Monday, April 16, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Short Cake Using A Spectacular Sponge Cake Recipe

Second verse, same as the first!  Yes, it's Monday again and we had one terrific weekend.  How about you?  The weather was gorgeous, our grandson played his first little league game and our trip to the farmer's market yielded one amazing surprise.  Fresh local strawberries are already in!  Made me want to do cartwheels.  They are way early this year because it has been so warm, but that is a-okay with us because we got to have fresh strawberries on a from scratch sponge cake with fresh whipped cream.  My oh my oh my, is it ever good!

Look how beautiful these strawberries are!  Fresh local berries are always better than the ones you get in the grocery because they don't have to pick them so early.  They are ripe and juicy and make a lovely syrup when you slice them and macerate them with a little sugar.  The ones you get year round at the grocery never seem to make any juice, although it is nice to have fresh berries all year round.  That is a luxury we did not have back in the "old" days.  There is just nothing like those first delicious, red ripe berries.  Mm Mm Mm

I bought a whole flat of strawberries because I just could not resist their beauty and fragrance and knew they would be delicious.  I shared some with our daughter's families and kept some for us to enjoy.  I wanted to make a fresh cake to "decorate" with all those lovely berries, so I decided on a sponge cake -which is better than angel food in my book.  In other words, sponge cake is just perfect for serving with berries.  It's light and airy and has a slight hint of lemon flavor and soaks up all that wonderful strawberry juice.  Yum!  Are you drooling yet?

The recipe I used is called American Sponge Cake from the Joy of  It is a really good cake.  And don't worry, as our grandson said, it doesn't taste like sponge at all.

Here is what you need:


6 large eggs separated
1 cup granulated sugar divided
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP water
zest of 1 medium lemon
1 cup sifted cake flour (I use Swans Down)
3/4 tsp cream of tartar

Separate the eggs while they are cold.  Cover with plastic wrap to keep a film from forming.  Bring to room temperature by letting them sit out about 30 minutes.

Sift the cake flour to which 1/4 cup of sugar has been added.  Measure another 1/4 cup sugar and set aside for beating with the egg whites.

Place final 1/2 cup of sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and use paddle attachment. (This is where a stand mixer like a Kitchen Aid comes in really handy).  Add the egg yolks and beat on high for about 5 minutes or until thick and fluffy.  Batter will fall back in like a slow ribbon.  Add vanilla, water, and lemon zest.  Mix.  Sift the flour/sugar mixture over batter but do not fold in!

In another clean bowl, using whisk attachment for your mixer, whip the eggs until foamy.  Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  Gradually add 1/4 cup of reserved sugar and beat until shiny stiff peaks form.  Gently fold in some of the egg whites just to lighten up the batter, then fold in all the rest just until incorporated.  Do not over mix.  (To fold, use a spatula and lift batter and egg whites from bottom of bowl over top of batter.  Do this until all egg whites are incorporated).  Pour the batter into an UNGREASED tube pan.  (This allows more air into the batter so cake will be light and fluffy).  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Test center of cake with toothpick to make sure it is done.  Remove immediately from oven and invert cake pan onto little feet and let cool at least one hour.
When cake is cool, turn pan right side up.  Run a knife around the outside edge of cake and remove tube from pan.  Run a knife around bottom of cake and around center tube.  Remove cake by turning sideways and catching with your hand.  Place on tray or platter.
See how pretty it looks?  It tastes even better.
Now, the fun begins and it's all up to you.  Slice a piece of cake and place it on a plate.  Pile on the strawberries and lots of juice so it soaks in the cake.  Top with whipped topping.  I like fresh whipped cream so I used some I had just made.  Feel free to use Cool Whip or canned whipped cream if you prefer.  If you want to add ice cream, be my guest!  Dan likes it that way.  I like it without.  Just personal preference.  But, look at that beautiful dessert.  See how the juice begins to seep into the cake.  Yum. Yum. Yum.

I hope it's not long before fresh berries start to come in where you are so you can try this fabulous cake recipe and have your own strawberry shortcake.  This cake will also be great with peaches, or blueberries.  Wow, it's going to be a great summer!

Everyday Donna

Things to Remember:

Strawberries are the angels of the earth, innocent and sweet with green leafy wings reaching heavenward.  ~Terri Guillemets