Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Strawberry Scrumptiousness

We made dinner for some friends this weekend. Decided upon a "Thanksgiving" feast since we were giving thanks for the birth of their #2 kid and everyone is happy and healthy. BUT dessert was a venture into the unknown. I had seen this recipe from Deb (smitten kitchen) and thought it looked yummy; what a perfect cake to celebrate a new little girl baby!

It is easy and oh-so-very-amazing. I added a few things to make it even more terribly good (or fatteningly bad). I opted for the simple 2-layer version (2/3rds the recipe) and it was fine. I also put pureed strawberries in the middle layer instead of icing, but you could also do icing like Deb OR MIX the strawberries in with the icing! Now THAT would be divinity.

the recipe:
For the cake--
4 1/2 cups cake flour (Amanda note: if you don't have any don't can sub 1.75 cups APF + 1/4 c. cornstarch to make 2 cups of cake flour)
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries*--use whole frozen berries, slightly thawed and pureed to make 1.5 c (about 1/2 lb)
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
1 to 2 drops red food dye, if using (to make the pink color pop more)

For the cream cheese frosting--
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 small carton of heavy whipping cream (Amanda's addition)

Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350»F. Butter three 9-inch round or 8-inch square cake pans. Line with parchment and butter the paper.
2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point. (Deb note: I must warn you not to try the batter at this point. Not even a smear of it. How unbearably good it is will shock you, and lead to more dipping. Only you can stop this from coming to pass.)
3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the atter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorperate after each addition. Divide the batter among the three prepared pans.
4. Bake the cakes for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour. (Amanda's note: I like to wrap them loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, it makes them easier to ice)

Make the cream cheese frosting
5. In a small bowl whip heavy cream using beater until it's whipped and stiff

6. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners’ sugar. Gently, gradually fold in the whipping cream--fold in just until blended. Store in the refrigerator after use.

Frost and assemble the cake
7. Place one cake layer on a cake board or platter. Tucking scraps of waxed paper under the edges of the cake will protect the board or plate from any mess created while frosting the cake. Spread about 2/3 cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of cake with remaining frosting, reserving a small amount if you wish to tint it and pipe a decoration on the cake. If not, you can decorate the cake top with thinly-sliced strawberries. Remove the waxed strips to reveal and neat, clean cake board.


Amber said...

Oh, I'm so glad you posted this. That cake was so, so, so good - the whole dinner was absolutely excellent.

Sarah said...

I'm going to try my hand at this for our Mother's Day cake...last year Paul bought my a strawberry cake and it was good...but I think I can do better! I'll let you know how it turns out. :-)