Monday, June 18, 2012

TWD: French Strawberry Cake

Hi! If this is your first time visiting my blog, welcome! I'm Sophia, a fifteen-year-old baker in New York City. I am beyond excited to be hosting Tuesdays with Dorie this week! Actually, I'm not sure what to be more excited about - that I'm hosting, or that I made a genoise. Considering that three days ago, I had no idea what a genoise even was.
When I volunteered to host, I hadn't actually seen the recipe. After I was chosen, I read it and started to get nervous - I had no idea what this cake was supposed to be. How was I supposed to post about a complete failure when it's my turn to host??
I made the recipe exactly as stated, sifting and measuring every little detail. I swear I over-folded the genoise batter, and there were still some lumps of flour after it baked because I was so scared to mix it too much. I don't know what I managed to do, but it worked! The bottom layer was a little tough, and I had some trouble with slicing into 3 layers, but it was delicious nonetheless. I was so happy with how this cake turned out, and am grateful to TWD for opportunities like this one. Without the group, I would never had made a recipe like this and discovered how much I loved it.
When I was thinking about what to write for this post, I realized that there are some things words just can't describe. The feeling of folding and pouring the batter; the curiosity over whether the first bite would be delicious; the look on my dad's face when he walked into the kitchen and saw his father's day cake. As food bloggers, all we can do is describe these as best as we can.
Go make this cake for yourself to find out what I'm talking about; the recipe is right below, or on my fellow host's beautiful blog, Sleep Love Think Dine! Be sure to stop by the TWD website and see everybody's lovely cakes.

French Strawberry Cake
from Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

1 recipe Perfect Genoise Batter (recipe below)
2 pints ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar,(depending on the sweetness of the fruit)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan with solid shortening, dust with flour, and tap out the excess. Fit the bottom with a parchment or waxed paper circle.
Baking the cake:
Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a rubber spatula, working from the center outward and creating a slightly raised ridge around the sides. Bake for 25 to 27 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly prodded and the cake starts to come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the cake to a rack and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
To remove the cake from the pan, first test its readiness: Tilt and rotate the pan, then gently tap it on the counter. If it doesn't seem as if the cake is releasing from the pan, or you are the cautious type, run a thin blade between the cake and the sides of the pan, freeing the sides and letting a little air get under the cake. Invert the cake onto a rack and remove the pan. Slowly peel off the paper liner, turn it over, and put it back on the cake. Cover the cake with another rack and invert again. Remove the top rack and let the cake cool completely right side up. The cake can remain uncovered at room temperature for a day, but it should be wrapped in plastic if you won't be using it within 2 days. For longer storage, wrap it well and freeze it for up to 10 days. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature.
Preparing the Berries:
Toss the sliced berries with the sugar in a large bowl and leave them, uncovered, at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Coarsely mash the berries with the tines of a fork and toss them again; let them stand for 1 hour longer. You can do this the day before, but the berries should be refrigerated after they are mashed.
The Cream
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large strawberries (with hulls)

Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand-held mixer, whip the heavy cream, sour cream, sugar, and vanilla together until the mixture forms soft peaks. The cream is the proper consistency when the tracks made by the whisk close slowly and almost disappear. Cover and refrigerate the cream until you're ready to frost the cake. Just before using the cream, give it a turn or two by hand with a whisk to bring the mixture together again.
Finishing the cake:
Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place the bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard cake round or the removable bottom of a tart pan. Lifting the berries from the bowl with a slotted spoon so that most of the liquid drains off, spoon half of the mashed strawberries over the cake layer, then spread a thin layer of the whipped cream over the berries. Top with the middle cake layer, spoon on the rest of the strawberries, and spread another thin layer of cream over the berries. Center the top layer over the filling.
Working with a flexible metal icing spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream, leaving about 1/2 cup of the cream for decoration. Spoon the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch star tip and pipe 10 rosettes around the top of the cake, positioning the rosettes about an inch in from the edge and leaving an inch between each rosette.
Slice each berry in half from blossom to stem, leaving some of the hull on each half. Prop a berry half, cut side down, on top of each rosette and refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving.
The cake can be refrigerated for several hours before serving. Keep it away from any foods in the refrigerator with strong odors, as cream picks up odors quickly. It would be ideal if you could store the cake in a box.
Contributing Baker Flo Braker

Perfect Genoise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Pour the melted butter into a 1-quart bowl; reserve.
Return the sifted flour to the sifter or sieve and add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the salt; sift onto a piece of waxed paper and set aside.
Put the eggs and the remaining sugar into the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer (or work with a hand-held mixer). Holding the whisk attachment from the mixer in your hand, beat the mixture to blend the ingredients. With the bowl and whisk attachment in place, whip the mixture on medium speed until it is airy, pale, and tripled in volume, like softly whipped cream, 4 to 5 minutes. You'll know that the eggs are properly whipped when you lift the whisk and the mixture falls back into the bowl in a ribbon that rests on the surface for about 10 seconds. If the ribbon immediately sinks into the mixture, continue whipping for a few more minutes. Pour in the vanilla extract during the last moments of whipping.
Detach the bowl from the mixer. Sprinkle about one third of the sifted flour mixture over the batter. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula, stopping as soon as the flour is incorporated. Fold in the rest of the flour in 2 more additions.
Gently spoon about 1 cup of the batter into the bowl with the bmelted butter and fold the butter in with the rubber spatula. Fold this mixture into the batter in the mixer bowl. (This is the point at which the batter is at its most fragile, so fold gingerly.) The batter should be poured into a prepared pan and baked immediately.


steph- whisk/spoon said...

hi sophia--nice to meet you! what a well-decorated cake. such a treat for father's day...your dad must have felt so special! thanks for being a fabulous hostess this week. :)

Cathleen | My Culinary Mission said...

Thanks for hosting Sophia! You did a wonderful job on your dad's cake for his special day.

Roadtrek Girl said...

Sophia,thank you for hosting your cake looks beautiful. Just took mine out of the oven can't wait to make the whipped cream and fill it !

Paula Montenegro said...

Beautiful cake Sophia! Just on time for father´s day! Thanks for hosting this week.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Sophia. Gorgeous results and what a treat for your father. Congratulations on your Genoise!

Anonymous said...

Awesome job! I was so worried about over folding too and found flour when I was pouring it into the cake pan. Let's hope it turned out as great as yours!

Tomato Thymes said...

Absolutely lovely and great photos. Thanks for hosting.


Catherine from said...

Thank you for hosting this week. Your cake looks lovely and you deserve a big kudos for even attempting it! I look forward to more of your posts!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sophie! Your cake looks really good and I'm glad it turned out so well for you :). I'm also 15, and my mom, sister, and I enjoy baking together. Congrats!

Baking is my Zen...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

Your cake came out nice!


baker in disguise said...

Your cake's come out just as how I had imagined it when I read the recipe!! Great going!!

ostwestwind said...

Thanks for hosting, your cake looks great!

Ulrike @Küchenlatein

Unknown said...

I'm glad you loved it that much, it looks great and I get what you mean, the first bite of a new recipe... i love it, the folding the ingredients, the surprise faces of everybody!! Baking is great

Janis said...

Looks great Sophie! I like that you used whole strawberries complete with the stems for decor :-)

Unknown said...

Hi Sophia! Thank you for hosting this week! Your cake is lovely. I had many of your same fears but like you I pressed on and ended up with something delicious!

Elaine said...

Your cake is lovely and a perfect Father's Day cake! Thank you so much for hosting this week.

Anonymous said...

Sophia - well done - a beautiful cake and a great surprise for your Dad! Thank you for hosting!

Unknown said...

Your cake is really beautiful. I am impressed that you are so young and already such an accomplished baker!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Thanks for hosting, Sophia! Your cake looks marvelous!!!!

Anonymous said...

Great job Sophia! Your words and your cake are both wonderful!

Frolicking Night Owl said...

VERY pretty cake!! Nice work!! Very summer-y!

Lynn said...

Thank you for hosting! You cake is lovely!

Anonymous said...

Yum! This looks tasty!

Anonymous said...

Great job! and a beautiful cake!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful cake! I was nervous about folding the flour in, too. Your layers look gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Great job, Sophia! Your cake looks delicious. I bet your dad was so proud!

Jodie said...

This was a fabulous recipe. Thanks for hosting!

Unknown said...

You have a great blog, and the cake looks awesome.

Jaime said...

your genoise turned out so well! thanks for hosting, i enjoyed this one :)

Gracie said...

Nice job!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I started baking young, but couldn't imagine taking on all of Baking With Julia. That's a nice cake you ended up with for 15 or 50.

Kathy said...

Sophia, You did a fabulous job on this cake. It looks absolutely beautiful! I’m a seasoned baker and have made Genoise many times, and I had some trouble with this recipe. Thank you so much for hosting and congrats on your first Genoise!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for hosting Sophia! You did a great job on a difficult cake. Your father must have been so proud.

Chris H. said...

Your cake looks great! Thanks for hosting this week's recipe, too.

Anonymous said...

Very nice job! Congrats! :-)

Anonymous said...

It seems your genoise really was perfect! You outdid yourself for Father's Day. Thanks so much for hosting this round!

Anonymous said...

It seems your genoise really was perfect! You outdid yourself for Father's Day. Thanks for hosting this time 'round!

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed - beautiful!

Sophia said...

Thank you for all the sweet comments!

Di said...

Your cake looks lovely! I really enjoyed this one, too. I love making cakes like this.

Sophia said...

thank you :)

Sweet and That's it said...

Good evening Sophia, thank you so much for hosting this wonderful creamy cake.
You did a great job!

Anonymous said...

beautiful :)

Sophia said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks for hosting Sophia....great pick!!! Keep up the great baking!!!

Sara said...

Yours looks great! Thanks for hosting!

Sophia said...

Thank you!

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