Our next assignment is to make a French Strawberry Cake. So, on the last day of school I decided to take my few hours by myself and bake the genoise sponge for the cake. The recipe for the genoise can be found on page 39 of Baking with Julia.
A genoise is a whole egg sponge cake. The eggs are whipped with sugar until they are pale yellow, frothy and form a ribbon that takes a few seconds to ‘re-absorb’ back into the eggs once its fully whipped. That process takes at least 5 minutes. I used my trusty hand mixer since my Kitcchen-Aid is so big, I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough ingredients in it for the machine to fully whip everything up. The photo in the lower right is the finished whipped eggs. See how much lighter yellow and more voluminous they are than in the one above?
Then you take cake flour*, a little sugar and salt and sift it together, and fold that into the eggs in 3 parts. The eggs are the only thing holding the cake up, so you’ve got to be gentle. Then you take a bit of the batter out and stir it up with only 2 tablespoons of melted butter and then fold that back into the batter. All of that goes into a buttered and floured and parchmented cake pan and baked. Ta-Da!
The cake sat in the freezer minding its own business until yesterday morning. I hosted my Bunco group last night, and served Sour Cream Enchiladas they were amazing. The only changes I made to the recipe were that I didn’t fry the tortillas, and I added a box of frozen chopped spinach to the filling. They were amazing. And I served this cake for dessert. Here’s how it went down.
Cutting the cake into three layers was the hardest part of the assembly for me. I did it while the cake was frozen, so at least it didn’t show how much I wrestled with it. But, I wonder if it would have been easier to slice after it had thawed. If I make this again, I’ll have an opportunity to try. It was so good that I will probably do it again.
The layers came out pretty unevenly. It didn’t really matter for the taste, but it was an embarassing hack job:
and the bottom layer was really thin in the middle, but all of that got covered up with strawberries that were macerated with sugar and vanilla before being mashed to a delicious pulp. (I forgot to cover the cake plate with parchment paper. I cleaned up those splatters after the fact
Then the whole thing was covered in whipped cream and frosted like a beautiful white birthday cake. I covered it with the glass dome and left it to hang out in the fridge all afternoon.
Then last night I served to my friends, who were anxious to get to taste it.
This recipe was definitely a winner. Everyone loved it, and I would absolutely make it again. Check out other strawberry goodness at the Tuesdays with Dorie site, and you can find the recipe at our hosts for the week Sophia’s Sweets and Think, Love, Sleep, Dine. You should make this. Don’t be put off by a cake with a fancy name. It was easy to make and really tasty.
*did you know that you can make your own cake flour? you can! Simply replace 2 tablespoons of the AP flour with 2 tablespoons of corn starch.
**other changes to the recipe were that I used frozen berries since we’re already out of strawberry season. These were picked in-season, by me and my kids. I also added a split and scraped vanilla bean to the berries as they macerated. I also used 2 cups of whipped cream and added a little extra sour cream and sugar.