Confession #109: I Buy Too Much Chocolate… Strawberry Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache
Truth: I buy a lot of chocolate. Too much? Well that’s just crazy talk. But a lot – yes. I chalk it up to savvy shopping. I don’t want to go to the store every week just to stock up on chocolate, so instead I go once a month or so, buy a whole bunch of chocolate at once, and deal with a cashier who probably thinks I’m crazy buying a few pounds of chocolate and nothing else. I don’t even know how many times someone’s asked me, “Oh are you making (← insert dessert of choice here)?” And I usually just smile and come up with some response, because let’s face it, I might not even know what I’m making yet. I just know I need chocolate.
The plus side to having tons of chocolate is that I always have backup when something goes wrong. Does anyone else have a love/hate relationship with chocolate? Because I do; if there’s a way to destroy chocolate, chances are I’ve done it. And white chocolate is the worst. Making the white chocolate ganache for this bundt cake was like the bane of my existence. In fact, getting this cake perfect in general was a labor of love (and stress), and if it weren’t for the fact that I knew it would be worth it in the end, I would have just dropped the whole idea. But two to three bags of white chocolate chips, a few pounds of strawberries, and three bundt cakes later, I give you my idea of Strawberry Bundt Cake perfection:
It wasn’t that long ago that I first decided I actually like white chocolate at all. It’s no dark chocolate, but I’ve finally come to see that it has it’s place in the world of recipes with its creamy, sweet flavor. It didn’t take long for me to start coming up with ways to incorporate it in my baking. Something just told me that it would be the perfect match for strawberries, and before I knew it, I was planning a strawberry cake, with a white chocolate ganache glaze, and chocolate-covered strawberries for garnish. This is what happens when you bake a lot; you come up with all these random recipe ideas that you may or may not have a legitimate excuse to make, but if you’re me, your itch to try them usually gets the better of you.
Let me just put it out there: Strawberry Cake? Best idea ever. Especially when it’s strawberry cake made from scratch. Fresh strawberries roasted with a little bit of sugar give this cake such a vibrant taste of strawberries that it honestly needs no glaze. In fact, eating cake for breakfast seems totally acceptable when it’s left plain, and this cake without the fancy toppings was heaven for breakfast. Light and moist and just perfectly sweet, it’s fresh and satisfying. But since my plans far surpassed a simple and modest bundt cake, I had to carry on. The creamy white chocolate ganache poured on top sets the tone for something more luxurious and dessert-like, and the chocolate-covered strawberries just upped the deliciousness factor. Valentine’s Day or not, I say it’s time for cake.
Strawberry Bundt Cake with White Chocolate Ganache
Cook Time: 50 minutes
one (approx. 9 inch) bundt cake
This light, tender, and moist bundt cake has a vibrant taste of strawberries, matched with the perfect amount of sweetness. It's excellent alone, but even more special garnished with a creamy white chocolate glaze and chocolate-covered strawberries. With its beautiful presentation, it's sure to make Valentine's Day - or any other occasion - memorable!
Strawberry Bundt Cake
15 ounces chopped strawberries (3 cups)*
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
12 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour (3 cups, spoon and sweep)
5 1/2 ounces white chocolate chips (1 cup), or chopped white chocolate***
2 1/8 ounces heavy cream (1/4 cup)
Strawberry Bundt Cake:
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the chopped strawberries in an 11" x 7" baking dish and sprinkle the 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar on top. Roast in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, and then set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F and grease a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray, making sure to coat all of the grooves of the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, vanilla sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture is even in color and texture and the color has lightened a bit. One at a time, add the eggs and egg yolk, beating between each addition until well-combined. Wipe down the mixing bowl as needed.
In a blender, puree the cooled strawberries with the yogurt until smooth. Add to the batter in the stand mixer along with the vanilla extract and red food coloring. Beat in on low speed until the batter is even in color and everything is well-combined, wiping down the bottom and sides of the bowl to make sure everything is incorporated. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet and fold in with a spatula until just combined; do not overmix!
Pour the batter into the greased bundt pan, spreading it out to fill every crevice of the pan and smoothing out the top. Wrap the pan firmly on the counter a few times to eliminate any trapped air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 50-53 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then, rap the pan on the counter a few times to loosen the cake, place the cooling rack upside-down over the pan, and turn the cake out onto the rack. Cover the top and sides with plastic wrap, and let the cake cool on the rack until it is no longer warm to the touch. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap until ready to decorate.****
Make the chocolate-covered strawberries (recipe here) and plan how you will place them on the cake before making the ganache glaze. The recipe makes more strawberries than you will need for the cake, but this is intentional; you will likely have some that turn out better than others. Extras can always be used for additional garnish when serving.
White Chocolate Ganache
Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl.
In a separate, microwave-safe container, microwave the heavy cream for 20-30 seconds, just until it starts to boil. Pour the cream over the white chocolate, making sure that most of the white chocolate is covered. Let sit for 5 minutes. Then, stir in a gentle, circular motion until the white chocolate has melted completely and the mixture is smooth. If needed, microwave for another 10 seconds at a time, stirring gently between intervals, until smooth. If a few small bits of chocolate aren't melting or you happen to get air bubbles in the ganache, strain it through a sieve before continuing. The ganache should be very thick, so that it falls in a slow stream from the bowl. If needed, chill it in the fridge briefly, about 5-10 minutes, and then stir again until smooth.*****
Drizzle the ganache over the bundt cake, pouring over the top and letting it pool slowly down the sides. Arrange the strawberries on top, and let the ganache set.
Serve cake the day it is assembled. Any leftovers should be covered tightly in plastic wrap and kept in the refrigerator. Be sure to put plastic wrap over cut edges as well to keep the cake moist.
*For best results, I would suggest using strawberries that are not overly ripe (soft or mushy) in this recipe.
**I used lowfat yogurt; feel free to use regular or nonfat instead.
***Use a good-quality white chocolate for this recipe. I've found that white chocolate is really temperamental to melt, and the higher quality your chocolate is, the more likely it is that it will melt smoothly. If you can buy white chocolate made specifically for melting, that's probably even better!
**** This cake can be made the day before and decorated the day you plan to serve it. Keep the cake wrapped tightly in plastic wrap at room temperature until decorated.
*****If you aren't sure whether your ganache is at the perfect consistency for drizzling on the cake, just test it by pouring a little bit on and seeing how it settles. If you chill the ganache and end up getting it a little too thick, microwave it for 5-10 seconds, just until it's reached the right consistency.