For those of you who are new to my blog, this is recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s book called Baking with Julia. Each “Tuesday” a group of 400+ bakers blog about a pre-selected recipe. There are two “hosts” that are “allowed” to share the actual recipe. Sophie – and Allison this week. You can check out the French Strawberry Cake recipe on their webpage or BUY DORIE’S BOOK! 🙂 With that said, I won’t be going into a ton of details, since I can’t post the full recipe details. I will post some pictures, a video (oh la la) about what I did though and show you the assembly process.
I live in Virginia where summers are hot and humid! So, after dinner, I usually crave something cool and light. (Yes, a beer sometimes fills that need!)
French Strawberry Cake is a “technical” strawberry shortcake. Because let’s be honest, we all know there is an “easy” 3 ingredient recipe on the back of the Bisquick box! But this recipe is worth the time and tastes better, I promise!
I began this blog because of a fellow student at U of Richmond, Jean Marie Kennedy. She mentioned the concept of online baking with other bloggers. I loved the idea of reading about other people’s process of baking and what their feedback was on recipes. I had never blogged before so that whole part was very NEW to me.
As a mom, it’s rare that I find time for things that I like to do. I think most mom’s are like this. We are always putting everyone else’s needs first. This blog allows ME to come first. It forces me to get into the kitchen, crank up my music (so no one can hear me sing) and bake. It allows me to hone my skills. Baking is like anything else … you must practice, practice and practice. Thank you, Jean Marie, for helping me find my passion!
The French cake that we are going to use today is a Genoise. I had made one a few years ago when I did a two-day baking workshop at Sur La Table. Genoise is not your traditional moist cake. It’s dry, on purpose, so you can brush the layers with liquor, sugar syrup or even dollop with whipped cream. The cake soaks up all of those flavors and moisture.
While the cake is cooling, I hull 4 cups of strawberries and add a small amount of sugar to sweeten the berries. Set aside for about two hours.
After the cake has cooled, I begin to work on building my layers. I learned a great trick in a cooking class where the chef demonstrated that you can actually use a Lazy Susan to help frost cakes. You can pick one up at BBB (Bed Bath Beyond) for about $10.
It makes it really easy to frost because you can easily spin it. I also buy disposable cake plates because my dishes have a lip on them which makes it hard to frost the lower part of the cake.
The one tricky part of the recipe is that you are suppose to CUT the cake into three layers. Okay, you may not think that is really hard … but the cake doesn’t really “rise” so it’s only about an inch thick! This was part of the TECHNICAL that I mentioned earlier. I succeeded in three layers … but it wasn’t pretty! lol I need to practice that more! My Aunt Denise recommended that I used dental floss. I will try that next time!
Layer 1 – Spread half the strawberries evenly on the cake and then top with whipped cream.
Layer 2-Repeat with remaining strawberries and top with whipped cream.
Layer 3 – Top with the final layer of cake and then frost with the remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate until ready to serve!
Again, this was really easy, looked great and was very refreshing on a hot summer evening. Next time, I will whip my heavy cream so it’s a bit stiffer in hopes that it will hold up a little better. I’d also add a few fresh strawberries and maybe some green mint leaves from the garden on top for a nice presentation. We ate this cake so fast though that thankfully it didn’t need to hold up more than a day!
If anyone has an easy technique for cutting cake layers please let me know. I have seen plenty of contraptions over the years but none that look easy enough for me! My long serrated knife works great when I am only cutting 2 layers but that third was pretty thin. (as in … technically probably NOT an actual layer!)
For those of you who know me personally, you know I am not shy. However, I’ve been a bit shy about writing this blog. It’s very revealing to open up yourself and have people read your thoughts and see your passion. I am thankful that you are all friends and have been so supportive!
Alright, since there are strawberries in the cake , I figured I could SKIP a day at the gym! I mean it’s GOT to be healthy, right? Lol
Bake on, find YOUR passion and enjoy summer while it’s here!
PS: For those of you who are looking for an easier or faster alternative to the genoise cake … just use a box cake and follow all the other directions! 🙂