Monday, 26 January 2015

Strawberry cream cake

For a long time, I’ve had a love and hate relationship with strawberries, although it’s getting better lately. My issue with strawberries began when I was a child. My dad came up with the idea of putting in the backyard a few (well, more than a few) of strawberry plants. Strawberry season is short, but some plants can be very productive, I mean it. 
And that bright dark pink, aromatic, nice, small and delicious fruit can eventually develop into a nightmare when you are a ten year old girl and you eat strawberries everyday for several weeks because of the season peak.
I guess at that tender age I began to understand that nothing, absolutely nothing in excess can be good (even this statement).
As a grown up, I have learn to have them again. This time, I had them with cream, but in a cake. The original recipe is Martha Stewart’s, but any Genovese or sponge cake type will do it. Just enjoy this cake that tastes likes springtime.

Strawberry cream cake
Ingredients (for a 20 cm mold)

120 grams unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
350 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
240 grams sugar
3 medium eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
120 ml  whole milk
500 grams strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
3 grams of agar-agar (or 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin if you use it)
350 grams heavy cream (at least 35% fat)


    Preheat oven to 180ÂșCdegrees. Butter bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan. Butter and flour base and sides. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
    Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture in 3 parts and milk in 2, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix just until combined. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, split cake in half horizontally; place bottom half, cut side up, on a serving plate.
    Make topping: In a large bowl, combine strawberries and 60 grams cup sugar; set aside.  Using an electric mixer, beat cream (better if chilled, so put it into freezer 10 minutes befores use) and remaining 60 grams of sugar in a large bowl until very soft peaks form. Continue to beat, and add agar- agar; beat until soft peaks form. Arrange half of strawberries over bottom cake layer; top with half of whipped cream, leaving half centimeter border. Cover with top half of cake, cut side down. Top cake with remaining whipped cream, leaving half a centimeter border. Refrigerate cake and remaining strawberries separately, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day). Just before serving, spoon strawberries over cake.

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