Dark Chocolate Berry Cake

Allergy Friendly + Gluten Free + Vegan

Makes:  1 3-tier 8" cake
Prep Time:  2 hours 30 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time
Cook Time:  30 -35 minutes
Difficulty:  hard

Sweet chocolate and fresh berries, yum! This decadent cake is easy to bake with our step by step guide. You'll be on your way to becoming a chocolatier!

Ingredients

For the Cake

 

4 ½ cups Hungry Harry's Chocolate Cake Mix (1.5 x 17 oz package)

3 eggs, or egg replacers

1 1/2 cups milk of choice

3/4 cup oil of choice (note: if using an oil that's solid at cool temperatures, like coconut oil, melt the oil before beginning this recipe)

1 1/2 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla extract

 

For the Frosting

2 cups non-dairy, allergy-friendly butter

7 cups confectioners sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3 teaspoons instant espresso

1/2 teaspoons salt

For the Decorations

 

1 quart berries (we used strawberries, sliced ¼ inch thick)

6 oz allergy friendly dark chocolate chips

3 or 4 small party balloons

 

How To:

Begin the cake. Preheat your oven to 360°F. Grease three, 8 inch cake pans with your preferred oil. If you only have one cake pan, bake in batches.
Sift the Hungry Harry's Chocolate Cake mix into a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
Divide the cake batter evenly into the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool the cakes completely before decorating (refrigeration helps).
While waiting for the cakes to cool, assemble the remaining components.
Make the frosting. Using an electric mixer, whip cold vegan butter on low speed.
Slowly add the remaining ingredients until incorporated, then turn the mixer to high speed and whip until light and fluffy.
Fill a piping bag with the frosting, or set aside in a bowl at room temperature until you're ready to use. Do not refrigerate or leave in a warm spot, or the frosting may become unusable.
Make the chocolate bowls. Blow up balloons until they are about 5 inches in diameter. Smaller is better.
Using a candy thermometer, melt the chocolate to 80 - 85 degrees F.
Dip the balloons into the melted chocolate to create a bowl sized coating, about 3 inches high. Sit the balloons on parchment paper, refridgerate and allow the chocolate to harden.
Once the chocolate is firmly set, use a toothpick or sharp object to pop and remove each balloon. Set the bowls aside in a cool place until ready to use.
Make the chocolate shards. Pour the remaining melted chocolate onto a clean sheet of parchment paper and smooth with a knife or offset spatula.
Allow the chocolate to cool and harden, then use a knife to break off chocolate shards.
Assemble the cake. Carefully slice off the top "dome" of each cooled cake. You want an even, flat surface. (Reserve these "domes" to snack on, or make cake pops!)
Choose which cake layer will be on the bottom, and place it on a flat plate, cardboard cake round, or stiff surface. This cake will be difficult to move once it's complete, so you want it on something that can easily slide back and forth.
Using your piping bag or an offset spatula, work from the inside out in a spiral pattern to pipe the frosting on top of the first cake layer.
Layer the second cake on top of the icing, then ice the top of this layer in the same way as the first.
Flip the third and final cake layer upside down and set it on top of the other two. This ensures you have a smooth, flat top to your cake. Frost the top of this layer.
Using a large offset spatula, smooth the top of the cake frosting, and then the sides. Pipe more frosting on the sides of the cake as needed, and smooth with the spatula. Cover the entire cake with frosting as evenly as possible until no cake is showing.
Add the chocolate bowls to the top of the cake, then gently fill with fresh fruit. Add the chocolate shards. Your masterpiece is ready to be served!