Chocolate Cocoa Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries

I’m looking for the perfect homemade chocolate cake recipe.

I keep trying different ones, adding or reducing ingredients here and there, because my son-in-law Greg loves chocolate cake and for the last 15 years or so I have been buying and baking stuff to try to get the dessert right for him. I can tell by the way he moves his eyebrows and forehead what he thinks initially. Then, because he is a writer, he can go into detail about what is good or not good about a particular recipe, which I find not only appealing, but helpful.

So, when it comes to chocolate cake, he is my official tester (in fact, when he and my daughter Meredith were married, it was Greg, not Meredith, who went with me for tastes at Gail Watson Cakes (www.gailwatsoncake.com). (Btw, her cakes are not only gorgeous they actually taste like cake and not some carboard thing put together with plaster of Paris.)

The other day, it was my granddaughter Nina’s 4th birthday party and she asked me to make a chocolate cake with whipped cream and strawberries. Of course I did and here’s the recipe, which got a wonderful review from Greg.

Chocolate Cocoa Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberries

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter

1-1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1-1/3 cups milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1-1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

whole strawberries for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two 9-inch cake pans. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium, beat the butter and sugar together for 3-4 minutes or until creamy and well blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk, and beat until the batter is smooth and well blended. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Stir in the vanilla extract. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto a cake rack to cool completely. Whip the cream until it is thickened. Add the sugar and whip the cream until it is thick. Place one of the cake layers on a cake plate. Spread some of the whipped cream on one of the layers. Add the sliced strawberries. Place the second cake layer on top. Use the remaining whipped cream to frost the cake. Decorate the top with the whole strawberries. Makes one cake, serving about 10 people