Friday, April 11, 2008

Strawberry Cream Cake.

Strawberry Cream Cake

Strawberry Cream Cake

Yesterday, we had a small reception at work for a recently married staff member. At the request of some co-workers, I baked two cakes: a strawberry cream cake and a chocolate cake with espresso caramel frosting.

I had a little trouble choosing recipes. I wanted the finished cakes to be fancier than average, but I didn't want them to be technically difficult or extremely time consuming. I knew I wanted to use strawberries; they've been on sale for weeks, and they're always popular and visually appealing.

Usually i'm against trying new recipes for parties, but I make exceptions for things in Cook's Illustrated. I've had this recipe mentally bookmarked since 2006. It's a simple cake filled with strawberries and a whipped cream/cream cheese mixture. The cake was good: light and spongy with enough structure to slice and move easily.

I built my cake inside of a setting ring to keep everything neat. I slightly over-whipped my filling, which made it difficult to spread over the chopped strawberries. It was much easier to pipe the filling and smooth it with a spatula. I garnished the cake with some melted white chocolate. I've posted a few more notes at the end of the recipe.

This cake was long gone before the chocolate one. It reminds me of my favorite trifle recipe, and I'll probably find an excuse to make it again soon.

Strawberry Cream Cake
from Cook's Illustrated

Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling
2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
4–6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Kirsch
Pinch table salt

Whipped Cream
8 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

2. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

3. FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

4. FOR THE WHIPPED CREAM: When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).

5. TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE: Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge). Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

(Notes: don't underwhip or overfold the egg whites, or your cake may end up flat and dense. The cake is easiest to slice when it's well chilled, and thicker slices will hold together better. Next time I might add a little gelatin to the whipped cream mix. I substituted rum for kirsh, and next time I might throw in a little almond extract. The sponge cake can be wrapped and frozen-just let it defrost on a counter for 2 hours, unwrapped, before using.)

46 comments:

abe said...

!!!

that is gorgeous.

Annina said...

hun... u did a greaaaat job :D congratulations!

Aran said...

Looks delicious. I bet you impressed your co-workers with this one. nicely built... those cake rings really work don't they?

Christina said...

Beautiful, absolutely stunning!

chelley325 said...

Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful cake. It looks so elegant. Great for the occasion!

Vicky (victoria sponge) said...

WOW! What a stunning cake. Well done!

Claire said...

Wow, that is a very beautiful cake :)

Lori said...

Yum. You have inspired me. That cake needs to be on my table next week! It looks incredibly inviting!

Rhyleysgranny said...

That is some cake. Simply beautiful. So much work went into the creation. A masterpiece.

Lucy said...

Absolutely stunning!! Very impressive ;-)

Sarah said...

You need to teach others how to make cakes that are this beautiful! And I bet it tasted as good as it looked...great job!

Patricia Scarpin said...

One of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. I'll be trying it for my sister's birthday, when I find strawberries here.

Weeva said...

Absolutely gorgeous, I bet it tasted wonderful too!

tara said...

A beautiful rendition of a timeless cake. Well done!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Gorgeous and elegant. Lovely job!

Hillary said...

Holy cow - that is the prettiest cake I have seen in awhile! Did you decorate that yourself? MY goodness you need to teach me a thing or two!

Robin Sue said...

A beautiful cake, and strawberries are my favorite!

Jerry said...

Impressive and Gorgeous!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Absolutely stunning cake! I'm drooling here! What lucky co-workers!

Rachel@fairycakeheaven said...

One word - WOW!!!

cookworm said...

really pretty!

kristina said...

That is just fantastic looking. You have unbelievable patience!

Jessica said...

Wow, sorry for just repeating what everyone has already said but it is gorgeous, stunning, beautiful, all that!!

Cindy. Lo. said...

It's so pretty,
You're really a master pastry chef!

Robyn said...

Another admirer of your cake here! It's spectacular! :)

Ginny said...

Gorgeous! that is definitely the perfect adjective for this cake! Looks amazing- wish I had your skills! :)

Jo. said...

Your cake looks amazing and soooooo delicious. Great, great and great!!!

Tartelette said...

You can't go wrong with strawberries and cream! Very well done! One of my favorites to eat and make, I bet everybody loved it!

Mimi said...

what a beautiful cake lisa!
you have so much talent when it comes to baking cakes, such pretty creations. :)

roxy =^o^= said...

This looks lovely! Yum!

I saw this recipe and thought of you :)

Coconut Macaroon Pancakes

Veron said...

I saw this cake at tastepotting and I just had to follow the link. looks so yummy and gorgeous!

Ehrrin said...

Wowza. That's one of the prettiest cakes I've ever seen! I love strawberry cakes, and that looks as good as they come.

And, the photography--as always--is perfect.

Undercover Cook said...

That's one fancy-schmancy cake. You must be a very patient person.

Anonymous said...

can you explain to me further how you managed to adhere the strawberries on the side of the cake. I have looked at this and read the recipe for two days and think I'm missing something.

Lisa Campbell said...

"arrange a ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer"

The strawberries aren't adhered to the cake, they are just positioned flush with the outer edge of the cake layers.

Chocoholic said...

This looks so good. I can't wait until the local strawberry farm has strawberries to try this!

Natasha said...

Beautifull cake. Where did you get the ring to built the cake?

Lisa Campbell said...

Hi Natasha-

It was a gift- it's made by a company called Kaiser, and it's an adjustable ring. A 9 inch springform pan ring would also work fine.

Anonymous said...

I was looking to make something similar, this really helped me, thanks!

Anonymous said...

you are so right about strawberries been visually appealing, it is a very elegant an simple cake. nicely done

natan said...

im going to try and make this for my girlfirends birthday, eeek. so exciting, i hope i can balance this with my art work :(
start off by printing off recipe ^_^

veggeblog said...

I've made this cake a few times and it's delicious. Works every time (and I'm terrible when it comes to baking). Definitely worth a try!

kathleen said...

Am in progress with this today. I goofed initially with adding 3 whole eggs and 2 whites to batter, but adjusted with adding about a 1/4 cup of flour and then the additional egg white. So far the cake part is perfect, I have the strawberry filling ready too. Can I make it and have it in fridge for 3 hours before serving? Also the directions didn't say to leave stems on strawberries for top of cake, I got going and realized it after I looked at picture again.

Pittsburgh Needs Eated said...

Hi Kathleen:

I held my cake in the fridge for several hours, so yours should be fine. Leaving the stems on the strawberries was my personal aesthetic preference. Feel free to decorate however you wish!

ShellyKate said...

Absolutely beautiful cake! Cannot wait to try my own variation! It sounds delicious!

Francine said...

I made this cake for my daughter's birthday. Turned out perfect, and was not hard to do.