Strawberry Country Cake

March 31, 2011 § 3 Comments

Lately, I’m addicted to Daniel Klein’s Perennial Plate episodes from Season 1, a year in Minnesota.  He, along with his videographer/girlfriend Mirra, filmed a year-long web-documentary series about sustainable food and these weekly 5-minute videos are ridiculously entertaining and interesting. I suggest you start with Episode 50: A duck 5 ways, and then move on to Episode 9: Chickens and Eggs, then Episode 39: Frozen Eggs, and then…all of them.  They are going to begin filming season 2 “A Year on the Road” in May and I can’t wait to continue following their story and discoveries! They are awesome.

So I suppose it is a little ironic that I did not follow a very sustainable and local food-path when choosing to bake a strawberry country cake for my dad’s birthday.  At the very tail end of March. I have no excuses. But I will try and only make this again in May, when strawberries are actually in season. Watch out May and June birthdays!

I love whipping cream (both the noun and verb forms of it) and that brings me to share my little surprise…I caved and got the Kitchenaid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer. In White.  I deliberated all day, accosting my poor friends on Google Chat and asking one of my bosses, what color to get this mixer, and after an almost definite Citron-choice, I chose White.  With the amazingness of Amazon Prime, I got it overnight for a $3.00 shipping fee. WHIPPING CREAM HAS NEVER BEEN BETTER OR MORE EXCITING!  And I was SO excited to try a little secret I learned while researching this recipe…the secret to make homemade whipped cream the best it can possibly be. Marshmallows. They are the “Viagra to homemade whipped cream.” Trust me.

A few notes about this recipe:

1. I halved Ina Garten’s original cake recipe because it doesn’t make sense.  She says it makes two cakes, and then you are supposed to freeze the second one and not use it. It’s very odd.  So, I halved it and it was the perfect amount, since you are supposed to cut the cake in half.

2. The cake itself: It is a coarser cake, with the kind of texture you would find in a great strawberry short-cake recipe.  I liked it a lot, it was very good and was a great compliment to the airy whipped cream.  I am going to try using a different cake recipe next time, however, perhaps something a little spongier and lighter, and I will let you know how it turns out!  In the interim, this cake is more than fine, and I highly recommend it.

3. I doubled the whipped cream quantities because 1 cup didn’t seem like enough.  It was a good call, it’s much better to have too much whipped cream than not enough!  And there wasn’t too much left over.

4. Try not to eat the strawberries when making this…like I did.  You might run out…almost like I did.

5. I cut the sugar in the whipped cream, since I added two marshmallows.  This was also a good call, it was the perfect sweetness.

6. I used a square pan!  If you are using a round 8 inch cake pan, cook for 40 minutes instead of 35.

7. This cake is where strawberries go to whipped cream heaven.

Strawberry Country Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten

For the cake:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1/3 cup sour cream, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

For the filling:

2 cups heavy cream, chilled

4 tablespoons sugar

2 jumbo marshmallows

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8×8 inch square pan liberally.

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, then the sour cream, zest, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth. DO NOT OVERMIX.

Pour the batter evenly into the pan, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then remove to wire racks and let cool to room temperature. The edges should slightly separate from the inside of the pan.

To make the filling for one cake, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until firm.  In a microwave-safe plate, heat 2 jumbo-sized marshmallows for 11 seconds and then immediately whisk into the cream.  Be amazed.

Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife. Place the bottom slice of the cake on a serving platter, spread with 1/2 the whipped cream and scatter with sliced strawberries. Cover with the top slice of the cake and spread with the remaining cream. Decorate with strawberries.  Don’t worry about it looking all pretty and clean, the sloppier you are, the more “rustic” it looks. 🙂

Enjoy.  This is really delicious.

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