Today, I have a special recipe to share, a recipe for a wonderful strawberry cream cake. If you were to ask me what my favorite dessert EVER is, well, this is it. Really, if this weren't a birthday post, I'd name it "The Best Cake Ever." I've pretty much requested this cake from my mom for my own birthday every year since I was a little girl. It seems like such a basic cake with lightly sweetened whipped cream, a few layers of chiffon cake, and fresh strawberries, but don't be deceived; it tastes amazing. I decided to take a no frills approach to decorate this cake, no fondant, no sprinkles, only a piping bag of freshly whipped cream to prevent any distraction from the taste.
Even though it has only been a year since Diamonds for Dessert started, it feels like I've been blogging for much longer. Thank you to all of you out there who read my blog, new readers and old. Thanks to all of you who leave comments, from recipe questions to your results from trying these recipes; they really make my day. Happy Birthday Diamonds for Desserts; I hope for many more birthdays to come!
P.S. The recipe really isn't that long, just lots of notes throughout. By the way, doesn't this totally look like a cake in a manga? Haha :P.
Yellow Chiffon Cake
6 egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
4 tbsp sugar, divided
2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold and divided
1 tsp gelatin
1 tbsp water
1 pint strawberries (+ kiwis, canned peaches, etc.)
Cake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the egg whites in a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat them until soft peaks begin to form. Once this happens, gradually add 1/2 cup sugar while mixing until stiff peaks form. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the egg yolks, vegetable oil, water, and vanilla together. Set aside. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup sugar. Mix the egg yolk mixture with the dry ingredient mixture till smooth. Then gently fold in the egg white/sugar mixture.
Gently pour the mixture into nonstick sprayed or parchment paper lined cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake the pans for around 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back when you press on it. Remove the cake from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.
[NOTE: This recipe makes an 8-inch cake with four layers, so if you plan on making an 8-inch cake, pour the batter into two round 8-inch cake pans to bake. I made a 6-inch cake. Since I didn't have a 6-inch cake pan, but I had a 6-inch cake ring, instead, the batter was baked in a large rectangular pan. After baking, I used my cake ring like a cookie cutter and cut out two 6-inch cake rounds after the cake was cooled.]
Strawberries: Wash and dry the strawberries. Cut off the leaf portion of the berries. Keep a few prettier strawberries to top the cake (I kept 6 for a 6-inch cake, so if you make an 8-inch cake, keep 8 berries) and set them aside for now. Take the rest of the berries and thinly slice them.
[NOTE: In addition, you can also use other similarly textured fruit, like sliced kiwi, or slices of canned peaches with the strawberries.]
Whipped Cream: Chill two large metal bowls and your beaters in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Place the teaspoon of gelatin and tablespoon of water in a pan. Mix and let sit for 5 minutes. In the meantime, pour 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp sugar in the chilled metal bowl. Beat on high power until you get soft peaks. Stop.
Heat your pan of gelatin and water over low heat until it turns liquid and the gelatin is just dissolved in the water (it should be warm, not hot, if hot, let cool a little). Scrape this liquid into your whipped cream. Continue beating the cream until stiff peaks form. Then stop, cover this with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Next, in the other chilled bowl, add 1 cup of heavy cream with 2 T sugar. Beat on high until you get stiff peaks in the cream. This cream without gelatin will be used first when assembling the cake layers.
[NOTE: In the final decoration steps, the whipped cream with gelatin is used in order to ensure that the piped design keeps. If you prefer whipping all the cream in one step, just double the amount of gelatin and water and add it in after you get soft peaks while beating all the cream. (I did it in two because I prefer not having so much gelatin in my whipped cream and I like working with smaller amounts of cream at a time).]
Take your two cake rounds and cut them in half (parallel to the plane of the cake round) so you end up with four thinner cake rounds. Place one cake round on a round piece of parchment paper. Cover it with a layer of whipped cream. Add a layer of sliced strawberries. Cover the strawberries with another layer of whipped cream.
Place a cake round on top of the whipped cream. Repeat until you finish with putting the fourth cake round on top of a whipped cream layer. At this point, you can cover the cake with plastic wrap to refrigerate the cake to decorate later, or you can finish the cake.
[NOTE: In this step, you are using the non-gelatin whipped cream.]
Next, to finish decorating, cover the entire cake with a thin layer of whipped cream to trap all the cake crumbs. Then wipe off your spatula and cover the cake with a thicker layer of whipped cream so that no cake is showing through.
Place a shell or star tip in a plastic piping bag and spoon the gelatin whipped cream into the bag. Pipe a border on the top and bottom edge of the cake. (If you've never done this before, like me before I decorated this cake, practice a little bit on a random piece of plastic wrap or plate. But don't worry, if you mess up, you can always scrape off the messed up part and redo it).
Then, for a 6-inch cake, pipe six evenly spaced circles on the top of the cake, near the edge. For an 8-inch cake, pipe 8 circles. Finally, place a whole strawberry in the center of each piped circle and you're done. Serve or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.