Friday, September 9, 2011

Fresh strawberry cake with strawberry swiss meringue frosting



Welcome to my blog!  I'm excited about my very first post, so bear with me. Oh, and excuse the bad photo, but unfortunately I took the picture in the late afternoon when the sun was starting to set.  Lesson learned.

I saw this strawberry cake on Shawnda's website and knew that I had to make this pronto. Strawberries are my favorite fruit, and cake is yummy, so what's not to love? I went ahead and bought some fresh strawberries that very night at the grocery store and set out to make this cake.


I found that the recipe made too much strawberry puree, so I would halve it next time (the adjustments are not reflected below).  And since I had too much puree, I decided to add it into the frosting for an added strawberry bonus!

My coworkers absolutely loved this cake, and there were no leftovers to be taken home.  That's probably a good thing too, or else I'd have to skate another hour to work this off!

Ingredients

For the cake:
  • 24 oz fresh strawberries (you can use frozen too; make sure you thaw and hull them)
  • 1-2 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cup cake flour (I used All Purpose flour, plus 2 Tbsp of cornstarch)
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 12 Tbsp unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (not melted)
For the icing:
  • 4 oz egg whites (3-4 large egg whites or about 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
Directions 
Lightly toss the strawberries to remove excess liquid. Discard the liquid. Put strawberries in a food processor or blender and puree. (You could use frozen strawberries if you don't have a fresh berries) Reserve 3/4 cup puree for the cake. Use leftover puree to fill the cake or add into the frosting, if desired. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare two 8 inch round pans by spraying inside with baking spray or coating with flour.

In small bowl, combine puree, milk, egg, vanilla and mix with fork until well blended. In bowl of stand mixer, add sifted flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix to combine. Continue beating at slow speed and add butter. Mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.

Add liquids and beat at medium speed for about 1 minute or until full and evenly combined. Stop mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl and hand beat for 30 more seconds. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and smooth tops.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (time will vary). Let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wire racks. Let cakes cool completely (about 2 hours).

For the icing:

Lightly whisk egg whites and sugar together over simmering water in a double boiler until egg-white mixture is hot to touch or a candy thermometer reads 140°F (60°C). 

Pour hot egg whites into a room-temperature bowl and whip at medium high with a wire whip, until double in volume and achieve stiff peaks. Meanwhile cut the butter into 2-inch pieces. (The butter should be slightly moist on the outside but cold inside.) 

On your mixer, remove the whip and attach the paddle. Turn mixer on and add the butter piece by piece into the bowl until thoroughly mixed. 

Add a few tablespoons of the strawberry puree into the frosting until the color is to your liking (I added about 3-4 Tbsp).

Storage: Store the icing in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost completely (several hours) and rewhip before using.

Yields: ~12-16 servings


Sources: Cake adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who it adapted from Cook's Illustrated Classic White Cake and Good Things Catered. Frosting adapted from The Novice Chef.

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