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The Perfect Chocolate Cake

1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
2 teasp. baking soda
1/2 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. baking powder
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teasp. vanilla extract

1 pkg. (6 oz.) semisweet chocolate pieces
1/2 cup light cream
1 cup butter
2-1/2 cups unsifted confectioners' sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream (chilled)
1/4 cup unsifted confectioners' sugar
1 teasp. vanilla extracted
1 pint fresh strawberries, cleaned and sliced

In a medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with
wire whisk until smooth. Cool completely. Sift flour with soda,
salt, and baking powder. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease well and
lightly flour three 9 by 1-1/2 inch lager cake pans.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter,
sugar, eggs, and vanilla, scraping bowl occasionally, until light
- about 5 mins. At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths),
alternating with cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending
with flour mixture. Do not overbeat.

Divide evenly into pans, smooth top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or
until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip. Cool
in pans 10 minutes. Carefully loosen sides with spatula, remove
from pans; cool on racks.

In medium saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream, butter; stir
over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. With whisk, blend
in 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar. In bowl set over ice, beat
until it holds shape.

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla; refrigerate.

On plate, place a layer, top side down; spread with half of whipped
cream and half of sliced strawberries. Place second layer, top side
down; spread with the rest of the whipped cream and strawberries.
Place third layer, top side up.

With a spatula, frost sides first, covering whipped cream; use rest
of frosting on top, swirling decoratively. Refrigerate at least 1
hour before serving. To cut, use a thin-edged sharp knife and slice
with a sawing motion. Serves 10 to 12.


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