what’s not to love about a cake loaded with strawberries and whipped cream? i can’t think of anything. if you are smart and save the juices strained off of the macerated berries and make strawberry-basil martinis, there is even more to love. so why the frown on my face? one word-genoise. they are so finicky and temperamental to make and i did not have a good time with this one.
this weeks tuesdays with dorie-baking with julia challenge, french strawberry cake-page 273, and it is hosted by sophia of sophias sweets and allison of think, love, sleep, dine. visit their pages to read the full recipe.
first things first, genoise. it is a classic sponge cake and that should set off warning bells. now don’t go jumping out a window or running away. it is just a cake, albeit a difficult one but still a cake none the less. follow the rules and you shall have cake.
trudging along, i poured it into the pan hoping for success. after carefully folding in the flour and melted butter, the batter seemed so thin to me and you can see that it isn’t much. it came out of the oven like a rubber disk-i set about mixing up batch #2.
round 2; i over whipped the eggs and stiff peaks stood stock still rather than dissolving. i forged ahead anyway. batch #3 worked out better. since i have made genoise before, i knew i could omit the butter and still get a proper sponge cake.
the third cake had what i think was a perfect light and open crumb that you need for a proper genoise.
the key, not over or under whipping the eggs. that is a challenge and just because the recipe said to whip for 4-5 minutes, it’s not set in stone. the only way to know if you have the right consistency-check the ribbon and see how long it takes to dissolve. to get the 10 seconds, i had to whip for about 6-7 minutes.
next came the berries. i macerated them as the recipe instructed only i added a little vanilla bean and rose water to really punch up the flavor. the maceration process takes about 3 hours and is well worth it. the juices that remain after assembling the cake make awesome martinis! we made them with basil from the garden and i could have had 2 or 3 myself-luckily we ran out of the juices!!!
the whipped cream frosting is a little different; it has sour cream added to it to give it a little something, kinda like creme fraiche in a way. when i whip cream, i wrap plastic around the machine to prevent splashing.
strain the juices off by lifting the berries out with a slotted spoon. spread them over the top of the layer.
then you do it again. finally, the third layer is placed on top and the cake is frosted all over.
i think the recipe should call for the full 2 cups of cream in the carton rather than 1 1/4 cup. i didn’t have anything left to pipe rosettes with. i brought the cake to a dinner-i was lucky to get a sliver of a taste-they did give me back my dirty cake plate though…
many thanks to sophia and allison for hosting, well done ladies!