|For The Cake|
|All-Purpose Flour||1-1/2 cups (180 g)|
|Sugar||1-1/3 cups (275 g)|
|Dark Cocoa Powder||1/2 cup (60 g)|
|Baking Soda||1-1/4 teaspoons (6 g)|
|Baking Powder||1-1/4 teaspoons (6 g)|
|Salt||1 teaspoon (5 g)|
|Buttermilk||140 ml (5 liquid oz)|
|Espresso Or Strong, Hot Brewed Coffee||130 ml (4.5 liquid oz)|
|Vegetable Oil||75 ml|
|Eggs, Room Temperature, Lightly Beaten||2|
|Pure Vanilla Extract||1 tablespoon (15 ml)|
|For The Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream|
|5 Large, Fresh Egg Whites||150 g|
|Sugar||1-1/4 cups (250 g)|
|Butter, Cut Into Cubes And Cool, But Not Cold||1-1/2 cups (3 sticks)(340 g)|
|Pure Vanilla Extract||2 teaspoons (10 ml)|
|Strawberry Puree||1/4 cup (59 ml)|
For the Cake
Preheat oven to 350° F (180°C). Prepare three 6-inch round cake pans with butter, parchment paper rounds, and flour or cocoa powder. Tap out excess.
In bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients.
Add all remaining ingredients to bowl with the dry ingredients and with paddle attachment on mixer, mix for 2 minutes on medium speed.
Bake for 20 minutes and rotate pans in oven. Cakes are done when toothpick or skewer comes out with a few crumbs, about 30 minutes total.
Try not to over-bake.
Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes then gently invert onto racks until completely cool.
For the Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Place a handful of frozen strawberries in a food processor, and process until a smooth puree. Measure approximately 1/4 cup and set aside
Add egg white & sugar,whisking constantly but gently,until temperature reaches 160°F,until the sugar has completely dissolved & the egg white is hot.
With whisk attachment of mixer, begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels neutral to the touch.
Switch over to paddle attachment, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated.
Mix the butter cubes until it has reached a silky smooth texture.
Add vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.
Add strawberry puree to taste or the finely chopped strawberries, and blend until combined. Add small amount of pink food colouring, if desired.
Assembly of the Six-Layer Dark Chocolate & Strawberry Buttercream Cake
Slice the 1st cake layer in half horizontally, using a large serrated knife and place cut side up on your cake board, pedestal, or plate.
Using a small offset palette knife, spread approximately 1/2 cup of buttercream evenly on the top.
Repeat this with remaining cake layers, until you come to the final layer, which you will place face-down on the top of the cake.
Place cake on a turntable, if possible, and using a small offset palette knife for the top of the cake, & medium straight palette knife for the sides.
Cover the cake in a thin layer of buttercream to seal in crumbs. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Repeat the previous step and for best results, use bench scraper held at 90° against the side of the cake. Then, chill the cake.
Bring to room temperature before serving, about 2+ hours. Never serve Swiss Meringue Buttercream until it is soft and room temperature.