Strawberries and cream cake
My head has been filled with visions of cakes lately. Vanilla cake, chocolate cake, lemon cake, oye. There is not much opportunity to bake cakes these days because I cook for two most of the time but on the weekend we had friends visiting so the opportunity arose.
I baked a vanilla cake and instead of serving a slice of cake with a pile of berries and a large dollop of whipped cream I thought I’d cut it into layers, spread with cream and top with berries. I should have taken my time to arrange the berries in a more symmetrical fashion but I was in a hurry so I just piled them on top. Also, I used jam berries that were red right through and soft, more suitable for a cake-filling or jam-making and not as easy to decorate with. A symmetrical design of sliced berries on top of the cake would be attractive.
This vanilla cake is a basic recipe that you make with whole eggs so there is no whipping and folding of egg whites that requires some technique. This is a “beginner” cake in many respects and sort of a never fail one. Anyone cares to challenge me on that?
1.5 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd (you can buy it)
4 cups fresh strawberries
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and mix for 5 minutes until the batter is very light.
With the mixer running add the eggs one at a time and let them incorporate well into the batter before adding the next one. Stop the machine and scrape the sides once or twice in the process.
Add the vanilla and mix it in.
Sift the flour and baking soda together (pass through a fine mesh sieve).
Lower the speed of the mixer to low and begin adding the flour to the batter alternating with the buttermilk and finishing with the flour. Stop to scrape the sides down one or twice through the blending.
Butter an 8″ cake pan with removable bottom (you will need about 2″ high sides) and line the boom with a round of parchment.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes or until done. I carefully touch the top of the cake and if it’s firm then it’s ready. You can insert a skewer into the cake to see if it comes out clean with wet batter, but the touch test works for me.
Remove from the oven and let the cake cool in the pan.
To make the filling:
Whip the cream and sugar and soft peaks form, then add the lemon curd and finish whipping the cream but be careful not to over whip.
Slice the cake into three layers.
Spread about a third of the whipped lemon cream on the bottom layer and pile with sliced berries.
Repeat with remaining layers.
This is a casual cake so I left the sides as they are but you could spread whipping cream on the sides and smooth it as well. I like the berries and cream showing.
Refrigerate covered until serving.