Monday, June 21, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake Cake



This Sunday, I went to a Brazilian-themed party that I later found out was a party in honor of the World Cup game with Brazil playing against the Ivory Coast. I arrived just in time to see the recap of the game, but since I'm not into sports, I was completely okay with that. I just wish I could have heard all the Brazilian guests yell after seeing their country win. I love witnessing that type of excitement.

The reasons I made this strawberry shortcake cake were threefold (one of my mom's favorite words): 1) I had bought a bunch of strawberries at Costco the day before; 2) I have been wanting to make this type of cake ever since I saw this beautiful one on the Good Mood Food blog, an Irish blog written by Donal Skehan; and 3) I wanted to bring a cake to the party. I chose this cake over the Pioneer Woman's version because she used sour cream in the cake, and you know how I feel about sour cream.

I changed around the recipe for the cake so much that I can only say that I was inspired by the Donal's recipe. For instance, instead of melting the butter, I blended it with the sugar as is done with most cakes I've made. Also, I felt that half of a stick of butter was not enough for a good cake, so I used a whole stick. The other major change I made was to sweeten the whipped cream instead. I couldn't imagine eating whipped cream without sugar! Blech!

Once the strawberry filling was placed on top of the cake layers, they started to slide (along with the filling), and it became a huge mess. Also, I was already running late, so that is why I didn't take photos of the process. I angrily threw placed the cake layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, I made more sweetened whipped cream and covered the entire cake after cleaning the edges. I was very pleased with the end result. This was a very photogenic cake. I speak in the past tense because everyone ate that cake so quickly. It was gone before I knew it. Anyway, after I had frosted the cake, I placed it back in the freezer for 15 minutes just to be safe. After placing more strawberries on the cake and taking photos of it, I got ready to go to the party.

I placed the cake in the passenger seat and surrounded it with my camera bag and a VCR that I am planning to donate or recycle that was sitting in the backseat of my car. I then wrapped everything together with the seatbelt :). It worked. The cake didn't move one inch.

I drove up to my friend's house and was greeted by the sight of bright green and yellow shirts with "BRASIL" written on the front. I almost turned around because I didn't recognize any of the people on the stairs (remember my social phobia?). I reminded myself that there were people I did know inside the apartment, and that thought helped me muster up the courage to get out of the car. I hid as much as I could behind the cake and cake stand and muttered a brief "Olá" to the people outside and anxiously searched for a familiar face.

Once I walked inside, my anxiety increased even more because there were so many people in there that there was barely enough room to walk! Even the sight of a few of my colleagues did not assuage my increasing desire to run back home. Finally, my friend - the host of the party - spotted me and got so excited about my cake. I felt a bit better and less nauseated after seeing her and walking in the near-empty kitchen. I managed to eat a traditional and DELICIOUS Afro-Brazilian dish called Bobó de camerão over white rice (I am soooo going to make this very soon) that another friend/colleague had made. I then became part of an interesting 3-way conversation that lasted until 8pm!

I had to "stop the presses" in order to take this shot...

When the cake was taken out, almost everyone took a slice. I personally thought the cake wasn't sweet enough. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised since I'm aware that desserts in the U.S. tend to be sweeter than those made in other countries (correct me if I'm wrong!). Nevertheless, because the cake wasn't super sweet, I knew that the guests of this party, which was comprised of 90% Brazilians (there was also one Mexican (the host), an Argentinean and one German), I assumed they would like it. I was right. They raved over the cake and kept saying comments like "Que delícia, Memória!".

...and this shot. Look at the poor strawberry haha.

If I were to make this cake again, I would pick a sweeter cake as the base and use a regular frosting. I love sweet desserts, though, so ignore my preferences if yours are different haha. Despite the sweetness level, the whipped cream and strawberry filling tasted really good. I loved how soft everything was. It was a very comforting cake that felt very light even with the presence of heavy cream. If this cake sounds like your kind of dessert, you should definitely make it!

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick/113g) of butter, room temperature
1 1/8 cup (225g) of caster sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup (100ml) of milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup (210g) AP flour
2 tsp baking powder


Strawberry Filling:
1 pint (300g) of strawberries, washed and hulled
1/4 - 1/2 cup granulated sugar (depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
juice of 1/2 lemon

Whipped Cream:
2 1/2 (550ml) heavy cream
1/2-3/4 cup granulated or powdered sugar, to taste
1 1/2 tsp CLEAR vanilla extract (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F/175C/Gas 4, and grease and line two 8-inch cake pans.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.

Mix the milk and vanilla extract together in a liquid measuring cup. Sieve or whisk the flour and baking powder together in a bowl. Then, pour the flour and milk mixture into the mixing bowl, alternating and ending with the flour.
Mix the batter completely until smooth and combined.
Divide the mix evenly between the two baking tins (or you can pour it all into one pan and separate it with a knife if you have a steady hand. I used two pans) and place in the oven for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool slightly for about 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. [While the cakes are cooling, place the whisk and bowl for the filling in the freezer!]

Filling and Topping:
When both cake layers are completely cooled, make the strawberry filling. Place the cut strawberries in a medium sauce pan along with the sugar, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Heat to boiling and then remove the pan from the heat. With a potato masher or fork, mash the strawberries into smaller chunks. Allow the filling to cool while making whipped cream.
With the cold whisk and bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add in the sugar and CLEAR vanilla extract. [If you don't have clear vanilla extract, you could omit it or use the dark variety. Just know that it will change the color of the whipped cream.]

Assembly:
If the cake layers have a peak in the middle make sure to slice it off so you are left with perfectly flat layers. Place one layer face down on a cake stand and dollop with half the cooled strawberry purée. Then, add about a fourth to a third of the whipped cream, spread evenly. Carefully place the second cake layer on top and add the remaining strawberry purée. To avoid making the mess that I made, place the layers in the freezer for 30 minutes. After that time, add the remaining whipped cream generously. Feel free to garnish your cake with more hulled strawberries.

25 comments:

  1. Looks really good.
    It's great to have a cake sweeped clean off the plate in a matter of minutes.

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  2. Ohh my god! It looks so romantic and delicious!

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  3. It looks great! And I couldn't imagine eating whipped cream without sugar either!

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  4. Realmente se ve deliciosa. Un saludo

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  5. This looks really yummy. I totally agree with you that sweets made in the US are much sweeter. I actually prefer the less sweet cakes as well, and I am from Poland, so I'm sure I would have loved this. Really funny though because I too saw this on Good Mood Blog and thought...wow I have to make this!!!

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  6. Well, regardless of how it tasted (which I'm sure was totally fantastic!), this looks absolutely gorgeous!! I love the simple whipped cream and strawberries- a beautiful summer cake!!

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  7. What a spectacular looking cake! I am very sorry to hear about your social phobia. My best friend has it. When I first met her she had to have a drink before any social occassion, it turned her into an alcoholic. She had to have professional help (not common in Europe!). Since then has really turned her life around. She now has a job that requires a lot of travel and working with enw people every week!

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  8. "Isn't it romantic? Music in the night . . ." :o) I love, love, love your pretty cake, Memoria, and I am glad that it proved to be such an instant hit at the party!

    It is also wonderful to observe that the art of cooking is opening so many doors for a girl like you who experiences social phobia. Not only are you becoming a top-notch photographer, your foreign language abilities are steadily improving and the discipline it takes to bring these complicated and labor intensive recipes into fruition is powerful and inspiring! Who knew cooking/baking could be so engaging and therapeutic? Keep up the good work--who knows what other hidden talents and nuances your cooking may bring out in you AND in us!

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  9. Looks delicious! I am always grateful for another yummy way to use strawberries. (P.S. College Girl Robin has been tweeting with Donal and trying to visit one of his cooking demos...and she won a restaurant gift certificate on his blog...small world!) We both very much enjoy ur blog!

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  10. Yum! I've been wanting to make The Pioneer Woman's version for a while now. Yours looks delicious and beautiful! Great job and I'm glad you ended up going into the apartment and having a great time!

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  11. Memoria, you rock! I LOVE how you upped the butter on this because 1/2 stick does not a good cake make! You're awesome. This cake looks fabulous and I too was very tempted after I saw the pic on goodmoodfood.

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  12. what a great cake!! I can see every one else felt the same way! Sounds like you made some forward strides by staying with that crowd....it can't be easy, but its worth working on.!
    All the Best
    Dennis

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  13. so pretty and cheerful looking :)

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  14. Wow, your strawberry shortcake look so delicious Memoria. I like how clean it looks.

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  15. No wonder your cake got snapped up so quickly. it looks fabulous! :D

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  16. Yum! Gorgeous, as usual. That is one elegant and sophisticated cake. I love the frosting.
    :) Petra

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  17. What a beautiful cake! I love everything about it, the frosting sounds divine :)

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  18. Wow, this cake looks sooooo delicious! I love baking. And I will try this one very soon. Thanks for sharing!
    Verena @ verenasschoenewelt.blogspot.com

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  19. You're so funny Memoria! "If you were to make this cake again" but use a different cake & frosting? THAT would make it a different cake, silly.

    I never think of strawberry shotcake as being overly sweet so this sounds perfect, though I do like my sugary desserts, too. :)
    ~ingrid

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  20. Ingrid - I was referring to make a strawberry shortcake cake again, not exactly this recipe. You are crazy, girl!

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  21. I think it's funny that you said "move over strawberry shortcakes" the other day when you posted that cheesecake and now here you are with this beauty of a cake! I am loving the contrast of the pure white and red. nice!

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  22. A shortcake cake is different from a shortcake, chica! I don't like those dry, sweet biscuits; I wanted a cake. So, I think the two are different. You won't see a shortcake on my blog hahaha...well, unless someone requests that I made some for them.

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  23. Everything you make is "Que delícia, Memória!" This really is a beautiful cake!

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  24. I made a shortcake cake for my bday cake last month and we nearly licked the cake platter clean. Love sweetened whipped cream with strawberries, and if you toss in a great cake, then I'm there. This looks lovely, Memoria!

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  25. Beautiful! :) Much prettier than mine- I will cover mine with cream next time round! :)

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