STRAWBERRIES AND CREAM CAKE
An original recipe by Erin McDowell
4 1/2 cupsall-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 cupssugar
8 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 ea vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
12 oz mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups strawberry preserves or jam
4 large egg whites
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup water
1 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz Strawberry Inspiration, chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour three 8-inch cake pans.
- Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together to combine.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, oil, and sugar until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the egg whites in 5 to 6 additions, scraping well after each addition is fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated, 1 minute. With the mixer running on low, add the milk in a slow, steady stream and mix to combine. Add the remaining flour and mix to combine.
- Divide the batter between the prepared pans and spread into an even layer. Transfer to the oven and bake until the cakes spring back lightly in the center when touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a rack to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, use your hands to rub the vanilla beans into the sugar until well dispersed.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the mascarpone with the vanilla sugar until light and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the cream in a slow, steady stream and whip to medium peaks. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a ½ inch opening cut from the end.
- Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.
- In a medium pot, combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly to help dissolve the sugar. Once the mixture comes to a boil, stop stirring (if any sugar clings to the sides, use a pastry brush dipped in cool water to brush it back down into the syrup). li>Cook the syrup until it reads 235°F on a thermometer. Begin whipping the whites on medium high speed. The goal is to get the whites nearly to soft peaks by the time the sugar reaches 240°F. li>When the syrup reaches 240°F, gradually pour it into the mixer bowl in a slow, steady stream (with the mixer running). Continue to whip until the meringue is firm, glossy, and cool, 5-6 minutes. li>With the mixer running on medium speed, gradually add the butter 1-2 tablespoons at a time to the meringue, waiting until each addition is incorporated before adding more. Add the melted strawberry inspiration and mix to combine. li>Frost the chilled crumb coated cake with the frosting. Chill the cake for 30 minutes.
ASSEMBLY & FINISHING
- Use a serrated knife to remove the domed top of the cakes.
- Place one layer on a cake turntable, platter, or cake stand. Use the piping bag to pipe an outer ring of the mascarpone mixture around the outside edge of the cake. Use an ice cream scoop (about 1/4-cup in size) to scoop 3 heaping scoops of the strawberry preserves into the center and spread into an even layer. Place another layer of cake on top and repeat this process. Continue until you’ve used all the filling and layers.
- Use the remaining mascarpone mixture to frost the cake with a thin all over “crumb coat” of the frosting and chill the cake for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Make the drippy glaze and allow it to cool while the cake chills. Place the Strawberry Inspiration in a medium heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave in 30 seconds intervals, stirring between each interval.
- In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil over medium heat. Gradually combine the hot cream with the melted Strawberry Inspiration. Mix using an immersion blender to perfect the emulsion.
- Let the ganache cool slightly before using. If you make it ahead, you’ll need to gently warm the ganache (over a double boiler is best).
- Pipe or spoon the glaze around the outside edge of the chilled cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Garnish the top of the cake with piped rosettes of remaining fresh berries, if using.