Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling ~ Improv Challenge

This month for Improv Challenge, Kristen gave us strawberries and cream as our two ingredients. I could have gone so many different directions with those two ingredients but I’m so happy with the direction I chose. Brace yourself, I’m about to make a bold statement.

This cake may very well be, the BEST thing I’ve ever made. EVER.

I know, I know … With each post, I talk about the wonders of whatever delectable delight I’ve placed in front of you and they’re all wonderful. Truly. I wouldn’t lie to you. But this, this is different. As I ate it I actually thought to myself, “Kate, this is the best thing you’ve ever made.” I’m actually not much of a cake person. I enjoy a few bites but I rarely eat a whole piece and I’m not a fan of a lot of icing. But this cake is definitely my new favorite dessert. The filling is my favorite part. I love balsamic vinegar and I love using it in desserts. The strawberries simmered with the balsamic vinegar into a sweet syrup and folded into homemade whipped cream is beyond wonderful!

To further confirm the deliciousness of this creation, my mother-in-law sent me a text message after her sampling. It said “BEST CAKE EVER!” Just like that, all caps. Now, don’t get me wrong she will always let me know if she’s enjoyed something I’ve made. She’ll say something casually the next time we see one another or chat on the phone but she made a point to give me an immediate critique this time. My friend Mike scoffed down a gigantic piece at 7 o’clock in the morning just because he couldn’t help himself, uttering “It’s just so good. I can’t stop.” through mouthfuls of chocolatey goodness. Oh and this speaks volumes about the lusciousness of this cake… My husband, who doesn’t like strawberries very much and hates vinegar devoured two large pieces!

So what is it that makes this cake so good? Is it the incredibly moist, deeply chocolate cake? Or perhaps it’s the whipped cream filling with the balsamic strawberry syrup? Or maybe, just maybe it’s the rich chocolate ganache which graces the top and deliciously oozes down the sides? I don’t know exactly which thing is “the” thing, all I know is that when it’s all put together and hitting your palate, it’s a marvelous thing.

What’s your all-time favorite dessert?



Now don’t forget to go see what all the other “improvers” cooked up this month!

One Year Ago: Strawberry Shortcake Pie 

Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling

One recipe Rich & Dark Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 cups strawberries, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped

2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided

12 ounces high quality, bittersweet chocolate

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

– Make the chocolate cake and cool completely.

– Place strawberries, sugar, balsamic vinegar, vanilla bean seeds and pod into a small saucepan. Simmer over low heat until the strawberries break down and the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and set aside to cool completely.

– Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, warm 1 cup of the heavy cream until steam starts rising from it. Pour the warm cream over the chopped chocolate and stir until smooth and shiny. Set aside.

– In a medium bowl, whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream until soft peaks begin to form. Sprinkle in the powdered sugar and continue beating until medium stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the cooled strawberry syrup.

– Place one cake layer on cake stand and spread about half of the strawberry whipped cream over it. Top with second cake layer. Spread desired amount of remaining strawberry whipped cream over the top of the cake.

– Spoon the ganache of the top, gently spread it to the edge of the cake so that some falls down the sides. Top with fresh-cut strawberries. Allow the ganache to set. Keep refrigerated but allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving.

– Enjoy!


About FoodBabbles

I'm just a girl with a passion for good food. Especially the sweet side of life. I love to eat it, make it, read about it... if it has to do with food, it's for me. I'd like to share my food, writing and photos with you. Sometimes they come out great. Other times, well... there are some mishaps but I'll share those with you too. I'm only human! Either way, I enjoy it and hope you will too! So here are sugary, sweet culinary delights from my talented yet dangerously klutzy hands so obviously not bred to work with sharp knives and hot ovens.
This entry was posted in Cake, Improv Challenge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Chocolate Cake with Balsamic Strawberry Whipped Cream Filling ~ Improv Challenge

  1. MommaD says:

    Again I say BEST CAKE EVER !!!!!

  2. Kristen says:

    Who are we to argue with your mother in law? It does look like a fabulous cake. Chocolate goes to well with strawberries.

  3. Kate – this looks INCREDIBLE!!

  4. RecipeNewZ says:

    I just saw your cake on the SRC board. Beautiful! Chocolate and strawberries and whipped cream – what can be better :-). And the pics are gorgeous! Love this recipe!

    I would like to invite you to share this post (and other posts 🙂 ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched only last week. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author’s site.

    It’s called RecipeNewZ (with Z) –

    I hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board 🙂

  5. WOW! Looks totally amazing! Happy Improv Day C:

  6. lisabethjean says:

    Just looks too fabulous to eat! (But who am I to turn down rich dark chocolate, or strawberries, or whipped cream?)

    • FoodBabbles says:

      Thank you! It sounds like you’re my kinda gal 😉 I would never turn down chocolate, strawberries or whipped cream and all three together, I’m powerless!

  7. My sisters are addicted to chocolate, I will pass this recipe on!

  8. WOW! I think anyone who reads this post will be very happy the direction you took with the Improv Challenge this month! I thought of doing a balsamic reduction with the strawberries but this recipe goes way beyond what I could have dreamt up – can’t wait to make this!

  9. Liz says:

    Mmmmmm….this is one of my favorites in the challenge so far! Totally irresistible!

  10. Pingback: Five Favourites for Friday « The Cook's Sister

  11. Amber says:

    Great recipe! Your cake is beautiful and looks delicious! I featured your recipe on my blog today:

  12. First of all, it’s beautiful. Second, it looks and sounds delicious! Can’t wait to try this!

  13. Pingback: Friday Fun! May 18, 2012

  14. This looks positively sinful. Which already means I love it. It’s so pretty too. Great job on this.

  15. This is just stunning! I love everything about it!!

  16. Robyn says:

    This cake sounds and looks luscious! I have seen strawberries and balsamic vinegar together, but not in a cake. It must make for an exceptional flavor. As for chocolate ganache…. Whoever invented it should go directly to heaven for such an incredible invention and for making so many people very happy!

    Thaks for stopping in at my blog!

    • FoodBabbles says:

      Wow Robyn! Thank you so much for your fantastic comment!! I’m so glad you like my cake and I couldn’t agree more about ganache. It makes me so very happy 🙂

  17. OMG! Could lick the screen. The cake recipe is fab, and I love strawberries–and in this case strawberry balsamic vinegar.. with chocolate and cream. Great combination!

  18. Lisa says:

    The minute I saw this cake, then saw it again on some photo sites, I knew I had to come here and wax poetic about how a slice of this cake would probably make me a very happy camper. It is beautiful! Best Cake Ever? I believe it! Your MIL has good taste, Kate! Bookmarked.

  19. Wow, if this tastes even half as good as it looks I’d be happy! This sounds absolutely amazing, Kate…pinned for my next “cake occasion”!

  20. Mimi says:

    Yum! I think that pretty much sums it up.

  21. Oh my goodness, that is gorgeous. That chocolate…oh I need it!

  22. Hi,

    I’ve started My Sweet Party, where I every month host a party with a theme (MAY theme is CHOCOLATE). The party is ongoing the entire duration of the month and then I will choose my top three favourites and feture those blogs. I would LOVE you to join My Sweet Party!

    The last day to link up for May is the 31st of May.


  23. LDSapphire says:

    I’m planning to make this for my mother’s 70th birthday next week. I’ve never used vanilla bean pods before, may I use vanilla extract instead? If so, how much?

    • FoodBabbles says:

      Ooo!! Happy happy birthday to your mother! That’s wonderful. I really hope everyone enjoys this cake. You may certainly substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean. 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract will do the trick! Come back and let me know what you think of the cake. I can’t wait to hear!

      • LDSapphire says:

        Hi! The cake was absolutely delicisous! My family went back for seconds. My mother was very pleased. I’ll be sure to make this again.
        Thank you!!!

      • FoodBabbles says:

        Oh I’m so glad to hear it was a hit!! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for the feedback!

  24. Pingback: Guest Post: Butterscotch Vanilla Bean Ice Cream by Food Babbles | The Spiffy Cookie

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