Sunday, February 24, 2013

Strawberry Cake

      It was Feb 14; the day of romance, valentines from all over the world was celebrating. Though it was a weekday and I am not too crazy about observing these specific days, still felt like making something special for my two loves. So I was wondering what I should make, be it Red Velvet Cake what they love most or something else. Suddenly it popped up in my mind that a few months back I had a delicious cake on a birthday party and I had taken a snap too. Yes! Let’s make that cake, I decided. I saw the picture in details and started searching for the ingredients. It was a strawberry colored cake, with strawberry syrup and white chocolate frosting. Generally I see very dark red color in most of the cake pictures where strawberry syrup is used. I wanted to avoid that. So I bought some fresh strawberries and made my own syrup. I was very happy to see the color; it’s exactly the one I was looking for.

As you know, baking is the key part of making a cake. It’s my favorite subject and I just love it. Though I started my baking journey couple of years back, I am still learning the tricks and trying to improve. Off late I started to love the cake decoration art. This is my 4th or 5th cake that I decorated. What makes me happy when my family members comment ‘‘WOW!! did you bake it?'' :) and my little one will ask me to make similar cakes for his next birthday based on his favorite theme, though he loves to cut the cake rather than having it!!

The base cake is a simple vanilla cake, that our mothers or grand mothers used to make, it is rich, moist with a lovely golden brown crust and the decoration part is completely from my mind, choose as per what we like. Here is the recipe of my Strawberry Cake.

Strawberry Cake (on Valentine's Day)

Ingredients :

For a Simple Vanilla Cake :

Flour / all-purpose flour : 2-1/2 cups
Sugar : 1-1/2 cups
Milk : 1 cup
Egg : 4 
Vegetable oil : 3/4 cup 
Baking powder : 2-1/4 teaspoon 
Vanilla : 1 teaspoon 

For Frosting :

1 cup cold heavy Whipping Cream
2 tbsp granulated white Sugar (or to taste)
1/2 tsp pure Vanilla extract
White Chocolate baking bar 4 oz. (113 g)
3 cups Fresh Strawberry (2 cups for syrup + 1 for decoration)

For Strawberry Syrup:

2/3 cup sugar
1 pint (2 cups)  strawberry, washed and hulled
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Make a 9 inch round cake :

1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F(177 degrees C), place rack at the center of the oven, grease the pan with butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray.

2.    In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Now in another bowl, (or you can use your electric mixer bowl if you have any), place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and sugar) and mix them nicely with a spatula.

3.    Add the oil and half of the egg mixture. Take a hand mixer and mix them well on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. 

4.    Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about one minute, and gradually add the remaining egg mixture. Again beat the mixture about 30 seconds after each addition of egg mixture.

5.    Pour the cake batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

6.    Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes (depending on your oven) until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

7.    Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove it from the pan and cool completely.

 If you want to make a simple vanilla cake, then it is ready to serve, don't need to follow the rest of the part. 

Make the Strawberry Syrup.

1. Place sugar and 1/3 cup water in a small saucepan, stir and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sugar is completely dissolved.

2. Allow the syrup to cool completely.

3. Place half the berries in the jar of a blender; add lemon juice and all the cooled syrup, puree until smooth.

4. Press through fine strainer to remove some of the strawberry seeds, if desired.

5. Coarsely chop remaining strawberries and add to strawberry puree. But If you like clear syrup that I put on the top of the Cake, you can skip this step.

Frosting and Decoration.

1.    Place a mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes. 

2.    Then place all the ingredients (whipping cream, sugar and vanilla extract) in the cold bowl and beat just until stiff peaks form, immediately cover and refrigerate it.

3.    Make some Chocolate curls with the white chocolate bar. Place a bar of chocolate on waxed paper, make chocolate curls by pulling a vegetable peeler.

4.    This is the final step which is to assemble the cake. Once the cakes are completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour. 

5.    This makes the spreading of the frosting a much easier task as a freshly baked cake is quite fragile and when you try to spread the frosting, there is a tendency for the cake to tear.

6.    With a serrated knife, cut the top swelling part off and then cut the cake in half horizontally. Place the layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread the cake layer with a layer of whipped cream frosting. 

7.    Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost. Frost the top and sides of the cake nicely. I'm sharing a video of This would be a great help.

8.    Take the white chocolate curls on a wax paper, press them loosely on all the side of the frosted cake. With a spoon slowly pour the strawberry syrup, spread it well on the top of cake.

9.    One last touch - decorate the cake with fresh strawberries. Yahoo !! you are done, serve and enjoy!! :)

Note : If you wish, you can put some fresh strawberry pieces into the layers.

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