Saturday, March 29, 2014

Strawberry cake - Fresh, colorful and delicious


Spring has come and what better way to celebrate it than with a beautiful fresh strawberry cake? Share your joy with your family and friends over a relaxed backyard party or lovely dinner. The star of the day would definitely be this delicious cake!



The strawberry cake is incredibly moist and flavorsome with both a light taste and texture. It has three layers covered with a smooth strawberry meringue buttercream and filled and garnished with even more fresh strawberries. Topped with a delicious whipped cream and angel coconut flakes, this spring inspired dessert it's just perfect for any celebration for that matter. 


Yield: 10-12 servings                          Time: 1 hour 30 min

Ingredients for the cake:
  • 115 g (2 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) whole milk or buttermilk
  • 200 g (1 cup) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 115 g (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon pure lemon extract
Ingredients for the strawberry meringue buttercream:
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 egg whites 
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes, at room temperature
Ingredients for finishing:
  • 3 cups of fresh strawberries rinsed and finely chopped
  • 300 ml (1 ¼ cups) pineapple juice
  • 240 ml (1 cup) of whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp confectioner sugar
  • sweetened coconut flakes
Directions:
  1. For the cake preparation, preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Butter two 9 x 2 inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour, salt and baking powder.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites until combined.
  4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. 
  5. Add the butter and on medium speed, with a flat beater attachment or with a hand mixer, beat until smooth.
  6. Incorporate in the lemon extract, then 1 cup of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed.
  7. Add one third of the milk-egg mixture then half of the remaining dry ingredients, beating until blended after each addition.
  8. Gradually, add the remaining dry ingredients alternating with the rest of milk-egg mixture until until the batter is homogeneous and well aerate.
  9. Divide batter evenly among pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. 
  10. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  11. Remove the pans from oven and place them on cooling racks to cool completely.
  12. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unfold them and peel off the paper liners.
  13. Invert the cake layers and set aside.
  14. For the strawberry meringue buttercream preparation, purée the strawberries in a food process or blender and set aside.
  15. In the heatproof bowl of a standing electric mixer set over a pan of simmering water, combine the egg whites and sugar.
  16. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is smooth to the touch and the sugar has dissolved.
  17. Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, mix until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Continue beating until the mixture is glossy and cooled, about 10 minutes.
  18. Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and add the butter a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  19. After all the butter has been added, switch to the paddle attachment continue beating on lowest speed to eliminate any air bubbles, about 2 minutes.
  20. Stir in strawberry purée with a rubber spatula until frosting is smooth.
  21. For the whipped cream preparation, add the cream to a mixing bowl and start whisking at a low speed. 
  22. Gradually increase the speed until medium-high and add the confectioner sugar. Beat until soft peaks start to form.
  23. To assemble the cake, using a sharp serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, slice each layer horizontally in half.
  24. Place one cake layer cut side up on serving plate and moist it with pineapple juice. Spread frosting evenly on cake. Evenly spread chopped strawberries and top with more frosting.
  25. Top with another layer, moist it with pineapple juice spread with strawberry meringue buttercream and strawberries and then do the same with a third layer.
  26. Cover the entire cake with whipped cream. 
  27. Decorate as desired and garnish with coconut flakes and fresh strawberries.
Fresh, colorful and light, this homemade dessert layers lemon cake, juicy strawberries and sweet whipped cream.

Tips and tricks:
  • The cake can be stored in  a covered container in the refrigerator.
  • Cream will whip better when kept cold. Keep in fridge until ready to add. A cold bowl and wire whip will also help in whipping the cream.
  • The cooled cake layers can be wrapped separately and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to two months.

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