Friday, June 4, 2010

In Anticipation - Strawberry Chiffon Cake

It's difficult, if not downright impossible, to speak of summer BBQ's without a certain tone of anticipation. In fact, I would venture to say there are only two tones of which they can be spoken about: anticipation, and nostalgia. There are BBQ's that have passed, and there are those that are yet to come.

I can wax poetic about the ones of yore, and present to you in dramatic fashion what was consumed, but in truth, I'm all about the anticipation of the next one. As long as that next one includes this cake:

I'm happy to say that this is a cake recipe that won't need much in terms of refining. Sometimes, a recipe turns out a home run on the first try. This is just such a recipe. Plunged into and devoured in mere seconds, as any good summer cake should be. And there is nothing about this cake that doesn't scream summer. Fresh berries, clouds upon clouds of whipped cream, and a light and moist crumb with just a hint of lemon. The cake is a similar texture to angel food...but better. It's a cake that comes together in a couple easy stages. I baked the actual cake mid-morning, let it cool on the windowsill (so cliche, I know) while I macerated the strawberries, and then finished it off at the BBQ by whipping the cream and assembling. Easy.

I'm going to go out on a limb and declare it the perfect summer BBQ cake. It's here. The search has ended, and I can anticipate many more of these to come.

Strawberry Chiffon Cake

For the Cake:

1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour
3/4 cup + 1 tbsp superfine sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cold water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 egg yolks, room temperature
4 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar

For the Filling:

2 cups heavy cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the strawberries:
1 cup strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/2 fresh lemon
1 tbsp sugar

Pre heat the oven to 325 and grease a 9 inch round cake pan. You can also line the bottom and sides with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

Sift the flour, baking powder, 3/4 cup of the sugar and salt together in a large bowl.

In another bowl, beat the yolks, water, oil, lemon zest and vanilla together on high until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until smooth.

In another large bowl, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the remaining tablespoon of superfine sugar, and beat until stiff peaks have formed.

Using a rubber spatula, gently combine the egg whites into the egg yolk batter. Gently fold together until the egg whites have disappeared, taking care not to stir too much. If it's over-stirred, the egg whites will fall. You just want to combine the two mixtures.

Scrape the batter into the cake pan and bake for 40-50 minutes. Check at 40 minutes for doneness. If a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, and the middle has a soft spring to it, the cake is done.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for about an hour. When the cake has cooled completely, slice into 3 layers using a serrated knife. Separate the layers onto separate plates for easy assembly.
While the cake is cooling, macerate the sliced strawberries with the juice of 1/2 a lemon, and about a tablespoon of sugar. Stir together and let sit in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble. The strawberries will release quite a bit of juice, which you'll want to spread on the cake layers.

Make the whipped cream filling by beating the egg whites, vanilla and sugar together on high until stiff peaks have formed.

Assemble the cake by starting with the bottom cake layer. Spread 1/3 of the strawberry mixture on the cake, top with some of the whipped cream. Add the next cake layer, and repeat the strawberries and cream on that layer. Finish with the last cake layer, adding berries on top of that. Finish by spreading the rest of the whipped cream over the cake until the cake is covered. Chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour to an hour until you're ready to serve.

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome recipe that I would love to give a try. Thank you very much for sharing this recipe with us as this is one of my favorite recipes. It would really go well with a hot cup of coffee made from my expresso maker