UPDATE: I made these Strawberry Santa Hats again in 2012! Also check out this newer how-to video/post!
It's that time of year again! Time to make Strawberry Santa Hats! These are the same basic concept as last year's version, but this year I made a chocolate brownie cake instead of a coconut milk cake.
This is actually not too much work, but there is a lot of waiting around for things to cool down.
This is no low-fat dessert. If all the fat scares you, you can always use another chocolate cake recipe and make the chocolate ganache with all oat/almond milk instead of coconut milk.
OK - here we go!
Stage 1 - Bake the cake
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup coconut milk (at room temperature)
1/2 cup milk (I used oat milk, soy or almond would work too)
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1- Preheat the oven at 350 degrees and spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray.
2- In a medium sized mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and chocolate chips.
3- In a measuring jar or small mixing bowl whisk together the coconut milk, milk, oil, and vanilla extract.
4- Pour the liquids on top of the flour mix and gently stir (without overmixing!) until everything is thoroughly combined.
5- Pour the brownie cake batter into the prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Mine took 30 minutes, but the toothpick didn't come out 100% clean because I like mine a little on the fudgy side.
The cake needs to be at room temperature before you spread the chocolate ganache on top. I didn't bother transferring it to a cooling rack, I hardly ever do, so it's OK to leave in the baking dish until it's ready to be frosted.
Stage 2 - Make the ganache
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup milk (I used oat milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1- Place the chocolate chips in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2- In a glass measuring jar or mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and the oat milk. Feel free to replace the oat milk with more coconut milk.
3- Microwave the milk mix for about one minute or just until it starts to boil.
4- Quickly stir in the vanilla.
5- Immediately pour the milk over the chocolate chips and whisk vigorously until the chocolate melts and becomes a smooth cream.
Does yours not look smooth? Nuke it into submission for 15 seconds and whisk it again until it surrenders!
6- Take the ganache to the fridge and let it get nice and firm for about an hour.
After you so patiently waited a whole hour, the ganache should be firm and it should look like this:
Stage 3 - Frost the cake
1- Transfer the cake to a large plate or platter or tray. A rimless cookie sheet would be even more convenient.
2- Whisk the cold ganache until it's smooth and pour it on top of the cake. Use a spatula or flat knife to spread it evenly.
Take the frosted cake to the fridge and let the ganache set for another hour (I know!)
The hour will fly by while you wash and stem the strawberries, and while you make the buttercream frosting. If you are going to cut the cake into nine squares then you will need nine strawberries, if you're cutting into 16 little squares then you will need 12 small strawberries.
Stage 4 - Wash and stem the strawberries and pat them dry with a paper towel, especially the bottoms.
Stage 5 - Make the buttercream frosting
1/4 cup margarine (I used soy-free Earth Balance)
1/4 cup powdered sugar (use more if you like it sweeter)
2 tbsp coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1- In a medium sized bowl, cream the margarine and the powdered sugar for about one minute.
2- Add the coconut milk and vanilla extract and keep mixing for another minute or until soft and fluffy. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to use it. It should look like this:
Sorry! Wrong soft and fluffy! Let's try that again:
Stage 6 - Assemble the Santa hats!
1- Remove the frosted cake from the fridge and cut it into nine squares. If you're making mini squares then go ahead and cut it into 16 squares. A long serrated knife works best for this job. You can trim the sides of the cake first if you want to make all the sides of all the squares be perfectly straight.
2- Transfer the buttercream frosting to a piping bag with a medium sized open-star decorating tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting in the middle of each square. The circumference of the spiral should be a little bigger than the bottom of a strawberry. Just eyeball it.
3- Place the strawberries, bottoms down, in the middle of each spiral and gently press the strawberries down.
4- Using the same decorating bag and tip, pipe the buttercream "pom poms" on top of each strawberry hat.
Transfer the finished squares to a serving plate and keep them refrigerated. This cake is best when eaten at room temperature. I hate cold cake, don't you? They get hard and dry. It's best to take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature about 30 minutes before you plan to eat it. Or even better, I like to eat the strawberry and the cream first, and then microwave the rest for15 seconds so the cake gets fudgy and the frosting gets ooey gooey. That's the best way! Unless you like cold cake. Then have it your way. Weirdo! :P
Next week I'm doing a whole post about how to make catnip cat toys! *meow*