On Mother's Day my sweet husband who would rather do dishes than cook (and he doesn't like to do dishes), made me breakfast. He wanted to whip some cream to serve with our pancakes. He poured the cream into our bosch and whipped it on high until it was stiff. After it was already stiff he added sugar and whipped on high again. "Um, Allison? I think you need to come in here. The sugar ruined the cream somehow." I came in and started laughing. The sugar wasn't the culprit but over whipping was. My husband had made butter. I enjoyed being able to tease my husband about it. We all had a good laugh and used our (sweet) butter in cookies that we made that night.
Fast forward to Fathers Day. I made the French Strawberry Cake for dessert and as I whipped the cream for the frosting I had to grab something from the next room. I had only planned on being gone 20 seconds so I let the mixer go. Of course I end up taking longer and when I got back sure enough I made butter too. I think whipped cream will now be banned on Mother's/Fathers's Day in our house.
I was excited to try making genoise. I don't think I have ever even eaten genoise let alone make it. Genoise has no chemical leavening and it's airiness comes completely from whipped eggs. It was completely new to me and that is something I love about cooking. I love trying something new and being able to say "I made that." Just follow the recipe and you can do just about anything. Bonus is while you are chatting on the phone you can mention in passing "Oh I'm just making some genoise." It sounds great.
The French Strawberry Cake is really quite delicious. I was worried about the genoise being dry but since there are two layers of strawberries and whipped cream it turns out perfect. If you were to use a moist American cake it probably would end up mushy and overly sweet. I made the recipe twice. The second time I did not have cake flour and used all purpose flour with a tablespoon of cornstarch instead. I can't see that it made any difference. Also, the second time I did not sift the flour mixture onto wax paper but instead mixed them in a bowl with a whisk. This also seemed to be fine. The only change I would make to the recipe is to increase the amount of whip cream frosting that you make. The first time I did not have enough frosting to pipe rosettes on the top.
The recipe comes from Baking with Julia and the contributing baker to this recipe is Flo Braker. Check out my co-host this week Sophia of Sophia's Sweets. She is fifteen years old and is baking up a storm. Check out her blog, I'm sure you will be impressed. To see other's opinions and posts on the cake go here.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 pints fresh strawberries hulled and sliced
1/4-1/3 cup sugar (to taste)
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 large strawberries (with hulls)
Preheat oven to 350.
Grease and flour a 8 inch cake pan and fit the bottom of the pan with an 8 inch circle of parchment paper (I just used the baking spray with flour in it-no paper).
Pour the melted butter into a 1 quart bowl and set aside.
Sift the flour, salt and one tablespoon of the sugar together onto wax paper and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and add the remaining sugar. Using the whisk attachment (or handheld mixer) mix on medium (I actually found high to work better for me) until it is "airy, pale, and tripled in volume like softly whipped cream." If you drop some of the batter back into the bowl it should retain it's shape and sit on top for about 10 seconds. If yours does not, whip some more. Add vanilla extract during the last moments of whipping.
Sprinkle about 1/3 of the flour mixture onto the batter and very gently fold it in (scoop up some of the batter and fold it over on top of the flour) with a rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the flour in 2 more additions. DO NOT OVER MIX! The batter will deflate slightly and that's OK. I was afraid of over mixing and still had a few dry spots and it turned out fine.
Take about one cup of the batter and fold it into the bowl with the melted butter then fold that mixture in with the rest of the batter.
Pour into your prepared 8 inch cake pan and bake for 25 to 27 minutes. The recipe states that before baking you should use a spatula to move batter from the center to the outside to make slightly raised edges. I just give the pan a little spin on my counter top and like a little centrifuge it makes the outside part of the cake slightly higher.
The cake is done when it springs back slightly when touched. Let it cool on a rack for 5-10 minutes only (I am impatient and only waited about 2). Then carefully invert it and remove the cake. Remove the paper (if you used it) turn it right side up (I left it upside down because when it is covered with frosting you can't tell which side is up anyway).
Prepare the berries by tossing them with sugar and letting them sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Then give them a light mashing and let it sit for another hour.
For the cream, whip all the ingredients in a mixer with whisk attachment (don't leave the room and make butter). You want a soft whip cream not stiff. Tracks made my the whisk should close slowly and almost disappear.
To assemble the cake slice the cake into three layers. A turn table is helpful for this. Take a serrated knife and slice into it a third of the way down. Turn the table and slice a little more until you get all around the cake. Then slice a little deeper until you get through the middle. Repeat with the next layer. (I have not tried it but others reported that the cake was easier to slice when slightly frozen.)
Between each of the layers spread half the strawberries strained from their syrup, and a small layer of whipped cream. Ice the top and the sides of the cake with the whipped cream saving about a half cup for decorating. Spoon the remaining whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe 10 rosettes around the top of the cake leaving about an inch between the rosettes.
Slice each berry in half from tip to stem leaving some of the green on each half. Place each berry half on a rosette. Refrigerate at least an hour before serving.