Month: April 2010

>Strawberry Cake, Part I

>I want a pink cake for Cora’s first birthday. So strawberry cake, right? Except most of the recipes out there for strawberry cake involve a box mix and a package of Jell-O. I’m okay with box mixes when you have a craving for cake and need it fast. They are tasty, but I’m not a fan of Jell-O. It’s far from being vegetarian. (I’d much rather have a big, juicy burger than a derivative of animal bones, although I do admit to being a fan of roasted marshmallows which also contain gelatin. So I guess I’m a hypocrite. But I digress.) So I searched the Internet and find several recipes that contain only real berries and decided to use my favorite white cake recipe–which I actually use as a yellow cake recipe also, by adding egg yolks instead of whites only–and replace the milk with crushed berries. But I wanted it to be very strawberry-y, so I added more berries, thus making the batter too thin–so it didn’t rise enough for my liking, although it was delicious and very moist.

My original yellow cake recipe adapted from Joy of Cooking (Rombauer and Becker, 1931).

2 1/4 c. sifted cake flour
1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 c. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. milk

Cream butter and sugar together with mixer. Mix in eggs. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Add flour and milk alternately to butter mixture, mixing in between additions. Divide between two 9 inch round baking pans lined with waxed or parchment paper. Do *not* grease the sides of the pan. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes.

See how flat this layer is? It had no rise to it at all when it came out.
(Oh, and I put in a few blueberries if you’re wondering.)

Take 2–I got some suggestions from my dear friends on Soggy Granola. I was told that Trader Joe’s carried strawberry powder, which was simply ground freeze-dried strawberries. Of course, Athens has no Trader Joe’s, much to my disappointment. And I am not driving to Atlanta or Norcross this week to get them. So I called Earth Fare. All they had was dehydrated strawberries. Not at all the same thing. So I went with my first instinct. Kanten flakes, also known as agar agar.

This is what the berries look like after cooked with the agar and then chilled.

They mashed better than I had expected and blended in the batter with no problem.

My new strawberry cake recipe:

1T agar agar flakes
1 c. crushed strawberries (I used frozen and thawed them.)

Combine agar agar flakes with crushed strawberries in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and boil gently for about 5 minutes. Refrigerate until cool and gelled. (It will gel only when cool.) Remove from pan and mash with fork so that it no longer takes the shape of the pan.

2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
3 t. baking powder
1/2 c. butter, softened
1 1/4 c. sugar
2 eggs
1/4 t. lemon extract
1 t. lemon juice
1/4 c. soymilk
3/4 c. crushed strawberries (I used frozen and thawed them.)

Cream butter and sugar together with mixer. Mix in eggs. Combine flour, salt and baking powder. Combine milk, 3/4 c. crushed berries, lemon extract, and lemon juice. Mix in mashed, gelled berries. Add flour and liquid mixture alternately in 3 parts to butter mixture, mixing in between additions. Divide between two 9 inch round baking pans lined with waxed or parchment paper. Do *not* grease the sides of the pan. Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

I have yet to perfect the strawberry frosting which is a modified buttercream. It’s needs to be thicker and has a bit too much of the powdered sugar texture. I will probably use some gelled berries in this final recipe as well, and perhaps some meringue powder.
From this, which I put between each cake layer and used as a crumb coat over the entire cake. . .
1/3 c. butter, softened
about a cup crushed strawberries
2 c. + powdered sugar

To this. . .
1/2 c. butter, softened
4 c. powdered sugar
4 T meringue powder*
Beat above ingredients with electric mixer.
Then add
1 c. crushed strawberries boiled with 1 T agar agar for 5 minutes, then chilled until gelled
Beat until fluffy.
I did add a few drops of red food coloring to make it just the right color of pink.

And. . .

ta-dah. . . .




moist, yet dense, and most definitely strawberry with no artificial flavor!

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