Sugared Strawberry Sponge Cake Stacks

DSC_6645

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the Tennessee farmers who grow strawberries for all of us non-farmers to enjoy every May. Year by year they are out in their fields early on chilly mornings checking on their fields while we are snug in our beds. They watch the weather reports, day in-day out, trying to judge how each years crop will turn out. Too much rain….not enough. Too many cloudy days or relentless heat.

This year’s Tennessee strawberry crop has been so sweet. It is a short season so do not delay.  Boxes full of tender, ruby-red berries lined up at Farmer’s Market stands just for making recipes such as this, “Sugared (Tennessee) Strawberry Sponge Cake Stacks”.

DSC_6583

I made wee sponge cakes in a muffin tin with just a few ingredients. These cakes are light and airy with just a hint of sweetness. I want to taste the berries first, then the berry juice soaked cake with a quick dusting of powdered sugar.

DSC_6581DSC_6599

DSC_6601DSC_6602

Warm sponge cakes……I sprayed the muffin tin with coconut spray which added a very nice hint of coconut to the cakes……

DSC_6612

….berries rinsed, patted dry, cut in half and tossed with raw sugar.

DSC_6615

DSC_6651

It would not be May without sugared strawberries and little cakes!

DSC_6652

The berries from Delvin Farms. The wee sponge cakes are based on a recipe by James Tanner from his amazing wonderful and simple cookbook “Take 5 Ingredients”.

Sugared Strawberry Sponge Cake Stacks

  • Servings: 6
  • Print

DSC_6652

Ingredients:

  • coconut oil spray (I just discovered this and adore  the hint of coconut it imbues)
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you cannot find then pulse regular sugar in processor until fine)
  • 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour sifted with 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 pints of fresh (local) seasonal  Strawberries, rinsed & patted dry, tops cut off and halved
  • 1/3 cups raw sugar
  • powdered sugar for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with coconut spray. Set aside.
  2. Whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until pale & frothy.
  3. In another bowl whisk, or use a hand mixer, the egg whites until stiff. Whisk the egg whites into the egg yolks.
  4. Fold the flour-salt mixture  in small batches until all the flour is blended in.
  5. Divide batter between greased muffin tin cups. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove sponge cakes from tin and continue to cool on rack while preparing berries.
  6. In a glass mixing bowl toss together the strawberries & raw sugar. Mash a few of the berries with the back of a fork to release juices. Toss again and leave to sit for about 30 minutes before serving.
  7. To serve use a serrated knife to gently cut each wee sponge cake into 3 slices. Layer cake and berries on a serving plate. Allow about 5 minutes before serving to let cake layers soak up berry juice. Dust cake with powdered sugar and serve.

This is a simple dessert that is not overly sweet. Easy to make. Can be prepped ahead of time and can be made using any seasonal berries, peaches or plums.

Ruby Red Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Filling

DSC_7496

I like to make things. I’m pretty sure that is one of the reasons I ended up being a food stylist by trade and a jack-of-all-trades by nature. Making “beauty” is really what all my
“making” obsessions are about. Beauty that is organic & natural, beauty to look at, beauty to use every day, beauty that you can eat, beauty that is often an ode to times past, times in the future, or times that never were.

Such is this cake. A riff on the classic “Victoria Sponge Cake”, an ode to a time of lawn parties, women strolling across green parks in white dresses, croquet games where men wore bowler hats & seersucker suits. To a time when cakes were special, beautiful and meaningful.

Here is how you make my “Ruby Red Strawberry Victoria Sponge Cake with Lemon Mascarpone Filling”

Shopping list: 2 pints of small strawberries, 1 pint of whipping cream, 1 carton of mascarpone cheese, 1 lemon, super-fine sugar or regular granulated sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, self-rising flour, 5 eggs, salt, parchment paper, oil to grease pans

Make it:

1. Preferably use local Spring strawberries, (these ruby red beauties came from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market), 2 pints rinsed & drained, caps removed. Leave berries whole unless they are large, then cut in half. Set aside.

DSC_7458DSC_7460

2. To make this very easy sponge-cake you will need 5 large eggs separated, 3/4 cup superfine sugar (if you don’t have then pulse regular granulated sugar in a food processor for a few seconds to make your own), 1 1/4 cups self-rising flour sifted with a pinch of salt.

3. Grease & line two 8 or 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4. Whisk egg yolks & sugar together until a pale yellow.  Using a stand or hand mixer whip egg whites until stiff.  Whisk egg whites into yolks. Gently sprinkle sifted flour over eggs in batches and fold into eggs using a large metal spoon until all the flour is mixed in.

DSC_7463DSC_7464

5. Divide batter between two prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes or until cake layers are light golden brown  & cooked in the middle. Remove from pans to cool completely on wire racks.

DSC_7470DSC_7475

6. Mix 1 cup or container of marcarpone cheese, which is slightly sweet,  with the juice & zest of half a lemon. Blend well.

DSC_7477

8. Place one cooled cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread lemon mascarpone on top. Arrange half the berries over &  gently press them into the cheese. Dust with a bit of powdered sugar.

DSC_7479DSC_7480

9.  Top layer of berries with the second cake layer. Whip one cup of heavy cream with 2 tbsp powdered sugar & 1 tbsp vanilla extract until stiff peaks form. Spread on top of second cake layer. Top whipped cream with the remaining berries. Dust with additional powdered sugar if desired.

DSC_7486DSC_7494

11. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.  I made this cake from start to finish in 1 hour. It keeps well lightly covered for a day or two in the fridge.

DSC_7498

Notice the texture of the cake….very sponge-like!

DSC_7524

Making this cake will create a sense of well-being, make you think about the historical context of baking cakes, allow you to use fresh, local, just picked strawberries that taste like berries should.

Happy Mother’s Day!

photo