Cake & Cheesecake | July 7, 2011

Cook’s Illustrated Strawberry Cream Cake

Cook's Illustrated Strawberry Cream Cake

Cook's Illustrated Strawberry Cream Cake

Remember the Strawberry Cream Cake I told you I made for Brookie’s birthday?
Here’s the promised recipe. If you love Strawberries and Chiffon/Sponge Cake, you’ll love this.

Cook's Illustrated Strawberry Cream Cake

Cook’s Illustrated Strawberry Cream Cake

adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated, May 2006

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour 5 oz
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 large eggs 2 whole, 3 separated room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Strawberry Filling:

  • 2 pounds fresh strawberries about 2 quarts washed, dried, and stemmed
  • 4-6 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • Whipped Cream
  • 8 oz cream cheese room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • dash salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Instructions

For Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees, adjust rack to middle. Grease and flour a round 9 by 2 inch cake pan or a 9 inch spring form pan and line with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in mixing bowl. Whisk in 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
  3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 whites at medium low speed until frothy, 1-2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium high and beat until soft peaks form, 60-90 seconds. Stir one third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted into center of cake comes our clean, 25-30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert pan onto wire rack, peel off and discard parchment paper. Invert cake again and cool completely about 1 hour. Or, wrap the cake in plastic wrap and freeze for about 1 hour.

For Strawberry Filling:

  1. Halve 24 of the best looking berries and reserve. It is best to pick berries that are uniform in size, if possible. Quarter the remaining berries; toss with 4-6 tablespoons of sugar in medium bowl and let sit for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve, you should have about 1/2 cup of liquid. In work bowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses. In a small saucepan over medium high heat, simmer reserved juices until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3-5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.

For Whipped Cream:

  1. When cake is cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium high speed until light and fluffy 1-2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy ream in a slow steady stream. When almost fully combined, increase speed to medium high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 3 minutes more. You should have a total of about 4 1/2 cups of the cream mixture when finished.
  2. Yes! Cake Assembly:
  3. Using a large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers.
  4. Place bottom layer on cake plate or cardboard round( found in craft or kitchen stores) and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.
  5. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture about 3/4 cup, in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups over berry layer, leaving 1/2 inch border from the edge.
  6. Place middle cake layer on top and gently press down (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge).
  7. Repeat with 20 additional berry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top.
  8. Spread remaining whipped cream over top.
  9. Decorate with remaining cut strawberries.
  10. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.

Recipe Notes

-Don’t let the length of this recipe intimidate you. If you break it down into steps, it really is not difficult. -I hurried and read through this quickly when I was gathering all of the ingredients and cooking equipment. It wasn’t till AFTER I started cooking that I realized it was meant to bake in a 9 inch Spring form and cut into three layers. So I poured it into 2-9 inch pans and figured out my mistake when the cakes came out of the oven unusually flat. I re-read the recipe. The cake actually baked up fine, I just baked it in two pans, instead of one. So to correct my mistake, I halved the recipe and baked one more 9 inch layer. My layers were slightly thicker than yours will be. If you like the look of three thicker layers, one and a half this recipe and bake it in 3-9 inch round pan.

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  1. Erin, I always try to photograph outside, with natural lightling. Sometimes, if it's a sunny day, I can get away with shooting inside my kitchen. No flash, of course 🙂