Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

My first attempt at making this cake was a fail. I settled on using a box cake mix as my starting point and doctoring it with additional ingredients besides the ones called for on the box. I must have added in a few too many ingredients because the cake had a weird texture – kind of rubbery – and the bottom of it had a dense appearance. And the flavor just wasn’t there. Thankfully on my second attempt the flavor and texture were spot on.

On my second attempt I kept things a bit simpler. Along with the eggs and oil measurements suggested on the box, I swapped the water for coffee and added in sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Adding the coffee helped to really enhance the chocolate flavor, as did the Kahlua. While box cake directions say to mix everything together at once, I opted to beat together all my ingredients except for the cake mix until they were well incorporated and then sifted the cake mix over the mixture and beat it in on low speed until it was just combined. More or less following the method of most cakes that are made completely from scratch.  

Once my cake layers were baked and cooled, I wrapped them in plastic wrap and refrigerated them overnight. I find that it’s easier to level and frost cold cake layers. The cakes are less likely to break apart and there’s much less crumb.

The next day I made the frosting. Contrary to my recipe directions below, I added all the ingredients for the frosting into my stand mixer at once. Either works. If you follow method, I suggest beating everything together on medium speed until the ingredients are incorporated and then raise the speed of your mixer to medium-high for at least 5 minutes to get the frosting light and fluffy. Don’t fret if the frosting appears to be curdled or separated. Just keep beating it, it will come together. I probably beat mine for just shy of 10 minutes. I made this frosting on a fairly warm day so it was a bit soft once it was done so I popped it in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so it could firm up. I checked it every 10 minutes to make sure that it wasn’t getting too firm. I didn’t want to have to wait for my frosting to “defrost” after all that.

Once it was ready, I transferred about a cup of the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip and set it aside. After leveling the cakes, I spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of them and then placed the other one on top. And finally, I frosted the entire cake with the remaining frosting. My plan was to make this a naked cake so I was well aware that I wouldn’t have enough frosting to completely cover it.  

Once the cake was frosted, I piped dollops of frosting around the cake leaving space between each to fit a strawberry. I opted to slice my strawberries in half, but you could place whole strawberries between the dollops as well. Just make sure to leave enough room. You could also omit the strawberries altogether and just decorate the top of the cake with dollops of frosting.

And then it was time to enjoy a slice. This cake was delicious! The frosting reminded me of strawberry ice cream. Not overly sweet with just the right amount of strawberry flavor thanks to the fresh strawberries added to the frosting. And it was the perfect accompaniment to the chocolate cake.  

Chocolate Kahlua Cake with Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cake:

3 large eggs

1 cup coffee

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup Kahlua

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 15.25 package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food)

For the Frosting:

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

3 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup diced strawberries

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

Additional strawberries for topping

Directions:

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round pans with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine the eggs, coffee, vegetable oil, sour cream, Kahlua and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Sift the cake mix over the mixture and then beat with the hand mixer on low speed until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.

Cool the cakes in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely on the racks.

For the Frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract, diced strawberries and heavy whipping cream and beat on medium-high speed until the ingredients are incorporated and the frosting is light and fluffy. If the frosting is too soft to spread refrigerate for about 30 minutes to firm up.

To assemble the cake: If decorating the top of the cake, fit a piping bag with a large star tip and fill with about a cup of frosting and set aside. Level the cake layers if necessary. Spread about half of the remaining frosting on top of one of the cakes and top with the other. Then frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Finally, pipe dollops of the reserved frosting on top of the cake leaving space between each to place either a whole or halved strawberry. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula

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