|Sorry about the huge image, but I'm rather proud of my first frosted shortcake.|
Japanese style strawberry shortcake is my favourite celebration cake. When my little girl still did not have a say in things, it was always strawberry shortcake for her birthdays.
This cake took more than a decade in the making. No, it is not a 10 year old cake. I have a mental block where fancy cakes are concerned - the last thing I wanted was to ruin a perfect cake to proof that I could do it.
Here's where the internet opens up my world - Lafujimama has a fantastic blog tutorial explaining how I can bake my cake and eat it.
This cake used only egg white as the only leavening for the batter. For a professional , flatter look, I opted for a 9 inch pan. The cake was baked long and slow at 170C for 30 minutes to prevent cracking. To ensure that it would not collapse after baking, the cake was cooled in the oven.
To cut the long story short, I got to do my little victory jig. Yeah, I am easily satisfied, though the frosting could do with a bit more practice.
This project was definitely not a piece cake, judging by the mountain of pots to wash. Hopefully I can streamline the process and not wait for the next decade to make my second strawberry shortcake.
Makes a 9 inch cake. Last 3 days for 3 persons.
4 eggs, room temperature, white and yolks separated
120 grams granulated sugar, sifted once
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 grams cake flour, sifted 3 times
22 grams unsalted butter, melted
Whipped cream frosting:
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
4 teaspoons cold water
1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Syrup for brushing :
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 box fresh strawberries, cut to slices. Divide to 2 portions.
Sponge cake :
Preheat the oven to 170 C. Generously grease a 9 inch spring form cake pan with butter. Dust with cake flour and empty off the excess. Alternatively, line the pan with greaseproof paper.
Whisk egg white with sugar until it forms soft peaks. Mine was whisked at low speed for 3 minutes and another 3 at medium high speed.
Whisk in egg yolks, one at a time.
In the following order, whisk at low speed the milk and vanilla extract, pouring it down the side of the mixing bowl. Incorporate each component before adding the next
Fold in thrice sifted cake flour. I used the spatula to draw a figure of 8 to fold in the flour.
Pour melted butter down the side of the bowl. Continue drawing the figure of 8 to combine butter to the batter.
Pour the final batter into the prepared pan. To level the batter , twist the pan a couple of times. Tap the pan on the worktop gently to rid it of big air pockets. Don't overdo this !
Bake the cake for 30 minutes. The cake is done when it is golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly. A skewer poked into the center of the cake should come out clean.
Leave the cake in the oven for a couple of minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool on a rack in its pan.
When cake is completely cooled, run a thin blade around the side of the pan to release the cake.
Use a very long knife and divide the cake to 2, making a top and bottom halve.
Whipped Cream Frosting:
In a small sauce pan, put 4 tsp of cold water and sprinkle 1 tsp of gelatine over the water. Do not shake or stir the contents. Leave for about 5 minutes for the gelatine to dissolve. Heat over very low heat until gelatine crystals disappear. Turn off heat and leave gelatine mix to cool.
In a mixing bowl, pour 1 cup of very cold whipped cream ( whipped cream for cakes. I used Red Man brand which works well ). Whisk cream until it turns foamy, about double its volume. Whisk in the sugar very gradually followed by vanilla essence. I do not recommend working on more than 1 cup of whipped cream at any time.
Gradually introduce the liquid gelatine, whisking at high speed until the frosting turns stiff.
Gently brush the cut surface of the cakes with syrup.
On the lower halve of the cake, use a spatula and spread the whipped cream frosting. Arrange the cut strawberries on the cream.
Lightly spread another layer of whipped cream frosting on the strawberries.
Transfer the top halve of the cake over the creamed base with strawberries, cut side of the cake facing down.
Spread cream on the sides of the cake.
Finally , spread the remaining cream on top of the cake. Arrange the rest of the strawberries on the cake.
Chill well before serving. Keeps for 2 days.