Rich, velvety dark chocolate cake meets luscious strawberry buttercream for a heavenly fusion of flavors. A perfect balance of sophistication and sweetness in every bite.
For cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 2 8-inch cake pans with butter, and line with parchment paper rounds. Dust pans with flour.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
Whisk buttermilk, vegetable oil, eggs and vanilla together in a separate large bowl. Slowly whisk buttermilk mixture into flour mixture until just combined. Add coffee, and mix until combined.4. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cakes cool in pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks and let cool completely.
For buttercream and assembly: Meanwhile, whisk egg whites and sugar together in stand mixer bowl until combined. Bring a medium pot filled with 1-inch of water to a simmer over medium-low heat. Place bowl over simmering water, whisking frequently until reaches 160°F, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat. Transfer bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form, and mixture reaches room temperature, about 17 to 20 minutes.
While the mixer is running, add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until a thick and fluffy buttercream forms. Add freeze-dried strawberries, salt and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in red food coloring, adjusting shade as desired.
Once cakes have cooled, create a flat cake surface by removing a 1/4-inch from the crown of the cake with cake level. Cut cakes in half with cake level. Transfer one cake to a 10-inch cake drum. Place on cake turntable. Using an offset or straight spatula, spread roughly 1/2 to 1 cup of buttercream evenly over the top, right to the edge of the cake. Press roughly 1 cup strawberries into frosting. Place second cake layer on top, pressing gently to adhere. Repeat with remaining third cake layer and strawberries, finishing with the fourth layer of cake.
Using an offset or straight spatula, spread a thin layer of buttercream on the top and sides of cake. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until buttercream is set.
Once buttercream is set, using an offset or straight spatula, spread the buttercream on the top and sides of cake. Smooth sides of cake by holding the spatula upright against the cake, and turning the turntable. Transfer back to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, until buttercream is set.
Meanwhile, place chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour cream over chocolate. Mix until smooth. Transfer chocolate to a plastic squeeze bottle.
Squeeze chocolate mixture around the top edge of the cake to create a drip effect. Pour remaining chocolate mixture on the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula, spread chocolate to the edge of the cake.
Transfer remaining buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a coupler attachment and tip T05. Pipe 12 rosettes at the top edge of the cake. Top each rosette with a whole strawberry.
Slice and serve.