I love summer. Despite the heat and the humidity, it’s my favorite season of the year. Sure, my running slows down (not that I’m blazing fast to begin with), and my mornings start early, but no season is perfect. Summer is fresh vegetables, farmer’s markets, and grilling out with friends. Summer is also BUSY, but busy in a fun road-tripping-on-the-weekends-for-big-occasions kind of way. Last weekend, my parents and I traveled to Charlottesville, VA to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday.
This past week, Joe and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, and this weekend, Joe has his graduation from residency. One of his classmates, sensing the impending scattering of the people they have worked with closely for the last four years hosted a cook-out this past weekend. I’m sure there will be plenty more “bring a side or dessert” kinds of gatherings this summer, and this cake is a great one to bring. Light and sweet with fruit, you don’t even have to turn on the oven. I’m not one for overly sweet desserts, and having forgotten to add the confectioners’ sugar, I didn’t even miss it. It was so easy, even Joe assisted with slicing strawberries and requested to add the chocolate ganache drizzle.
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed
3 1/4 cups whipping cream, divided
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
21 graham crackers
2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
Take out a few of the best-looking strawberries and set them aside for the garnish. Hull the remainder of the strawberries and slice each berry into thin slices.
With a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip 3 cups of cream until it just holds stiff peaks. Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla, and whip to combine.
Spread a small spoonful of whipped cream on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking pan, or a similarly-sized platter. Lay down seven graham crackers. Lightly cover the top of the graham crackers with more whipped cream, and then a single layer of strawberries. Repeat until you have three layers of graham crackers. Spread the last of the whipped cream over the top and swirl it lightly with a spoon. Add a few more strawberries.
To make the ganache, heat the cream until bubbles form around the edges, then pour over the chopped chocolate. Let it stand for a few minutes, then whisk until the mixture is thick and glossy. Drizzle this over the layered dessert with a spoon, or transfer to a squeeze bottle and use that to drizzle.
Refrigerate for at least four hours, or until the crackers have softened completely. Garnish with additional berries.