I mentioned before that I made my boyfriend two cakes for his birthday - one was chocolate mousse layer cake and the other was this strawberry cream cake. I was convinced that I'd like the chocolate mousse cake better because I don't usually like baking with fruit (waste of fruit! I like eating it fresh) and I also don't like the sourness and mush that fruit can add to baked goods. BUT, this cake was outstanding. I must make it at least once a year, maybe more. It is absolutely worth sacrificing some delicious strawberries for.
The cake that's used is like a sponge cake, that is then layered with a strawberry sugar filling in the middle and halved strawberries around the edge, then on top of that goes the most amazing whipped cream concoction in existence - and the layers continue like so. The whipped cream is mixed with cream cheese, which is really brilliant. If you haven't tried this before you must, whether it's with this cake or another or just on top of something else or just in a bowl even. And on top of that, the cake is pretty easy to make.
If this sounds good, you might also like:
Raspberry and White Chocolate Pie
Creamy Coconut Cake
Perfect Party Cake
Strawberry Cream Cake
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated May/June 2006 (found on Simply Recipes)
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tbsp water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, about 2 quarts), washed, dried, and stemmed
4-6 tbsp sugar
Pinch table salt
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream
Bake the cake:
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a round 9x2 inch cake pan or and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tbsp of the sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
2. Using a 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 the remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
3. Cut in half 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Slice or 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. The sugar will macerate the strawberries, making them soft, and generating liquid. Strain the juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). Put the strawberries in a bowl and mash them; set aside.
In small pot over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices 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. 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).
Assemble the cake:
5. Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 12-20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of puréed 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 12-20 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 immediately, or keep chilled. If the whipped cream warms to room temperature it will be harder to keep stable while cutting. Serves 8 to 10.