I promised you in the last post that I'd show you two cakes, so here's the second installment. I owed my daughter a "cake with berries" since her birthday last summer. This one fit the bill nicely. Delicious, buttermilk cake, layered with strawberries nestled in billowing clouds of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Honestly, could you resist?
The only problem with this cake was in the cutting. It was not tidy. When I attempted to cut neat slices, they turned into the leaning tower of cake, collapsing on the cake plates in a jumble of cake, strawberries and cream. Good thing it was so tasty - everyone overlooked the presentation and dug in with "mmmmmm"s of enjoyment.
Strawberry and White Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
- adapted from Desserts By The Yard by Sherry Yard
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 oz white chocolate (Valrhona is recommended, but I used Guittard)
6 oz (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup creme fraiche
1 Tbsp sugar
2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
1- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. F. Spray a 12 x 17-inch half sheet pan with pan spray and line with parchment paper. Spray the parchment.
2- Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
3- Melt the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 50 percent power in 30 second bursts, stirring in between. Be careful so that it doesn't burn.
4- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, cream together the butter and 1-1/2 cups fo the sugar on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beaters and continue to beat for 3 more minutes, until light and creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Whisk 2 Tbsp of the whipped butter into the melted white chocolate until blended. Scrape this mixture back into the butter and beat on low speed until well blended.
5- Add the egg yolks in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
6- On low speed, add the buttermilk and flour mixture alternately in 4 additions. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
7- In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites on medium speed with a hand mixer until they form soft peaks. Slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar while you continue to beat on medium speed. Beat until the egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Fold half the egg whites into the cake batter, then gently fold in the rest.
8- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Using an offset spatula, spread the batter evenly over the pan. Bake until golden brown and firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. rotating the pan from front to back halfway through. Remove the pan from the oven. Allow to cool in the pan. Lightly spray the back of a half sheet pan with pan spray and cover with parchment. Invert the cake onto the parchment-covered tray, remove the pan, and peel off the parchment. (I didn't have two half-sheet pans, so I turned the cake out onto a cutting board.)
9- When the cake is completely cool, cut crosswise into 3 equal pieces. To get precise cuts, measure the thirds and mark with toothpicks before cutting.
10- Whip the cream, creme fraiche, and sugar together to medium-stiff peaks.
11- To assemble the cake, place the first piece of cake on a serving platter. Spread 2 cups of the whipped cream evenly over the top. Lay half the strawberries in the whipped cream and spread a little of the cream over the strawberries. Lay the second cake layer on top, and repeat with 2 cups more cream and the remaining strawberries. Top with the last layer of cake and spread the remaining whipped cream over the top. You can garnish with a few whole berries, if you choose. Chill until ready to serve. The cake can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead.