Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake
Going through recipes for my next book I came across notes for this dessert I made a few times back in 2018, I used a sponge cake recipe I found in "Better Homes & Garden" cookbooks from the 1950's I picked up a yard sale. This is a great spin on strawberry shortcake.
⅔ cup/85 grams cake flour
¼ cup Olive Oil
4 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 pounds of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup creme fresh
1/2 cup raw sugar
salt to taste
Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper
In a wide, medium bowl, combine the egg whites, 1/4 cup sugar, the kosher salt, and cream of tartar. Beat the mixture with a hand mixer fitted with the beaters on medium-low speed until the mixture looks frothy, then start to slowly increase the speed to medium-high. Continue to beat the egg whites until you have a dense, voluminous, glossy foam that forms stiff peaks, about 4 minutes. When you lift the beaters out of the bowl, the egg whites should come to a straight point that doesn’t droop. Don’t beat beyond this point, or the whites will become dry and lumpy. Set the bowl aside.
In a separate wide bowl, combine the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Beat with the hand mixer (no need to wash it after you beat the egg whites) on medium-high until the mixture is very pale and fluffy and forms a slowly dissolving ribbon as it falls off the beaters back into the bowl, about 4 minutes. Slowly stream in the 1/4 cup oil, beating constantly to ensure it emulsifies into the yolk mixture until you have a smooth, light mixture that looks like mayonnaise.
Reduce the mixer to the lowest speed, add half of the flour and mix just until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon water, mix until incorporated, then add the remaining flour and mix just until it disappears. The mixture will have thickened and looks a bit like cake batter.
Fold the yolk mixture once or twice with a large flexible spatula to make sure it’s evenly mixed, then scrape about a third of the egg white mixture into the yolk mixture and thoroughly fold in the whites until the mixture is loosened. Working more gently, fold in half of the remaining egg whites until only a few streaks remain. Fold in the remaining whites, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl, until you have a light, smooth, evenly mixed batter.
Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth into an even layer. Firmly rap the pan on the surface once or twice to pop any large air bubbles. Bake the cake until it’s golden brown, firm, and springy to the touch across the entire surface, 30 to 35 minutes for a 9-inch cake. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert the pan onto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely upside down to prevent it from collapsing.
Reinvert the cooled pan and cut along the sides with a small offset spatula or paring knife to loosen the cake. It will sink a bit, which is normal. Remove the ring of the springform pan, invert the cake onto the rack, and carefully peel off the bottom of the pan.
Place a small saucepan over medium-high heat or a double boiler, place about an inch of water in the pan. Reduce heat to a simmer once a boil has been achieved
Place about a quarter of the sliced berries into a bowl or the top of the double along with the sugar, simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, until the berries are swimming a nice red translucent liquid/sauce. Strain and discard the solids, set liquid aside.
Place in a stand mixer the cream, creme fresh, and a pinch of salt, and whip until firm and holds medium peaks, cover, and place in the fridge.
Assembling the cake
Once the cake is cool, slice into even layers.
Place bottom layer on a serving plater and brush with several tablespoons of strawberry syrup made earlier. Let sit for a few minutes.
Place the top layer on a plate, cut side up and rush with syrup, and set aside.
Next, add a dollop of cream on top of the bottom layer and spread it out evenly. Arrange the sliced strawberries on top of the cream, add a bit more cream on top of sliced berries and place the top layer, cut side down on top, and press lightly to set.
Now you can dust the top with powder sugar and place strawberries on top or place the remaining cream on top, spread to the edge, and place more cut strawberries on top.
This dessert is best served the same day but will hold a few days in the fridge.
Serve with the remaining syrup.