I have a thing for Asian candy. We didn’t have a designated Indian grocery store where I grew up. It was all kind of lumped into one “ethnic/all things from the east” store, so when my mom went to buy ghee and mango pickle, I tagged along and got Pocky, Yan Yan, and these little koala cookies. I think my inner 6-year-old would have gone nuts for little chocolate mushrooms, though. I saw them recently at Daiso, a Japanese version of a dollar(ish) store that opened up near my house. I love browsing all of the miniature knick knacks and aisles of Japanese candy, so when I saw these little mushrooms, I knew I wanted to use them on a cake (except the first time I bought a package I ate the entire thing on the way home and was too embarrassed to go back and get more).
So on my second shopping attempt I bought an extra package for the inevitable snack attack, and this Strawberry Chocoroom Cake was born. It’s just in time for Valentine’s Day, because nothing says I love you like candy mushrooms.
The cake itself is my go to chocolate cake, which just so happens to be vegan. It’s almost exactly the same as what I used for my Marshmallow Madness Cake, but I used water rather than non-dairy milk. I’ve seen several recipes that do this, and I wanted to see how they compared. I’ve only tested it once so I can’t say for sure if it was because of the water, but this cake was super light and fluffy. I had to chill it for several hours before frosting because it was difficult to work with, but I did like the texture.
Since fresh strawberries are out of season, I got a package of freeze dried strawberries from Trader Joe’s, ground them down into a powder, and then mixed them into the frosting. I liked the end result but it was missing some depth, so I mixed in a teaspoon of red wine vinegar. I do this often to balance out the sweetness of fruit crisps, and I was happy that it worked so well in the frosting.
If you can’t find Chocorooms, this cake would be equally adorable covered in meringue mushrooms. If mushrooms are too weird for you, perhaps candy hearts would be a fun substitute.
Not a fan of tall cakes? You can also bake this cake in 2 6-inch cake pans.