Cakes Uncategorized

Strawberry Cream Cake

Have I mentioned how much I love strawberry season? Fresh local strawberries and fresh tomatoes from the garden are probably my two favourite things that I look forward to each summer. Here is one last (maybe) recipe that makes the most of fresh strawberries: Strawberry cream cake. Think of it as strawberry shortcake on overload!

This recipe comes from my America’s Test Kitchen cookbook. I had passed it by over the years and had never tried it until yesterday. Honestly, I don’t know why I hadn’t tried it before. The colour scheme of red and white is perfect for Canada Day, which we just celebrated this July 1st. When I served it at dinner last night, the first words from my husbands mouth after tasting it were “Wow…. Ummm…this is so good!” He’s been doing a bunch of renovations around the house, so maybe he was just very hungry, but I thought it tasted pretty good too!

The cake is firm chiffon cake instead of the typical sponge cake and it stands up well to the filling of macerated strawberries and whipped cream. The cream is made more firm (and flavourful) with the addition of cream cheese so it holds up well under the weight of the layers. The berries used are a mix of halved raw strawberries and macerated crushed strawberries that form the inner filling. The juice from the macerated strawberries is reduced down to a syrup with some kirsch (I used curacao because I didn’t have any kirsch) and stirred back into the berries.

The recipe calls for either a round cake pan with 2-inch sides or a spring form pan. If you use a spring form pan, as I did, you need to put parchment paper over the bottom before you lock on the side to make a seal, so that the batter doesn’t leak out. The recipe doesn’t say to chill the cream filling before putting it on the cake or before serving it but I think I would do that next time. I found it much firmer and easier to cut the cake today after it had chilled in the fridge overnight. When it hadn’t been chilled, the filling oozed a bit and the layers slid around.

[recipe title=”Strawberry Cream Cake” servings=”8-10″ cooktime=”3 hours including cooling time” difficulty=”moderate” description=”This cake is the perfect combination of fresh strawberries, cake and cream. Leave some time for the cake to chill before serving it so that it is easier to cut.”]
[recipe-ingredients]

For the Cake
– 1 1/4 cups (5 oz) cake flour, plus extra for the pan
– 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 cup granulated sugar
– 5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated)
– 6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
– 2 tbsp water
– 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Strawberry Filling
– 2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried and – stemmed
– 4-6 tbsp sugar
– 2 tbsp kirsch, grand marnier or curacao
– pinch table salt

For the Whipped Cream
– 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
– 1/2 cup granulated sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/8 tsp table salt
– 2 cups heavy cream

[/recipe-ingredients][recipe-directions]

For the Cake
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 9-inch wide by 2-inch high round cake pan or a 9-inch spring form pan that is lined with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp of the sugar in a large mixing bowl.
3. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks, the butter, water and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
4. In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 – 2 minutes.
5. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 3 tbsp sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, 6-90 seconds.
6. Stir one third of the whites into the batter to lighten, then add the remaining whites and fold gently with a rubber spatula until no white streaks remain.
7. Transfer the batter to your prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.
8. Bake 30-40 minutes, rotating halfway through, until inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
9. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and invert again to that the top of cake is up. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

For the Strawberry Filling
1. Halve 24 of the best looking berries and reserve.
2. Quarter the remaining berries and toss with 4-6 tbsp of sugar (depending on how sweet the berries are) in a medium bowl and let sit for 1 hour.
3. Strain the juices from the berries and reserve.
4. In a food processor, give the macerated berries 5 pulses.
5. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the reserved juices and the kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tbsp, 3 – 5 minutes.
6. Pour the reduced syrup over the processed, macerated berries, add the salt and toss to combine. Set aside until cake has cooled.

For the Whipped Cream
1. When the cake has cooled, place the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
2. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.
3. Reduce the speed to low and add the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream. When almost fully combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

To Assemble the Cake
1. Line the edges of a cake platter with parchment paper to keep the platter clean.
2. Use a serrated knife to cut the cake into 3 layers. Toothpicks are great to use as guidelines for even layers.
3. Place the bottom layer on the platter and arrange a ring of 20 strawberries, cut side down and the stem side facing out around the perimeter of the cake layer.
4. Pour 1/2 of the pureed berry mixture in the center, then spread to cover any exposed cake.
5. Gently spread about 1/3 of the whipped cream over the berry layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border from the edge.
6. Place the middle layer on top and press down gently to bring the whipped cream layer to the edge of the cake.
7. Repeat the layering with 20 additional strawberries, the remaining berry puree and 1/2 of the remaining cream.
8. Gently press the top layer on top. Spread remaining cream over the top and decorate with the remaining strawberries. Remove the parchment strips from the platter.
9. I suggest chilling the cake for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving for easier slicing.
[/recipe-directions][/recipe]

Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 325F. Grease and flour a 9-inch wide by 2-inch high round cake pan or a 9-inch spring form pan that is lined with parchment paper.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp of the sugar in a large mixing bowl.

Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks, the butter, water and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.

In the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 – 2 minutes.

With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 3 tbsp sugar. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form, 6-90 seconds.

Stir one third of the whites into the batter to lighten. then add the remaining whites and fold gently with a rubber spatula until no white streaks remain.

Then add the remaining whites and fold gently with a rubber spatula until no white streaks remain.

Transfer the batter to your prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to settle the batter.

Bake 30-40 minutes, rotating halfway through, until inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and invert again to that the top of cake is up. Cool completely, about 2 hours.

Halve 24 of the best looking berries and reserve.

Quarter the remaining berries and toss with 4-6 tbsp of sugar (depending on how sweet the berries are) in a medium bowl and let sit for 1 hour. Strain the juices from the berries and reserve.In a food processor, give the macerated berries 5 pulses.

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the reserved juices and the kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tbsp, 3 – 5 minutes. My syrup is purple because I used Blue Curacao instead of kirsch.

Pour the reduced syrup over the processed, macerated berries, add the salt and toss to combine. Set aside until cake has cooled.

When the cake has cooled, place the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in the clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Reduce the speed to low and add the heavy cream in a slow, steady stream.

When almost fully combined, increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Place the bottom layer on a cake platter and arrange a ring of 20 strawberries, cut side down and the stem side facing out around the perimeter of the cake layer.

Pour 1/2 of the pureed berry mixture in the center, then spread to cover any exposed cake.

Gently spread about 1/3 of the whipped cream over the berry layer, leaving a 1/2-inch border from the edge. Place the middle layer on top and press down gently to bring the whipped cream layer to the edge of the cake. Repeat the layering with 20 additional strawberries, the remaining berry puree and 1/2 of the remaining cream.

Gently press the top layer on top. Spread remaining cream over the top and decorate with the remaining strawberries. Remove the parchment strips from the platter.

I suggest chilling the cake for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving for easier slicing.

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