed just until blended. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured 8-inch square cakepans.

  4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans, and cool on wire racks.

  5. Spread a thin layer of Chocolate Buttercream Frosting between layers and on top and sides of cake, reserving remaining frosting.

  6. Fit a decorating bag with basket-weave tip, and fill with some of remaining frosting. Pipe basket-weave pattern around sides, refilling bag as needed. Change to star tip, and pipe ruffle around top and bottom of cake.

  7. Form handle from florist wire; attach foliage and flowers with florist tape.

  8. Insert 2 water picks into top of cake near 2 opposite edges, and insert wire ends of handle into water picks. Mound Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries onto top of cake.

  9. Garnish with Marzipan Bees, if desired.

  10. NOTE: For foliage, we used strawberry plants. Roses, pansies, and violas may also be used.