Here’s a beautiful and delicious layer cake just in time for spring! This chocolate cake is layered with a light strawberry mousse filling and frosted with an easy whipped cream cheese frosting recipe. I love this cake because it is surprisingly easy to make. If you’re looking for a lovely layer cake that you can make ahead for a birthday party or Easter brunch, this cake is for you! The powdered sugar, cornstarch, and cream cheese in the whipped cream cheese frosting help the whipped cream retain its shape (this cake was still in great shape after five days in the fridge). Plus, the strawberry mousse filling keeps the cake nice and springy in the fridge. You can use any type of cake you like in this recipe. I baked a chocolate cake because…well…you can never have too much chocolate. A yellow cake, white cake, or even a lemon cake would work beautifully with the strawberry mousse and whipped cream cheese frosting. Enjoy!
If you want a fun and easy way to decorate your cake, here’s a quick tutorial on how to create chocolate letters.
- Chocolate Cake, two layers baked in 9-inch cake pans*
- 2 cups heavy cream, divided
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1-lb pack of fresh strawberries, washed and dried with stems removed
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 envelope plain gelatin (I use Knox Gelatine)
- 1/3 cup cold water
- *Note: A yellow cake, white cake, or lemon cake would also taste great in this recipe. Here’s a little trick I use whenever I bake a boxed cake mix: I substitute 1/3 of the water with sour cream. For example the cake mix I used called for 1 cup of water, so I used 2/3 cup water and 1/3 cup sour cream. I have found this creates a lighter, more tender texture.
- Whisk together 1/4 cup heavy cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and 1 Tablespoon cornstarch in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, bring the cream to a boil. As soon as you see bubbles, remove the pan from the stove. Continue whisking for about a minute (to make sure there are no lumps) and then let the cream cool to room temperature (it helps to transfer it to a bowl).
- For this step, chill the bowl and beaters in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you begin whipping the cream. In the chilled bowl of a stand mixer, whip 1½ cups heavy cream at high speed until the cream begins to adhere to the sides of the bowl and you can see imprints left behind by the beaters. Add the cooled mixture of heavy cream, powdered sugar, and cornstarch to the whipped cream in the bowl of the stand mixer. Continue to whip the cream at high speed until the whipped cream holds its shape and appears cloud-like and billowy. Don’t over-whip the cream because it can separate into butter and whey. Spoon the whipped cream into a medium bowl.
- Using the same bowl and beaters (there’s no need to wash them), beat the cream cheese with the remaining ¼ cup heavy cream and ¼ cup granulated sugar at medium speed. Once this mixture obtains an airy texture that holds its shape, fold in the whipped cream that you had set aside. Refrigerate this whipped cream cheese frosting.
- Sprinkle one packet of gelatin onto 1/3 cup cold water. Let it sit for five minutes. Heat the gelatin and water in a double boiler over boiling water. Once the gelatin melts, remove it from the heat immediately.
- Set aside 3 or 4 strawberries (to use for decorating the cake). Place the rest of the strawberries in a food processor and pulse with ¾ cup granulated sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon (if using). When the strawberries have reached the consistency of applesauce, strain out the seeds (this is optional). Then, stir the strawberries into the melted gelatin. Place this in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes, and then fold in half of the whipped cream cheese frosting that you just made.
- Take the cooled cake layers. Cut each layer in half, so you have four thin layers of cake. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spoon 1/3 of the strawberry mousse onto this layer. Spread the mousse evenly onto the cake, but leave about 1/3 of an inch margin between the mousse and the cake edges. Repeat this with the remaining cake layers and mousse. Place the fourth cake layer on top, and then frost with the whipped cream cheese frosting. Now you get to decorate the cake! You can simply garnish with the reserved strawberries or add chocolate letters. Another fun idea is to press almond slivers, coconut flakes, or rainbow sprinkles onto the sides of the frosted cake. Be creative and have fun! Keep the cake in the fridge until you are ready to serve it up.