Saturday, 7 April 2012

keep calm and bake a pretty pretty cake!



Salam alaikum!

Couple of days ago, I was so stressed with my tonnes of assignments, I decided. Hey, let's take a break. I had some double cream in the fridge and strawberries so I tried out this recipe I've been eyeing for quite some time. Truth is, I'm no baking expert, I've never ever baked a cake in my entire life but I think this recipe is definitely for keeps. Even my mum was quite amazed that I got it right on my first time hehe!

I know it doesn't look like your proper pretty cake sitting on the fridge display like the ones we see at the usual bakeries but I like my cake messy. To me, the messier the better. More appetizing. But if you're really particular about decorating your cake then by all means, spend more time layering on the cream. For me, I just slapped a dollop and spread it in all directions. Took a bit of time trying to make the strawberries sit nice on the cake but other than that, I was pretty confident about it wahaha! I skipped the kirsch (obviously! haha!) and I also didn't have a cooking thermometer so I just estimated the temperature.

So..here's the recipe (:

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Cake, by Fran Gage

The génoise, a light, elegant sponge cake, is one of the building blocks of French baking, used as a base for both layer cakes and jelly rolls. The successful leavening of the cake depends solely on how much air is whipped into the eggs. Heating the sugar and whole eggs before whipping helps the eggs attain the maximum volume possible, although a slightly denser, still satisfying, version of the cake can be made without this step. Some génoises, such as this recipe, contain a little butter, which tenderizes the crumb.

Ingredients:


For the génoise:



  • 4 eggs

  • 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

  • 3⁄4 cup cake flour, sifted

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    For the filling and finish:


For the filling and finish:



  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 tsp. kirsch 

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 2 tsp. confectioners’ sugar

  • 3 cups strawberries, hulled and cut into
    1⁄2-inch slices, plus 6 strawberries,
    halved lengthwise, for garnish


Directions:


To make the génoise, preheat an oven to 375°F. Line the bottom of a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan with parchment paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the eggs and granulated sugar by hand until combined. Place the bowl over but not touching simmering water in a saucepan. Gently whisk until the mixture registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 3 minutes. Put the bowl on the mixer and beat with the whisk on high speed until the mixture is pale and almost tripled in volume, 5 to 8 minutes.

Remove the bowl from the mixer. Sift the flour over the egg mixture in 2 additions and carefully fold in with a large rubber spatula. Fold a large dollop into the melted butter, then fold back into the egg mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until the top of the cake is browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Run a table knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake onto a work surface. Turn the cake right side up, leaving the parchment paper in place. Cut the cake into 2 equal layers. Put the top layer, cut side up, on a serving plate.

To make the filling and finish, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let the sugar syrup cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, stir together the kirsch and sugar syrup. Brush the cake with about half of the syrup. Whip the cream and confectioners' sugar to soft peaks. Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl. Fold about one-fourth of the cream into the berries. Spread the mixture evenly on top of the cake. Position the remaining cake layer, cut side down, on top. Peel off the paper. Brush with the remaining syrup. Spread the top and sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.

Thinly slice 1 strawberry half and place it in the center of the cake. Arrange the remaining halves around the edge of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 8 to 10.






Happy trying it out! Wish you all the luck in the world hehe!

xx, Nadia!

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