Do you have a food memory or sensation from childhood you wish to replicate? While I love savory, there are some old time sweets I will forever crave. For this twin post sequel collaboration with Anuradha @bakerstreet29, bakerstreet29), my twitter daughter, we exchanged a myriad of emails, went through countless frustrations as we were looking for recipes, emailing and dm'ing links back and forth. I even went on a spying (that is where the wandering part of food wanderings plays a part) mission to Whole Foods as I thought their version was probably closest to what I was looking for. I googled two other European bakeries in Arlington, VA to see if they had images online I could study, but life is so hectic I never made that excursion to Randolph and Heidelberg bakeries. It was more of a chemist, engineer and architect hybrid mission as I was interested in the design, construction and ingredient balance and ratios of the recipe. Ratios I never got, but found out Whole Foods had almonds in theirs so I never ended up buying it to dissect in my cramped up kitchen 'laboratory' quarters.
...but let me back up, as twitter mother and daughter, a year later, with my hang up on the right recipe, did Anuradha and I do some bonding. She is a good daughter. Just like Sagie claims his independence while being respectful and loving. You might remember the epic Apple Rolled Oats Streusel Cider Muffins - Twin Post from October 2010, Anuradha and I published in tandem, and there you will find the tale of Anuradha becoming Fifi, my long lost daughter. You might know her wonderful Muffin Monday initiative. Muffin Monday created much enthusiasm and many friends participate. As the weekend winds up and instead of the Monday blues look forward to the week with Muffin Monday filled with excitement.
I knew I wanted a torte peanut based cake batter, something about that crunch, color and nutty flavor depth it adds to the profile of this cake. I also knew I wanted whipping cream as opposed to butter cream. I am more partial to whipping cream and it's in the original recipes I grew up on anyhow. As you can see this can be tricky working with whipping cream to support a structure of layers. I baked two cakes for four layers total, Since I was working with whipping cream and had very little experience with layered cake, with some exceptions of baking stints as a teenager, I decided on using only one cake, two tier total. Trying to be extra cautious but it was perfect.
Anurandha went with peaches and cream and more of a yellow American style cake base, YUM. You can read in her post about her decision making process. Growing up we baked both versions, one with fresh strawberries and one with canned peaches with peanut torte or chiffon (or white) cake bases. We give you two wonderful takes on the same cake.
Strawberries and Cream Cake
Ingredient list adapted from Ugot Le'chol Et (Cakes for Every Occasion) עוגות לכל עת
by Nira Scheuer נירה שויאר
Assembly method tips etc. by me
Ingredients and directions:
6 egg whites
1 cup sugar
Pre heat oven to 350F. Grease a round spring form 9 1/2" cake pan. A 9" or 10" spring form cake pan should work as well. It will just produce a slightly higher or slightly lower cake. I greased the pan, parchment papered it and greased the parchment paper. Just wanted to ensure a complete success. If you are a more confident baker the parchment paper step isn't necessary.
Whip the egg whites in a a large bowl and add sugar in 3-4 batches once a foam starts forming. Whip into a soft peak.
6 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt (see note in writing above)
Add in a separate bowl the yolks, 1/4 cup sugar, oil and vanilla. Whip together. I whip all ingredients until mixed well with egg white whisk. No need to wash. Fold egg yolk mixture into egg whites gently in few strokes.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup ground peanuts (see note in writing above)
1 heaping teaspoon baking powder
Mix all dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add to egg mixture in three batches. Fold gently to incorporate batter together.
Pour batter into greased cake pan and bake at 350F for 30-40 minutes. Cake will be golden. Test with a skewer. If skewer comes out dry without crumbs when sticking in the middle of cake, then the cake is done. Let cake cool down completely before releasing from cake pan. Once cooled, slice cake into two layers, right into the middle, with a serrated knife or bread knife. You can assemble cake same day or next. Can be kept refrigerated overnight.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Mix over medium heat and let sugar dissolve completely. Take off heat and let cool. Can be made ahead and kept refrigerated.
2 pints strawberries, washed, stemmed
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 the strawberries slice (see photo) sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar, mix, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let macerate, outside or in the fridge.
The other 1/2 of the strawberries keep whole, stemmed, in a separate bowl. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, mix, wrap bowl with plastic wrap and let macerate outside or in the fridge.
3 cups whipping cream (I used 4 cups but 3 is enough)
9 tablespoons sugar (norm is 2 per cup, I always liked 3 tablespoons per cup and I am not crazy about desserts that are too sweet mind you)
Whip whipping cream with sugar to a stiff peak. cover bowl with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until assembly.
Assembly of cake: