Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cake

Strawberry Cream Cake
Recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen


1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. table salt
1 cup sugar
5 lg. eggs (2 whole, 3 separated)
Room Temperature
6 tbsp. unsalted butter,
Melted and cooled, slightly
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Strawberry filling:

2 lbs medium or large strawberries
Washed, drained, and stemmed
4-6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. Kirsch
Pinch table salt

Whipped Cream:

8 ounces cream cheese,
Room Temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. table salt
2 cups heavy cream

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 F. Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan or 9-inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp. of sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

2. In a clean bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tbsp sugar, increase speed to med-high and beat until soft peaks form, 1-1 1/2 minutes. Stir one third of the egg 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 inserted into center of cake comes out clean. 30-40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto creased wire rack;peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again;cool completely, about 2 hours.

3. For the strawberry filling: Halve 24 of the best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4-6 tbsp of sugar (depending on the sweetness of berries) in a medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve, you should have about 1/2 cup. In a work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, give macerated berries five 1 second pulses. You should have about 1 1/2 cups. In a small sauce pan over med-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tbsp. 3-5 mins. 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 the cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at med-high speed until light and fluffy, 1-2 mins. Scraping bowl if necessary. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to med-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.

5. To assemble the cake: Using a large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange a ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed strawberry mixture in center and then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2 inch border from the 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 the whipped cream; gently press last cake layer top. Spread with remaining whipped cream over the top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

Berry, hopeful.

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