Thursday, April 6, 2017

Strawberries and Cream Cake



  • 1 1⁄4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature (2 whole and 3 separated)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Strawberry Filling
  • 2 lbs fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed (medium or large, about 2 quarts)
  • 4 -6 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kirsch or 2 tablespoons cherry flavored liqueur
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • Whipped Cream
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1⁄2 cup sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream


How to Make It

FOR THE CAKE:

  • Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Grease and flour round 9 by 2-inch cake pan (pan must be at least 2" high!) or 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper.
  • Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl.
  • Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
  • 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, 60 to 90 seconds.
  • Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment.
  • Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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 1/2 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.
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