Saturday, October 23, 2010

Strawberry Cream Cake

A few months ago now Brad bought me a new America's Test Kitchen cookbook that I had been drooling over for months. When I was skimming through the cake section and saw the recipe for this cake I was so excited to try it. I made this cake for our family dinner to celebrate the August birthday's on Brads side of the was the perfect excuse!

This cake was a little tricky in terms of cutting the not so high cakes into three slim layers but the end results were SO worth it...even if it did look a little like the leaning tower of Pisa. The colors were gorgeous and it was quite impressive to look at and boy did it taste good. Best strawberry cake I have ever tasted hands down! Both my little sister in law's Shelbi and Savannah have already requested it for their next birthdays. Enjoy!!

A labor of love well worth the time and effort. I love planning and making special deserts for those I love, infact there are many nights where I am kept awake planning my next meal, treat, dinner party etc.

Please excuse the not so great pics. I was so worried about getting this baby safely to my in-laws that I forgot my camera to take a pic of the sliced cake. You will just have to trust me on this one.

Strawberry Cream Cake
Americas Test Kitchen
Serves 8-10

Cake:1 1/4 cups cake flour plus extra for the pan
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup white sugar
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tbl spoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
2 tbl spoons of water
2 tsps vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling:2 pounds of fresh strawberries- washed dried and stemmed
4-6 tbls spoons of sugar
2 tbls spoons of kirsch ( I omitted this- I still don't even know what it is)
pinch of salt

Whipped Cream:
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp table salt
2 cups heavy cream

1. For the cake: Adjust an oven rake to lower middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 inch wide by 2 inch high round cake pan or a 9 inch spring form pan and line it with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and all but 3 tbls spoons of sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3yolks (reserving the whites), the butter, water and vanilla. Whist until smooth.

2. In the clean bowl of a standard mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and increase the speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form (60 to 90 seconds). Stir one third of the whites into the batter to lighten; add the remaining whites and gently fold into the batter until no white streaks remain. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula. Lightly tap the pan against the countertop two or three times to settle the batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the wire rack and peel of the parchment paper. Invert the cake again and cool completely on the rack for 2 hours.

3. For the Strawberry Filling:
Halve 24 of the best looking berries and reserve. Quarter the remaining berries and toss with 4 to 6 tbls spoons of sugar (depending on the sweetness of the berries)in a medium bowl and let sit for 1 hour stiring occasionally. Strain the juices from the berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup of juice). In a food processor, give the macerated berries 5 pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer the reserved juices and kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tbl spoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour the reduced syrup over the processed macerated berries, add the salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until the cake has cooled.

4. For the whipped cream:
When the cake has cooled, place the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in the clean bowl of a standar mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 o 2 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula 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.

5. To assemble the cake:
Line the edges of a cake platter with stips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean. Use a serated knife to cut the cake into 3 even layers. Place the bottom layer on a platter and arrange a ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stems ends facing out, around the perimeter of the cake layer. Pour one half of the pured berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in the center, then spread to cover any of the exposed cake. Gently spread about one third of the whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over the berry layer, leaving a 1/2 inch border from the edge. Place the middle cake layer on top and press down gently. Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, the remaining berry mixture, and half of the remaning whipped cream; gently press the last cake layer on top. Spread the remaining whipped cream over the top; decorate with the remaining cut strawberries. Remove the parchment paper from the platter and serve.

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