Thursday, July 7, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake......with Berries and Whipped Cream

While I was in Italy, my trainer had a rather significant birthday and I owe her a cake; no it's not the one above, that is a masterpiece.......I've described myself as the anti "food stylist" when it comes to cake decorating, but I can make a cake that TASTES delicious and that's what I did today to give to Kristin tomorrow when she works all my muscles!  I once asked her what her favorite type of cake was, and she said "strawberry shortcake", so I've made a 4 layer strawberry shortcake for her un-birthday.  I began with a basic vanilla cake, my son's favorite, then macerated strawberries, and used the juices to brush into the cake and then whipped cream and mascarpone cheese together with sugar and used that along with the strawberries to fill the cake, and then frosted the top and sides with the remaining whipped cream mixture.  It was simple, and it's going to be de-lish---it will not look like the one above, but I don't think that's as important as how it tastes.  Right now we are still getting beautiful red right through strawberries, and so I'm taking advantage of that, but you can do this with raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, or a combination of berries, and the mascarpone creme keeps the whipped cream from "weeping" or falling off the cake, and it's delicious just layered with fruits in a parfait glass. 

Cuisinart Yellow Cake
Makes two nine-inch layers

2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, and cut into pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla paste or extract

1.                  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat the inside of two 9-inch cake pans with non-stick cooking spray and set aside. 
2.                  Place the flour into the food processor, and pulse to blend.  Remove an set aside.
3.                  Add the sugar and eggs, and process till smooth, then add the butter and process till fluffy.
4.                  Scrape down the bowl, and with the machine running add the vanilla and buttermilk.  Add the flour and process on and off till the flour disappears. 
5.                  Pour into the prepared pans, and bake for 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. 
6.                  Cool the cakes for 10 minutes, and remove from the pans to a cooling rack to cool completely. 
Cooks’ Note:  If you don’t have a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs one at a time, and the vanilla paste.  Add the flour, baking powder, and soda, alternately with the buttermilk, and beat until smooth.  Proceed as directed. 

Macerated Berries
Makes about 4 cups
4 cups cleaned berries, hull and slice strawberries, saving 10 for garnish
1/2 cup sugar
In a bowl, combine the berries and sugar stirring to blend.  Set aside at room temperature for 1 hour.  Drain the berries, saving the juices for brushing on the layers.  
This is one of my favorite gadgets--the Stem Gem   To slice the berries, use the Strawberry Slicester
 Stem Gem also works on tomatoes,too!

Mascarpone Crème
Makes about 4 cups
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
16-ounces mascarpone cheese
In an electric mixer, beat the cream and sugar until the cream is stiff.  Add the mascarpone and beat again for 1 minute until combined.  The crème can be refrigerated for up to 3 days, or frozen for 1 month. 


Slice the cake layers in half horizontally.  
 Lay strips of waxed paper onto the edges of the cake plate and center one of the cake layer halves on the cake plate.   

Brush the cake with some of the berry juices, then spread with a layer of strawberries. 

 Top with some of the mascarpone crème.   
Repeat until you have 3 layers spread, and top with the last layer.  

 Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining crème.   

Cut the remaining berries in half and press into the sides and the top in a pattern.   

Gently remove the waxed paper strips from the bottom of the cake, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.  Serve the cake chilled. 

So that's it for Kristin's birthday cake, I hope you'll try it, it's a crowd pleaser!  My friend Mary Karlin, author of Wood Fired Grilling and Artisan Cheese Making at Home is coming into town to teach cheese making classes at Great News this weekend, and I'll have lots to share on that later in the weekend, until then, enjoy your weekend. 

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