Monday, July 11, 2011

Strawberry cake

First, I want to apologize to Liz's sister, who has been asking for this recipe for a while. My crazy travels to Indonesia, Russia, and Kazakhstan have kept me busy and away from my kitchen. A post about the food cultures in these countries is coming up soon. And now, let’s get to the cake business.

About a year ago, I discovered a 7-minute frosting that can be described as a heavy cream marshmallow sugar cloud goodness :). This frosting has a light taste, but a firm body, which makes it perfect for the strawberry cake featured in the May edition of the Saveur magazine.

The original cake recipe calls for 16 Tbsp of butter, 8 oz. of cream cheese, 1 cup of canola oil, and ... a pack of cholesterol medicine. Despite that, the Saveur recipe became the inspiration for a flavorful, yet light cake with strawberries covered in the clouds of frosting.

3 cups of cake flour, plus 2 tbsp for the pans
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup of whole milk
1/2 cup of purred strawberries pressed through a chinois
2 tbsp of beet food coloring from 1 graded and squeezed beet (you can use conventional food coloring if you insist)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs

Pre-heat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour two 9″ round cake pans.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt.
Whisk together milk, strawberry pure, and 2 tbs. of food coloring.
Beat sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs on the medium-high speed until pale and smooth, 2–3 minutes.
In 3 additions add dry and wet ingredients to the sugar mixture beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Divide the batter between the two pans and smooth the tops.
Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
Cool the cakes for15 minutes, unmold, then cool for another 15 minutes until the cakes are at the room temperature.

5 tbsp of the room temperature water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup of sugar
2 large egg whites at the room temperature
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean

Whisk all ingredients except the vanilla, in a large glass bowl.
Fill a wide skilled with water (1 inch) and bring the water to simmer.
Set the bowl in the skillet making sure that the water level is at least as high as the depth of the egg whites.
Beat the mixture on the low speed until it reaches 140F. Don't stop beating when the bowl is in the skillet. You can take the bowl out of the skilled to check the temperature.
Once the frosting reaches 140F, switch the mixer to high and beat the frosting for another five minutes.
Remove the bowl from the skillet and add the vanilla. Beat the frosting on high for two more minutes until it becomes room temperature.
Refridgerate for at least 15 minutes before using.

1/2 cup of hulled strawberries cut vertically into 3 pieces

Flip one cake upside down and spread 1/3 cup of the frosting on top. Arrange the strawberries in one layer and top with ¼ cup of the frosting.
Place the second layer of the cake, top side up. Frost the top and the sides with 1/2 cup of the frosting. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Cover the cake with the rest of the frosting and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

Serve at the room temperature.

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