While working on several other things today (particularly, making this behemoth birthday cake for my sister), I had to clean out the fridge and lit upon an idea.
I mean, what else could I do with a pound of strawberries, just this side of turning? I was already making a cake, and figured I could use something to stick in the middle. Something a bit runny, that would kind of melt into the bottom layer of cake. Something that would complement the neat yellow cake and not-too-sweet chocolate icing I was making.
(actually, on the icing: it came out a bit sour, and tart, and not quite what I wanted in an icing that’s supposed to mimic the stuff out of a can except better, and so while I used it straight for the crumb layer, I mixed in a dallop more oil and a bunch of confectioner’s sugar for the top layer, and it tasted awesome).
So I chopped the strawberries, stuck them in a pot, stirred and tasted and added until I had this:
It came out so deliciously, I put some on the cut-off cake bits I had laying around and ate it right away.
created to work with Smitten Kitchen’s Best Birthday Cake
- 1 lb strawberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp unflavored gelatin
Rinse strawberries, and then remove tops and chop (or just mash, you’ll mash them later anyway, but I chopped them because I like making more work for myself) until you’ve got a nice big pile of strawberries.
Put strawberries, water, and sugar in a small saucepan on high heat, stirring frequently, until you reach a steady simmer. Once simmering, lower heat to medium-high and continue to simmer gently, stirring frequently.
Once strawberry mixture has turned into what is best described as “a giant pot of scary liquid that looks like it’ll never reduce,” or if you’re more technical, once a good portion of the strawberries have liquified and the pot appears to be composed of more liquids than solids, add the cocoa powder and gelatin. (Also, do whatever it takes to overcome your fear of this giant pot of liquid).
Continue simmering gently for about a half-hour, until the mixture reduces by half, stirring throughout.
Once mixture has reduced by half, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before applying to cake (or scones or muffins, or just toast- whatever you’ve got around that’ll make a good vessel for fruity chocolate deliciousness).