Monday, July 27, 2009

Strawberry Cake with Fresh Berries

For my daughter, Valerie's, birthday in June, I made her this strawberry cake. It was a combination of two recipes. Here's what I did, thanks to Cooks Illustrated and Country Living (the two recipes I combined).

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup strawberry preserves
4 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cups buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans
  • Sift cake flour, baking powder, salt and soda together
  • Cream the butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add 3/4 cup preserves and the eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition
  • Beat in vanilla
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk and ending with flour
  • Divide the batter equally between the two pans
  • Bake in the middle of the oven - 20 - 30 minutes.

Assemble the cake:

You'll need
2 pounds strawberries
4 - 6 T sugar
2 T Kirsch
pinch of salt.

From Cooks Illustrated:
  • Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve.
  • Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar and let sit 1 hour
  • 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.
Place the strawberries point in in a circle around the edge of the bottom layer of the cake. Put the cooled berry mixture you've just made in the center of the circle. (See picture above).

Whip 2 cups of heavy cream with sugar to taste.

Spread the whipped cream over the strawberries and the strawberry sauce.
Top with the second layer.

Spread more whipped cream over the top of the cake and decorate with strawberries.

Dylan, Valerie's nephew, actually blew out the candles before she had a chance to, so we lit them again and gave her her wish! The cake and strawberries were delicious and who would not like a cake frosted with whipped cream!

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