I baked my brother & his best friend their favorite cake for their birthdays --- they happen to be born on the same day, too --- Strawberry Shortcake. The original recipe I was going to use required cake flour. Wouldn't you know it -- i ran out! I searched the web for substitutions and found some. Some said i could make my own cake flour by using one cup of all purpose flour, minus 2 tablespoons -- sift then measure or use all purpose flour plus corn starch. Then I read the reviews of the substitutions -- some said it worked; some said they produced a horrible looking/tasting cake.
I stumbled across Ina Garten's recipe for Strawberry Country Cake, which uses all-purpose flour plus cornstarch (sounds like a cake flour recipe to me). Well the cake definitely looked like a strawberry shortcake and I've been pretty successful making recipes from the chefs of Food Network and there were rave reviews about this cake... so i made Ina's cake.
I needed a slightly bigger cake so i increased the recipe by 1½ times. The recipe posted below yields two 8-inch cakes.
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Directions for the cakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the lined pans. I used a 10-inch square pan.
Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the sour cream, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth.
Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Reviewers of this recipe stated that the bake time was too much, so i started watching my cake at the 30 minute mark... only to forget that I was making a larger cake. So my baking time was off. By the 45 minute mark my cake was lightly brown but the middle was still very jiggly. So I decreased the temp. to 325 degrees and tacked on 15 minutes more. It actually took 25 minutes more, for a total baking time of 70 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature. If using 1 cake, wrap the second well and freeze.
For the frosting (which also was used as the filling), I needed a frosting that was sturdier than regular whipped cream. I wanted the entire cake frosted just like a bakery-bought strawberry shortcake. So I found a recipe for a sturdy whipped cream frosting, which used gelatin. The recipe posted below is double the original recipe. You can never have too much whipped cream!
Whipped Cream Frosting:
2 teaspoon gelatin
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, mix together the gelatin and 1/4 cup of the cream. Let rest for 5 minutes to soften, then place the bowl over barely simmering water until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to tepid. In the meantime, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until slightly thickened. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla and whip to the consistency of shaving cream. Fold 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the gelatin mixture, then fold in the rest.
Assembling the cake:
Take the cake and split into two layers. Here's one of the layers.
Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with whipped cream
Add sliced strawberries.
Add some more whipped cream.
Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with the remaining cream.
Decorate with strawberries.
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