Monday, February 20, 2012

Berry Cake

One of Matt's most endearing qualities is his tendency to get fixated on things. We've been talking about doing cake tastings for our weddings, with a particular mind to our favorite Whole Food's cake, Berry Chantilly Cream. Then our friend Erin texts us a picture of a white berry cake that she made. And we're fixated. We originally thought we'd make a king cake for Carnivale/Mardi Gras. Then we remembered that king cakes aren't really that tasty. So the berry cream fixation came back up.

We've been working our way through tasty recipes in our new Cook's Illustrated Cookbook (amazing!) And it turns out there is a strawberry cream cake recipe! Score.

In other news, I bought some excellent knobs from Anthropologie on discount. I frequently wander the store looking at the bizarre collection of knobs, knick-knacks, and dishware. So a sale rack was hard to resist. I thought I'd make a rack to hang my numerous necklaces on so that I could use the top of my dresses for something other than a pile of necklaces. And I finally got around to it. I got a foot of baseboard for a buck at Home Depot and sanded it to make it look weathered. You know, cause that's in.

Strawberry Cream Cake
from Cook's Illustrated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temp
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch cream of tartar
  1. Grease a 9-inch cake pan or springform pan, line with a parchment paper cut to fit the bottom and grease the parchment. Reserve 3 Tbsp sugar. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 egg yolks, butter, water, and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy on medium-low. Increase speed to medium-high and whip whites until soft and billowy. Add the reserved 3 Tbsp sugar and whip until soft peaks form (about 1-2 minutes). Stir one third of the whites into the batter, and gently fold in the rest.
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes. Let cake cool 10 minutes, then invert and let cool completely out of pan, about 2 hours.
  • 2 pounds strawberries (or other berries)
  • 4-6 Tbsp sugar (depends on sweetness of berries)
  • 2 Tbsp kirsch
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled.
  1. For the filling, halve 24 of the strawberries for garnish and mix the remainder in a bowl with 4-6 Tbsp sugar. Let sit one hour. Strain juices and reserve. Pulse the berries briefly in blender or food processor. Simmer reserved juices and kirsch over medium-high until reduced to 3 Tbsps (3-5 minutes). Pour reduced syrup over berries, add salt and toss.
  2. For the whipped cream frosting, whip cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Ad heavy cream slowly while mixing and ship on medium-high until stiff peaks form.
  3. To assemble, cut the cake horizontally into three layers.
  4. Place one layer on a plate, place a ring of 20 strawberry halves around the outside (tops out) and fill with half of the filling. Frost is 1/3 of the whipped cream. Repeat with the second layer. After placing the third layer, frost the remaining cream on top and garnish with remaining berry halves.
By the way, the frosting is the best ever.

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