Thursday, July 7, 2011

Strawberry Cream Cake

This is by far the best dessert out of Blue Ribbon Desserts to date. I made it for a friend's birthday/ladies night. It has a wow factor visually, and an 'oh my!' yum factor when eaten. It barely lasted 24 hours!

STRAWBERRY CREAM CAKE (Cook's Illustrated/Blue Ribbon Desserts)
* 1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
* 5 large eggs at room temperature; 3 separated and 2 whole
* 6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
* 2 tablespoons water
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2 lbs fresh strawberries, medium or large (about 2 quarts); rinsed, dried, and hulled
* 6 tablespoons sugar
* 2 tablespoons of Kirsch (cherry brandy; or do like me and use cognac or rum)
* pinch table salt
* 8 oz cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups heavy cream

1. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a round 9x2-inch cake pan (or 9-inch springform pan) and line with parchment paper.
Whisk cake flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs, and 3 egg yolks, melted butter, water and vanilla 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, about 60 to 90 seconds. Stir one third of egg whites into batter. Gently fold remaining egg whites into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour into prepared pan, and bake 30 to 40 minutes - until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert onto greased wire rack. Peel off parchment paper. Invert cake again and cool completely before assembling, 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. 

Put a sign on the bowl to keep strawberry monsters away! 

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. 
(You can also make the cake ahead of time, wrap in double layer of plastic wrap and freeze. Thaw unwrapped at room temperature for 2 hours when ready to use)



Jen said...

For the record... this was DEVINE!!!!!

Janine White said...

Thanks! :)

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