Monday 24 September 2018

strawberry and cream chiffon cake

Madness. Australian strawberry farmers have been devastated recently by an appalling act of sabotage, recklessly compounded by numerous copycats. It made me furious and so sad for the farmers, images of mountains of berries dumped by the truckload. Farmers are doing it tough, so many family businesses struggling. In celebration of the strawberry and support of our farmers, I'm buying lots of strawberries, and making cake. 

The soft pink of this sponge against the creamy frosting is just lovely, I'd like to pack in more strawberry flavour, next time roasting the strawberries with some of the sugar before they're puréed. Usually I wouldn't share a recipe before I'm completely happy with it, but the timing is right, and any suggestions on that strawberry flavour would be great! Chambord is a wonderful black raspberry liqueur, it adds depth but is not essential here, you could sub it for another liqueur or just leave it out entirely and increase the strawberry purée to 180ml. As always I was a bit carried away with the decoration, so many strawberries, mint, thyme, and the sweetest little flowers from our hedge.

Come on Aussies, keep buying strawberries, they are so good right now, "cut them up don't cut them out"...

strawberry chiffon

225g cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp salt
250g caster sugar
200g strawberries
30 ml Chambord, or liqueur of your choice
125 ml canola oil
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla paste
6 jumbo eggs, separated
1 extra egg white
1/2 tsp cream of tartar (not essential, but will stabilise the egg whites)
50g caster sugar

vanilla mascarpone frosting, recipe below
strawberries to decorate, fandom foliage optional

serves 16

 preheat your oven to 170ºC

 trim the leaves from the strawberries, blitz the berries in a food processor or blender and push through a sieve into a measuring jug, you'll need 150ml, keep any excess to serve with the cake (you can mash the berries by hand with a fork, just add a little lemon juice to help the process along)
• combine the cake flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt, sift into a the bowl of a stand mixer, if you have one, and with the paddle attachment mix through the 250g caster sugar 
• make a well in the centre of your flour mixture, add the strawberry purée, Chambord, egg yolks, oil and vanilla extract, mix until smooth
• in another, really large bowl whisk the 7 egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar then mix until you have soft peaks, gradually add the additional 50g caster sugar, whisking until you have firm peaks and the sugar has dissolved
• fold the egg whites into the batter in three stages
• pour the batter into an ungreased, unlined angel food cake tin and bake for 55-60 minutes; check after 55 minutes, the cake should spring back when gently pressed, if not, put it back in for the extra 5 minutes
• remove the cake from the oven, and immediately invert to cool; if your tin doesn't have "feet" balance the upturned tin over a bottle, guiding the neck of the bottle through the centre tube of your pan
• when completely cool, to release the cake, run a sharp knife around the inside and tube sections of the cake tin, remove the cake leaving it sitting on the centre section of the tin; this next stage is tricky, slide a strong thread, I use dental floss, between the base of the cake and the tin, slide the string all the way around the cake, crossing each end around the tube. Invert the cake onto a turntable if you have one, or your serving plate, and put in the fridge for 15 minutes or so. (I've had a few questions about how to remove the cake cleanly from the tin, Jen hijacked my phone on a baking date last year, and took a video of just that, I'll upload it to my instagram stories...)

to frost the cake

• frosting step one is the crumb coat, it uses a super thin coating of frosting to glue any loose crumbs to the cake
• starting from the top and working your way down the sides and into the hole through the centre of your cake, use an offset pallet knife to spread a layer of buttercream over your cake;  using the edge of your pallet knife or a cake scraper, gently scrape back most of the frosting leaving a super thin crumb filled layer behind
• return the cake to the fridge for at least 15 mins to set the crumb coat
• again with the offset pallet knife, cover your cake with a final thicker layer of frosting and return to the fridge for at least 15 minutes, this will firm up the frosting and stop your strawberries sliding of the cake!

• decorate with strawberries, flowers, herbs :)
• slice giant slabs of cake with a serrated knife and enjoy
• the cake will keep covered in the fridge for 3 days

vanilla mascarpone frosting

200g soft cream cheese
250g mascarpone
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 tsp vanilla paste
150g icing sugar
100ml thickened cream

• tip the soft cream cheese and vanilla into a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on low speed until smooth
• sift the icing sugar over the cream cheese, starting on low speed, then increasing to medium, beat until combined
• add the mascarpone, mix on medium speed until just combined, add the cream, again mixing until smooth, use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I love chiffon cakes! This one looks so delicious and fluffy! Can't wait to try this recipe.