Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Swedish Strawberry Cake

Swedish Strawberry Cake
My friend requests this cake every year for her birthday!  It is smooth, creamy and full of strawberry deliciousness as my friend would say.  :)  The inside is filled with a rum drenched sponge cake and a homemade vanilla custard AND MORE strawberries!!!  This cake is a little labor intensive but it is worth it – promise!!
The Sponge Cake is from Cook’s Illustrated:
Cook's Illustrated

Foolproof Sponge Cake

Makes two 8- or 9-inch cakes.   Published September 1, 1998.  
The egg whites should be beaten to soft, glossy, billowy peaks. If beaten until too stiff, they will be very difficult to fold into the whole-egg mixture.
cup cake flour
cup unbleached all-purpose flour
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon table salt
tablespoons milk
tablespoons unsalted butter
teaspoon vanilla extract
eggs , room temperature
cup granulated sugar

  1. 1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8- or 9-inch cake pans and cover pan bottoms with a round of parchment paper. Whisk flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl (or sift onto waxed paper). Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan over low heat until butter melts. Remove from heat and add vanilla; cover and keep warm.

  2. 2. Separate three of the eggs, placing whites in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or large mixing bowl if using hand mixer or whisk) and reserving the 3 yolks plus remaining 2 whole eggs in another mixing bowl. Beat the 3 whites on high speed (or whisk) until whites are foamy. Gradually add 6 tablespoons of the sugar; continue to beat whites to soft, moist peaks. (Do not overbeat.) If using a standing mixer, transfer egg whites to a large bowl and add yolk/whole egg mixture to mixing bowl.

  3. 3. Beat yolk/whole egg mixture with remaining 6 tablespoons sugar. Beat on medium-high speed (setting 8 on a KitchenAid) until eggs are very thick and a pale yellow color, about 5 minutes (or 12 minutes by hand). Add beaten eggs to whites.

  4. 4. Sprinkle flour mixture over beaten eggs and whites; fold very gently 12 times with a large rubber spatula. Make a well in one side of batter and pour milk mixture into bowl. Continue folding until batter shows no trace of flour, and whites and whole eggs are evenly mixed, about 8 additional strokes.

  5. 5. Immediately pour batter into prepared baking pans; bake until cake tops are light brown and feel firm and spring back when touched, about 16 minutes for 9-inch cake pans and 20 minutes for 8-inch cake pans.

  6. 6. Immediately run a knife around pan perimeter to loosen cake. Cover pan with large plate. Using a towel, invert pan and remove pan from cake. Peel off parchment. Re-invert cake from plate onto rack, (see illustrations below). Repeat with remaining cake and continue with one of the related recipes.
Folding Without Deflating

1. With spatula perpendicular to the batter, cut through the center down to the bottom of the bowl.

2. Holding the spatula blade flat against the bowl, scoop along bottom, then slide up the side of the bowl.

3. Fold over, lifting the spatula high so that the batter falls without the spatula pressing down the batter.
The Strawberry Summer Cake came from Yum Sugar
Strawberry Filling
4 pints (2 l) fresh strawberries
a couple of spoonfuls of sugar to sprinkle over the top
Vanilla Custard
2 cups (5 dl) milk
5 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, cut in two lengthwise
2 tablespoons corn starch
1/3 cup (3/4 dl) sugar
1/2 cup dark rum
2 cups (5 dl) heavy cream (for decoration)
This is how you do it
Carefully cut the sponge cake into three horizontal layers. Brush the rum onto the top of each layer.
Save half of the strawberries for decoration. Slice the rest of the strawberries and place in a bowl. Mix in the sugar and let it rest until the sugar has dissolved. It should become a little syrupy.
Vanilla Custard
Bring the milk, with the vanilla bean added, to a simmer. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and corn starch. Add 1 tablespoon of water if the mixture becomes too thick. Remove the vanilla bean and then pour the milk over the egg mixture and whisk briskly. Pour the mixture back into the pot. Gently reheat the mixture and continue whisking until it becomes thick and creamy. Pour the cream through a sieve and let cool. Whip 2/3 cup of the heavy cream and fold it in the custard.
Spread half of the vanilla custard and then half of the strawberry filling on the bottom layer of the sponge cake. Place the second layer on top of this and press gently. Repeat the above process before placing the last layer of sponge cake on top.
Tip! If you have extra time on your hands, you may cover the cake in plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 24 hours before decorating. This will give the flavors time to settle a bit and will make a great cake even better! True story!
For serving
Whip the remaining cream. Use a pastry bag with a spout to decorate, working it in an upward movement all around the cake. To crown the work add the remaining strawberries on top.
Tip:  Make sure the cake stays cold (like in the fridge) until ready to serve.  Especially if you are serving this cake in the summer (the cream will melt)…

Monday, August 2, 2010

Art for Pennies

I don’t know about the rest of you but I have gotten to the point where I am so tired of mass produced art I could scream!  Well, maybe not scream but I have decided I am not going to buy anymore.  I have been playing with different types of art – acrylic painting, pastels, drawing and even some art with a spray can which I will show you later.  I want to inspire you to break out of the box!  Stop worrying about being perfect!  You can always start over, and on the same canvas in most cases.  I was always daunted by painting because I was afraid that I was going to spend money on a canvas, then screw it up and then be stuck with a crappy canvas that I didn’t like!  Then I learned about Gesso, whish is really just a canvas primer (I also use latex primer from Sherwin Williams).  If you are working on a piece and you for some reason manage to royally screw it up – Gesso over it!  Start over!  It is really liberating and I have an original piece of art work that no one else in the WORLD has…. :)
I dare you to try it.  Michaels, Hobby Lobby and A.C. Moore are always having sales on their canvas and the acrylic paints are about $1 each.  You don’t need any fancy brushes – just the cheap ones that kids use will work great (I use a brush for painting walls).
Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures as I was working but if you would like some help check out this blog tutorial.  She is one of my favorites!

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