Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Shortcake aux Fraises

It's not quite summer yet here in California, but strawberries are starting to show up everywhere. Although, it's true that you can find fresh berries all year around in CA, but they taste best in Summer.

I had a box full of over-ripened strawberries in the fridge. I have sooo many ideas of cakes and desserts when it comes to strawberries, strawberry tart, strawberry mousse cake, strawberry cheesecake, strawberry shortcake, you name it. They even look fabulous as garnish. They definitely contribute to the "wow" factor of a cake. Its vibrant red color, the fragrance, the shape, just make anything stands up among others.

I wasn't actually planning to make this cake. I just didn't want to waste the beautiful strawberries. I'm sure they'd go bad if I let them sitting in the fridge for a day or two longer. I had to use it up by using whatever I had in the fridge the other day. Since I didn't want to make something that requires multiple layers of filling, I decided to make this shortcake aux fraises, or what we would normally know as strawberry shortcake. Not the regular American shortcake, which uses shortcake as a base.

Nothing fancy, it's just two layers of vanilla chiffon cake, chantily cream flavored with Cointreau (orange liqueur), fresh strawberries, and clear neutral glaze on the top surface. I decided to decorate it like the traditional fraisier (French strawberry cake with Kirsch creme mousseline filling) decoration because I didn't have enough cream to cover the whole cake. Besides, I love this decoration. It's simple, elegant, and doesn't require much effort.


I also made chocolate leaves for the first time using fresh mint leaves. It turned out that it wasn't too difficult to do.

I get to taste the cake a couple of hours ago with my nephew. The chiffon cake was soft, with a light orange taste in the background, combined with the fresh taste of sweet strawberries. My nephew ate two slices by himself, and he doesn't normally like to eat. It doesn't have the complexity flavor of many other multilayer cakes, but yet tastes so simple and refreshing. I really can't wait for summer to come. I'm so looking forward going to farmers' market just to buy a couple boxes full of sugar-sweet strawberries. Seriously, I've never thought before that strawberries and even raspberries could be so sweet. All this time, I thought they're supposed to be tart and sour, but oh boy, what have I missed all these years. I would think twice, well maybe ten times before decided to buy berries from grocery store.

This is also my entry for the "Strawberry Seduction" event hosted by Mike. You can find the complete information about the event here.

Strawberry Seduction Logo

Vanilla Chiffon Cake

100 g cake flour
20 g cornstarch
pinch of salt
50 g sugar
75 g oil
100 g milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 eggs, separated
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
50 g sugar
  • Line the base of two 9-in round pans with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  • Sift together cake flour, cornstarch, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the sugar until well blended.
  • Add the oil, milk, and vanilla extract. Mix well.
  • Mix in the flour mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy, add the cream of tartar. Keep whisking until the bubbles are smaller. Add the second half of the sugar gradually and keep whisking until it reaches soft-peak stage.
  • Fold the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture in addition carefully so that you won’t deflate the air.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pans . Tap each pan gently against the countertop to remove the excess air bubbles.
  • Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Let cool.
Filling:
500 g heavy whipping cream, cold
4 Tbs. sugar
3 Tbs. Cointreau (or other orange-flavored liqueur)

Fresh sweet strawberries for filling and decoration
clear neutral glaze (optional)
  • Whip all of the ingredients until it reaches medium-stiff peak, but not dry.
To Assemble:
  • Prepare an 8.75 in round cake ring (or use smaller size) and cut the chiffon cakes to the size of the cake ring. Use cake ring only if you want to make it like the decoration in the picture. Otherwise, don't bother
  • Spread a layer of orange-flavored creme chantily and scatter the sliced strawberries on top.
  • Top with another layer of chiffon cake.
  • Cover the whole cake with the leftover cream if you prefer. Or if you want to decorate it like what I did, spread a thin layer of the filling on top of the cake.
  • Decorate all you want.

3 comments:

arab said...

from mike's blog: "...inviting all of the food bloggers out there to share their strawberry lust..."

wow that's a nice way to put it lol ^-^ it would be interesting to see what kinds of entries will be there for the roundup :D

SweetDesigns said...

amazing that cake is!! It looks too good to cut into!

Anonymous said...

how do you make the glaze?