Chocolate Strawberry Pocky Cake

I made this Chocolate Strawberry Pocky Cake for my friend’s birthday!  It was a perfect flavor combination for a hot summer outdoor party.  I loved making the little Pocky picket fence…

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The Pocky sticks surround three layers of chocolate honey cake with chocolate coffee ganache in between each layer.  I added a pinch of espresso to the cake batter to make the chocolate flavor a bit more refined.  The tweak made it easier to eat more cake!

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Strawberries dipped in milk and white chocolate offered a refreshing balance to the rich chocolate cake.

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I can’t wait to try this design on cupcakes, one berry per cupcake!

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gazing upon the cake

The hardest part about building cakes?  Not sampling the final product… Thank god I was invited to the party!

The Naked and (Almost) Famous

June is the month when strawberries are at their ripest. What better time to make a fresh strawberry flavored cake? (Or be born, might I add?)

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This birthday cake order was my first attempt at a naked-style layer cake!  It’s four layers, for a 24 year old.  I haven’t quite worked my way up to 24 layers yet!  I really like being able to see a hint of the layers from the outside.  I’ll definitely be trying my hand at more “naked” cakes this summer.

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The cake had a bright strawberry flavor that I balanced with layers of vanilla Italian meringue buttercream and a pop of tart raspberry preserves.

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I sampled a few different cake recipes… while the ones that included the most fresh strawberry puree were the most appealing on paper, they produced mushy cakes that tasted like Special K cereal!  No one wants to think about Special K and weight loss on their birthday…  I did more research and found that recipes using a hint of strawberry gelatin along with strawberry puree maintained the most vibrant fruit flavor and color.

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I decorated the top of the cake with fresh seasonal berries.  Nothing beats a strawberry blossom!

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These colors make me believe that summer is officially here!  I was thrilled to make this cake and can’t wait to try my hand at other summer birthday combinations.  Let’s keep celebrating all summer long.