Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Berry good dessert

After all the craziness of the past several weeks, it was really nice to go out for dinner on Saturday.  The daycare periodically does Parents Night Out, and we try to take advantage of it when we can.  (We also spent part of our evening grocery shopping at Central Market once we were done, but it was nice to do it by ourselves.)  We had a lovely meal, but as is usually the case after having an appetizer and entree, neither of us had room for dessert.  Since we enjoyed the food so much, I'd love to see what the restaurant does with dessert sometime--of course J would point out that I say that all the time, but we never do it. =)  

The whole thing got me thinking, though.  One reason that I'd like to go out for dessert is to be inspired and get new ideas.  On the other hand, my standards are pretty high these days--more often than not, I could probably make something at home that would be better.  And why spend calories on something that isn't really worth it?  I was reminded this weekend of how far my skills have improved over the past few years, when I made the French Strawberry Cake that was last week's pick for Tuesdays with Dorie.  Once upon a time, I would have been rather intimidated by a cake like this one, but instead I just thought it would be fun.

First off, my apologies to Sophia and Allison, our hosts for this week, for being so tardy with my post.  (Being out of town unexpectedly will do that to you.)  But I'm glad I finally found the time to make this lovely seasonal cake.  I admit to being a little crazy, though--I actually made the batter for the genoise totally by hand.  Why?  Just to see if I could.  Besides, I figured I could burn off at least a few calories that way. =) 

I played around just a little with the recipe.  For the cake flour, I used KAF's unbleached cake flour blend.  I used extra large eggs, since that was what I had on hand.  Since my eggs were right out of the fridge, I placed them in a bowl of hot water to warm up while I got everything else together.  For whisking both the egg mixture and later the whipped cream, I used my really big balloon whisk (rather than a spatula) and one of my biggest bowls.  I find that when whipping things by hand, using both of those makes the process go faster.  I also used the balloon whisk to fold the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, a trick I learned from making Rose Levy Beranbaum's chocolate angel food cake.  I baked the cake in an 8"x2" round cake pan lined with parchment paper, for about 26 minutes.

I must have done something right, because my cake rose right to the top of the pan.  I had no trouble slicing it into three layers.  I assembled the cake on a cardboard round, layering the cake with the macerated strawberries and some of the whipped cream mixture.  Then I coated the cake with a crumb coat of the whipped cream.  I made extra cream (roughly double the original amount, I think) because I wanted to do a bit more decorating with it than the original recipe called for.  I decided to use my 1M tip to pipe large stars all over the surface of the cake.

The verdict?  I'm quite happy with how this cake turned out.  It was a big hit with all of us.  Brianna was quite disappointed this evening when she found out that we'd already eaten it all.  Next time, though, I will probably use more strawberries.  (I kind of guestimated the amount, since my container was measured in pounds, rather than dry pints.)  I'm also curious how it would be with other fruit, so I'll have to make it again to try some variations.

If you'd like to try this lovely cake for yourself, you can find the recipe on Sophia's blog or Allison's blog.  And be sure to check out the Links to see how the rest of the TWD bakers fared with their French Strawberry Cakes.  


  1. WOW. I can't believe you had the patience to pipe all those stars!!!! And how beautiful it looks! I have never made a frosted layer cake - something about it scares the bejesus out of me :D

  2. Ha, we just had the same conversation about dessert at our anniversary dinner. I really wanted a fancy dessert but our meal was so underwhelming, I figured whatever their desserts were, I could make a better one at home. That cake is beautiful...I really wish we lived close enough for you to give me piping lessons! :)

  3. Made the batter by hand?! You totally have my respect. Your cake looks great.

  4. how gorgeous!!! those layers! and that piped frosting! kudos!

  5. Hi, what a beautiful cake.
    We had "almost the same" decoration ideas.
    I love Rose Levy B., too. She's such a wonderful baker!

  6. Beautiful! Great job on your piping. I'm glad the cake turned out so well for you.

  7. Just beautiful Di! All that whipped cream makes me so happy :) I don't remember this one from TWD, maybe I skipped?

    So glad you had a night out, that food looks amazing!

  8. Wow, I am very impressed! It looks beautiful as well as delicious. Wish I had a slice right now. :)

  9. Your cake so so beautiful, I love that you used a star tip for the frosting!! Excellent idea!