Monday, July 5, 2010

In the Mood for Strawberry Country Cake

Oh the pleasures of a three-day weekend. How I miss it already, and it's not yet even Tuesday morning. This year Stewart and I remained in Memphis for the 4th of July. Although it hurts me to say this, because it sounds disgustingly "adult" of me, I felt productive in the fact that we caught up on laundry, cleaned the house, went grocery shopping, took my car to be serviced, ran errands, watered the yard and enjoyed some R&R time at home. Ouch! That was painful to put into words. But, life in the fast lane these past 3 weeks needed to pull over for a much needed pit stop. 

I haven't even been spending quality time with my kitchen! I've been neglecting her and thus felt incomplete with no new adventures of cooking. The oven was rusty and the refrigerator was bare.

But what epicurean could resist cooking and baking on this our country's day of independence? With the dessert I made for our family gathering on Sunday, I was ready to sparkle and shine like a 4th of July firecracker!

Ya'll, I'm not kidding; this recipe takes the cake for best dessert. 100% home-made, and out of this world, Ina Garten's strawberry country cake made me proud to be an American...and proud to be a member of the happy plate club that afternoon (I added the blueberries for some blue with my red and white). Forget baking this cake, I was ready to devour the entire bowl of batter. Grated lemon and orange zest, made-from-scratch whipped cream, ripe strawberries and blueberries....YUM.

As I was baking this cake Sunday morning, I tuned into the "Frank Sinatra" radio station on Pandora. And within 20 minutes, I heard Glenn Miller's "In the Mood". I love the big band-era, and I'm pretty sure my Cuisinart electric mixer and I shared a moment during this song.

Like Thanksgiving and Christmas, 4th of July is one of those holidays best spent with family and friends. And of course, good food! Hope you enjoyed your Independence Day this year.

Enjoy these eats and beats! More the come this week.

Ina Gartnen's Strawberry Country Cake
This recipe makes two 8-inch cakes. Ina splits one cake into two layers, but I felt it was too thin. So I used each cake as a full layer and added blueberries to make it my own.

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the filling for each cake:

1 cup (1/2 pint) heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans. Then line them with parchment paper and butter and flour the lined pans. (I just used PAM baking spray; it works just as well)
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, zests, and vanilla, scraping down the bowl as needed. Mix well. Sift together the flour, cornstarch (Note: Whip this on high speed for a few minutes; it takes a while for it to become firm)ch, salt, and baking soda. On low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine just until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly into the pans, smooth the tops, and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 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. If using 1 cake, wrap the second well and freeze.

To make the filling for one cake, whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until firm. *Note: This takes a few minutes, and you want to whisk it with an electric mixer on high speed until firm.

Slice one of the cakes in half with a long, sharp knife (Or use one entire cake as the bottom layer). 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.

1 comment:

sherberto said...

i am soo impressed! this looks like something out of magazine! :)