There is no wrong time for cake. It can be 3pm on a Thursday in June, and it’s still the right time for cake. It’s too bad that we always associate eating cake with birthdays, Easter, or other holidays, because I am convinced that we all need more cake in our diets. What’s that you say, that’s a calorie bomb? Nonsense.
Ever since I started working at a restaurant in Galveston, I’ve come to the conclusion that eating a piece of cake only on holidays is a sin. Once a week I get a piece of cake from our bakery case, perhaps a slightly ugly one that the frosting has melted off, or the layers have broken. I dwell in its deliciousness and wonder, why don’t I eat cake more often? What on earth has had me eating cake only on my birthday for nineteen years?!
I have vowed to now eat cake more often. Even if this means I have to run a few more miles than I’d prefer. Because after running in the scorching 104 degree Texas heat, crawling to my front door gasping for water, I’ll reach the fridge and jerk it open only to find a beautiful strawberry and cream cake. I’ll hear the singing of angels and no longer will it matter that yet another pickup truck nearly ran me over today. Three in the afternoon on a Thursday I’ll cut myself a slice, but first I’ll probably take a nap on my laminate floor.
I love strawberries- in fact, for a long time it was the only fruit I would eat. So when I went to the grocery store and found two pounds of beautiful, red strawberries, I couldn’t help but imagine putting them into a cake. Even better, a cake covered in cool, homemade whipped cream for the hot summer month.
The problem? I was having a hard time making time between my work schedule to bake, so my strawberries sat in the fridge for a few days. Freaking out was a bit of an understatement. I’ve had horrible experience with strawberries going bad several days after purchasing them, so if I wasn’t checking the fridge every two hours, I was either calling my mother, asking a friend, or googling the life expectancy of strawberries or how to make them last just a few days more. Thankfully, every single berry was just fine.
This cake is delicious, perfect after spending an afternoon in the sun. Not super dense, but springy and moist, covered in pillows of whipped cream and sweet strawberries. The gelatin keeps the cream from separating, which keeps your cake beautiful for several days. Not that there’s anything wrong with ugly cakes, because in the end, they always taste great. (And healthy for you, I mean, it has strawberries! And strawberries = fruit! And fruit = healthy!) So Happy Thursday, and go on and grab another slice.
Adapted from The Sweet Life
For the Cake
Unsalted butter, for greasing
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
½ cup whole milk
Preheat oven to 350° F. Using a small pastry brush, butter bottom and sides of a 8-inch round cake tin. Line bottom of tin with non-stick baking paper; butter paper and then flour bottom and sides of tin.
Using a fine mesh sieve, sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to well combine, set aside.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and yolks, one-at-a-time, beating well after each addition.
Reduce the stand mixer speed to low, add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the milk in 2 additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the flour; beat until just combined (do not over-mix).
Pour batter into prepared cake tin. Using a small offset spatula spread the batter evenly.
Bake, rotating tin halfway through baking, until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in tin for 10 minutes. Remove cake from tin and return to wire rack to cool completely.
Strawberry Cream Topping
1¼ pounds or 20 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
½ cup sugar, divided
1½ cups heavy cream, 35%, cold
1 teaspoon unflavoured gelatin
In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the strawberries and ¼-cup sugar; set aside.
Place two tablespoons cold water into a small-sized saucepan and sprinkle with gelatin; let soften 5 minutes. Place saucepan over low heat, and stir until the gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whisk the heavy cream and the remaining ¼-cup sugar until very soft peaks form.
Continue to whisk, and gradually add the gelatin mixture; beat until soft peaks form.
Assembling the Cake
Using a serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally.
Place bottom half, cut side up, on a cake stand or plate.
Drizzle the juice from the berries onto the cake.
Evenly arrange half of the strawberries over the bottom cake layer. Refrigerate the remaining berries.
Top the strawberry layer with half of the whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border.
Place the top half of the cake, cut side down, onto the layer of strawberries and cream.
Top the cake with the remaining whipped cream, leaving a 1-inch border.
Refrigerate the cake, at least 1 hour (preferably up to 1 day).
Just before serving top the cake with the remaining chilled strawberries.