Monday, May 16, 2011

Strawberry Layer Cake

Oh yes, strawberry season is upon us again! Well back that up a minute… I don’t necessarily know if it is legit “strawberry season” but the grocery stores are now starting to offer their “Buy one Get one free” deals on the pints of strawberries! If you recall my strawberry extravaganza from last year then you’ll know that I love baking with strawberries, and this year is no different.

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I went a head and picked up 2 containers of my favorite berries and immediately went to washing, slicing and dicing! With all of my prepped strawberries I made a puree that would be the flavor base for the rest of my cake!

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I decided to try something a little different this time when it came to baking my cake layers. I decided that I didn’t want to bake in circular pans and deal with leveling off a fair amount of the cake due to uneven rising in a deep pan. So instead I was going to try my luck and bake the cake in cookie sheets/ sheet pans. I figure with only a limited amount of batter depth in the cookie sheets, the cake must have a rising threshold and in turn I’m hoping the rising will be more level than the cakes I have previously baked in deep 9” round pans.

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And it worked! So I left the cakes to cool and went off to the buttercream station!

My favorite buttercream comes with a little bit of work, and lot of eggs! I took 9 egg whites and about 2 1/3cups of white sugar (yes recipes are at the bottom) and whisked them over boiling water until the sugars hit 160 degrees on the candy thermometer.

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As soon as the mixture hits the 160 mark, pour it into your standing mixer and whip on high speed for 7-10 minutes until “stiff peaks” form.

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Once you get to the stiff peaks stage start incorporating the next ingredient. IMG_8599

Well what did you think went in “Butter-cream”? Yes, that is 2 and a half cups of butter to go in one tablespoon at a time.

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After the butter I also started to add my strawberry puree (from earlier).

IMG_8609 VoilĂ ! Strawberry Buttercream! Mmmmm Now back to the cake layers.

After I let the cakes cool, I took the desired circular pans that I would have usually baked with and used them as my measuring guide. I was actually able to get 5 layers (9” rounds) out of the recipe rather than just 4 or sometimes 3 layers I get when I have to take a lot of cake off to even out the “dome” that was created by rising in the oven. PLUS, I still had enough useable cake left to make a cake mini as well!

So with the cake layers measured and cut, buttercream in waiting, and puree still left over I went to stacking my cake. Since I had so much fun doing so, I put together a little cake stacking animation for you!

Cake layering

I know, I took that a little far.

Then I went ahead and popped the two cakes in the fridge to let the buttercream set up.

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I went ahead and started slicing up some fresh strawberries for the top of the cake and for my lunch! I left the cakes alone for a couple of hours and came back to them later in the evening.

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Who wants cake??

This is actually the most nerve racking part because once you cut into the cake you get to see just how “even” my layers are! There’s a real “pride” thing here about how uniform you can get your cake layers and buttercream layers. I have to say I was pretty pleased!

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Once the cake was cut and the suspense was over, I swiftly made deliveries to my neighbors! My neighbors are pretty supportive of my cake habits, and are pretty welcoming when the doorbell rings! Thanks guys!

Of course the neighbors aren’t the only one getting to taste.

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Dessert for two.

 

Strawberry Layer Cake

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tps baking powder

3 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter @ room temperature (2 sticks) 

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp vanilla extract

8 egg whites

1/2 cup whole milk

1 cup fresh strawberry puree

Cream your butter and sugars on high speed until light and fluffy. While the mixer is going combine your dry ingredients in a separate bowl as well your milk, puree, and vanilla in bowl with spout. Once butter and sugars are light and fluffy (about 5-7 minutes) gradually add your egg whites, and remember to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl after every other addition. Now add dry mixture in 3 parts alternating with your liquid ingredients, also scraping bowl between additions. Once all ingredients are incorporated set your oven for 350, and line your desired pans with cooking spray and parchment paper. Cooking time for the cookie sheets was approx. 17min. My estimate for a regular 9” pan would be 35-40 minutes. Check with toothpick.

Strawberry Buttercream

2 1/3 cups sugar

9 egg whites

2  1/2 cups unsalted butter @ room temp (5 sticks)

1/2 cup fresh strawberry puree

1/4 cup good quality strawberry jam (I used Welch’s Reduced Sugar Spread from a squeeze bottle) ROOM TEMP!

1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (yes, Tablespoon. That is not a typo)

Whisk egg whites and sugar in a heat safe bowl over boiling water (double boiler works too) until mixture reaches 160 Fahrenheit; be sure the water is not touching the bowl… we don’t want scrabbled eggs. Transfer to standing mixer with whisk attachment, and whip on high until stiff peaks form (about 7-10 minutes). Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the butter on tablespoon at a time ( cut each stick into 8 blocks and flop one block in at a time). If the icing starts to look a little liquid then pop it back on high speed until it has re-firmed. Turn the mixer back to low and add your jam and puree slowly.

 

Strawberry Puree

160z Carton of fresh strawberries cleaned

2 tbsp of strawberry jam

Food processor or mixer on pulse until liquid!

8 comments:

Lisa said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

so I'm no super decorative baker like you are but I do have a trick that has solved 'dome' issues on round cake pans. This trick will mean you won't have to cut your cakes at ALL! And once I tried it I was hooked. I'm offering it to you, and you can try it, or maybe you already have, or you can ignore it if you want.
Here it is:
So say you are working with a 9" cake pan with 2" sides. Take an old towel, and cut two 2" strips of 11" length. Then wet the strips, squeeze out excess water, and then safety pin both strips around the cake pan. Then pour in your batter and bake like normal. The wet strips cool the outside of the pan just enough to put an end to domes.
It's really amazing and for me a time saver because it would take me so long to get the courage to cut my cake that I would waste almost an hour!
As always this is an amazing post, and I will be making that cake, it made me drool just reading about it!

Molly said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Totally amazing!!! I'm so glad I gave up sugar or this would be tempting :)

Kevin @ Half TRI-ing said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Very pretty. Can you mail it to me?

Kevin
HalfTRIing.blogspot.com

Molly said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Got your comment :) I don't think giving up sugar made me any faster but it did help me lean out slightly (just ~2 lbs down) for my race as I'd hoped to do. I'll be right back on the bandwagon with desserts come June 1 but it is good to just figure out better options to fill those gaps in my day with instead of always jumping to sweets, you know?

Laurie said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I think I could watch the cake stacking animation all day. That cake looks absolutely delicious (and quite beautiful). I've been back several times to show it to my husband and my oldest son who is a big strawberry fan... definitely going to try this one. Thanks for sharing!

Amber Spiegel said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

This looks so delicious! I love the animation!!

Michele said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I just came across your blog via DC's blog. My 'guy' and I are a tri couple from NYC (except we have my triplet girls thrown into our crazy schedule).

That cake looks delicious and we are totally planning on stopping by the bakery when we get to DC next. We come down there to visit friends a few times a year. My routine post-workout treat is a strawberry shortcake cup from Billy's Bakery in Chelsea. I am a sucker for a good strawberry treat!

Jim said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

That was an extraordinary cake! yummy. I love strawberry flavors it really increase my appetite. That was mouthwatering. :P

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