I follow Hungry Rabbit NYC and he told the most lovely story from his childhood and made the most beautiful cake for his mother for Mother’s Day!
Ken, otherwise known as HungryRabbitNYC, takes amazing photographs and builds an even more amazing cake.
My photos aren’t nearly as good, and my skills don’t seem to be as sharpened as Ken’s but this cake was delicious!
Strawberry n Cream Cake
recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
1 tablespoon lemon zest, freshly grated
1 cup sugar (7 ounces)
1-1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 pounds fresh strawberries (medium or large, use 3 quarts), washed, dried, reserve 8-10 strawberries (stems in tacked) for decoration
4–6 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons rum
Pinch table salt
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (3-1/2 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups heavy cream
1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9 by 2-inch cake line with parchment paper, grease and flour, set aside.
2. Add lemon zest and all but 3 tablespoons sugar in large mixing bowl, rub with fingers until sugar is slightly moist and takes on a pale yellow color. Add flour, baking powder, salt, whisk to combine. add 2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water and both extracts; whisk until smooth.
3. In clean bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes. With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form,about 2 minutes. Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white streaks remain.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 25-35 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment. Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.
5. Stemmed and halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2-3/4 cup). Place macerated berries in food processor fitted with metal blade, give it five 1-second pulses (you should have about 2 cups).
6. In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and rum until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, about 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.
1. Place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2-1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed.
ASSEMBLE THE CAKE
1. Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers. Place bottom layer on cake plate and arrange half of the strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour one half of pureed berry mixture in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently. Repeat with remaining strawberry halves and berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with reserved strawberries. Chill for 1-2 hours.
The aroma of the batter; full of lemon zest and vanilla, was intoxicating!
We wanted to eat it fresh out of the oven!
The texture is also fantastic and I could see using this recipe for other fruity type cakes, heavy frostings, or nut fillings.
I am a bit sloppy campared to Ken who seems to be an engineer of all things Baked!
Thank you Hungry Rabbit for a beautiful recipe and for inspiring me to make this cake for myself on Mother’s Day!
You may not have a pre made crust on hand but you most certainly have flour, butter and water!
The recipe is so easy and so delicious you’ll have a fresh homemade pie in no time.
This recipe makes two crusts. Freeze one for a quickie treat later!
Makes 1 double-crust for a 9-inch pie
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons margarine or chilled vegetable shortening
1/4 cup ice water
1.Hand Method: In a large bowl, sift the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter and margarine into 1-tablespoon bits and add to the flour. With a pastry cutter, work flour and shortening together until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water little by little pressing the pastry together into a ball. Wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
2.It is very important to work the pastry as little as possible. Don’t overhandle. A secret to light, flaky pastry is to keep the mixture cool, add as little water as possible, and mix only as much as necessary.
3.Food Processor Method: Put flour and salt in bowl of machine. Cut butter and margarine into flour. Process a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. Drop by drop add the water, processing very briefly. The whole process would take 20 to 30 seconds. Wrap and chill the pastry for at least 1 hour.
4.If pastry has been chilled for a long time, let it sit at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before rolling.
5.Lightly flour a pastry board, marble counter, or kitchen counter. Divide the pastry in half. Pat each piece of pastry into a flat round. Lightly flour the rolling pin. Roll pastry in one direction only, turning pastry continually to prevent it from sticking to the surface.
6.Using pie plate as a guide, measure rolled-out pastry — it should be slightly larger than the pie plate and 1-8-inch thick. Fold rolled pastry circle in half so you can lift it more easily. Unfold, gently fitting the pastry into the pie plate, allowing pastry to hang evenly over the edge. Do not trim the pastry yet.
7.Fill the pie with filling. Then roll out the second crust in the same manner as for the bottom. Fold circle in half and with a sharp, pointed knife cut little vents in a decorative pattern. Place folded pastry on one half the pie. Unfold, pressing top and bottom pastry together. Trim edges with scissors, leaving a 1/2-inch overhang. Fold bottom pastry overhang over top and press firmly to seal. Crimp rim, using fingers or the tines of a fork.
Roll out the crust.
Make it look pretty.
As for the filling I just used what I had on hand and got fancy!
I created layers by mixing some whipped cream with some pudding but you could just as easily do a layer of pudding; I used instant chocolate, and whipped cream; I made my own!
First layer of chocolate pudding.
Mix some whipped cream with chocolate pudding for a special layer of creamy yumminess!
3 tablespoons (42 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
3/4 cup (100 grams) Thompson raisins
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) buttermilk (soured milk)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture, with a pastry blender or two knives, until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in the raisins. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add most of the buttermilk. Using yours hands, or a wooden spoon, mix (adding more buttermilk if necessary) until you have a soft moist dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and gently knead the dough into a 7 inch (18 cm) round. Place the round on your prepared baking sheet and then, with a sharp knife, cut a 1/4 inch deep “X” across the top of the bread.
Bake for about 40 – 50 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean. You can also test that is fully baked by tapping the bottom of the bread – it should sound hollow. Remove from oven. This bread is wonderful when served warm with butter. It also makes great toast.
Makes one seven inch (18 cm) round raisin soda bread.
The dough hook on my Kitchen Aid mixer makes this a peice of cake!
I always use parchment paper.
This recipe is so quick and easy.
You can have warm bread in less than an hour!
What a great last minute surprise for breakfast.
Cold butter on warm bread is a special treat!
What is especially nice is that you can usually find most of these ingredients in your pantry at all times.
No buttermilk? Add lemon juice to milk!
No raisins? Use dried cranberries or prunes.
…even chocolate chips would work nicely and the kids will love it!
It’s that time of year and nothing says Autumn like pumpkins!
Pumpkin is great in soup, cheesecake, cookies, pies, breads, curries and more.
Cooking with Fresh Pumpkin
There’s no shame in using canned pumpkin. Even professional bakers do it. But if you’re using fresh, choose small, flavorful sugar pie pumpkins–and save the big ones for carving. A four-pound pumpkin should yield about 1½ cups of puree.
To make pumpkin puree:
1. Cut the pumpkin in half and bake cut-side down, covered with foil, in a 375 degree F oven for about 90 minutes or until flesh is tender.
2. Allow to cool, scoop out the flesh, and puree.
3. Strain the puree for extra-silky smooth soups and custards.
A trip to a local farm introduced me to all kinds of squash and corn varieties.
The possibilities are vast and are not limited to baked goods.
Pumpkins are great in savory dishes and lend themselves to spicy flavors; think curry and roasted pepper.
Over the next few weeks I want to explore all things pumpkin, squash and corn!
Pumpkin Cheesecake Ingredients
1 1/2 cups graham cracker cookie crumbs
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
3 tablespoons brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups canned solid pack pumpkin
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan.
2.Using a fork, combine gingersnaps, hazelnuts, 3 tablespoons brown sugar and melted butter. Press mixture onto the bottom and two inches up the sides of the pan to form the crust.
3.With an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the pumpkin. Mix in the cream, maple syrup, cinnamon, allspice and vanilla. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing until smooth.
4.Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake in the preheated oven for 90 minutes, or until center of cheesecake is set. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then refrigerate overnight.
I have no idea what these are but I am willing to give them a try!
Nothing says comfort food like macaroni and cheese.
And there is no reason to resort to boxed products when homemade cheese sauce is so delicious, nutritious and easy!
Experiment with your favorite cheeses and get creative.
This recipe is the basic cheddar cheese sauce that we all remember.
There is a way to make this old favorite healthy and hardy with quality ingredients.
This cheese sauce starts with a basic roux and shredded cheddar cheese.
1 stick of butter
2-3 Tbspn flour
1 cup of half and half or whole milk
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
Add flour and allow it to bubble and cook for a few minutes
Then add milk creating a smooth and creamy sauce.
Add to the Roux,
1 and ½ to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
A pinch of Nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
And add enough milk or half and half to reach the desired consistency; which should be creamy and not too thick, approximately the thickness of heavy cream.
Stir over low heat and allow to cook into a creamy, rich sauce.
Stir in cooked whole wheat shells or the macaroni of your choice.
This is the basic sauce. To the roux you can add any cheese you like.
You can also add ingredients like crushed garlic, capers sautéed onions, mushrooms, fresh green onions or sautéed leeks.
The list is endless.
Macaroni and cheese can go from simple and familiar to gourmet and sophisticated in no time.
The most important ingredient is your imagination!