French Strawberry Cake (TWD)

6.19.2012

 

This recipe was bound to happen in June, I realized after a few days of nominations. So, right after they were posted I set out to buy some berries, in case they disappeared just as I needed them. French Strawberry Cake, by contributing master baker Flo Braker, is all about the strawberries. There was no place for substitutions here.



I reached the fruit place on a bleak, grey afternoon. In the few minutes as I waited for another customer before me, I eyed fresh figs, radicchio, tangerines, white and purple eggplants and red pears. I bought everything besides the strawberries, so the cashier asked if I needed help to carry the three bags to my car.
`I walked here´ I said
`But the bags are heavy ´ he answered, a bit concerned
`Never mind, I carry bags all the time, I´m used to it ´ I said
`But it´s raining´ he replied, with even more concern in his voice
`I know, it was raining when I left my house, but I need to make a strawberry cake… and besides, I like to take this kind of walks and see what fruits and vegetables I find´
`But it´s raining ´ he said, not without an extra dose of pity in his voice now
I was probably that night´s family discussion over dinner, you know, the crazy ladies that keep his shop going no matter what.


This turned out to be the perfect cake for several reasons.

First, my fall strawberries are juicy with a nice color, but they don´t have the sweet, sun-kissed summer taste. They taste like autumn that´s been having some unexplainable very warm days. So making a mash (in my case it didn´t really happen since they remained stubbornly half whole and I didn´t want to use my processor) with sugar, as required by the recipe, was the perfect way to use them. 
Second, it was nice to bake this colorful cake after 4 days of continuous raining, which alternated between the most annoying thin drizzle to unexpected half hour storms. And third, I realized as I was deciding when to finish the cake, that I had a friend´s party to go to that night and didn´t have a gift. So the cake got finished, the pictures taken in a hurry, and the piece that had been cut was artfully replaced and covered with extra cream. By the time I got to my friend´s house, I blamed it all on the car trip.


The fact that I don´t care much for this type of cakes became irrelevant. I don´t like genoise very much; maybe because I have the idea of it being dry and needing syrup, which for me is old-fashioned but not in a good way. The soaking liquid here was the resulting syrup of the sliced strawberries being mixed with sugar and left to do their thing for more than two hours. Nature has a way of perfectly taking care of things on her own.


The cream was given a bit of structure with some sour cream, which really works every time. And it adds a bit of sourness that balances the whole white, fluffy thing.
Why I don´t care for this cake? Because I like summer strawberries on their own. Juicy and sweet with no added stuff, whatever that might be.
But now, I do have a use for it, anytime one of the three reasons I explained before comes up.

The recipe can be found in our host´s blogs, Sophia of Sophia´s Sweets  and Allison of Sleep Love Think Dine
Or in he book Baking with Julia, by the fabulous Dorie Greenspan. The rest of the group´s posts are here.




30 comments:

  1. I think genoise is the perfect kind of base for this cake just because of its ability to absorb all the juices without turning soggy :-) Your cake looks beautiful! Perfectly decorated!

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  2. Delicious and creamy strawberry cake.

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  3. Wow! I'm sorry I had to drop from the group, but I will definitely have to make this cake - strawberries are my favorite fruit & we're fortunate enough to be able to get them year-round in Southern California.

    Very nicely done!

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  4. Looks wonderful, I should have planned ahead like you did!!!

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  5. I understand those moments in the store :-)
    Your cake looks lovely!

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  6. This looks great and is one of my favourite cakes!

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  7. I think your cake looks divine!

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  8. So beautiful! You're a good sport for creating something you knew you wouldn't enjoy~

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  9. Your cake is beautiful! I was hesitant about the genoise but decided its the perfect cake for this type of dessert and will make it again. I have to agree with you, though...there is nothing like a fresh strawberry on its own!

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  10. Fantastic result! Love the color of your berries!

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  11. I'll treat you like a queen, I'll give you strawberries and cream... Oasis were totally right!
    Esta tarta es todo un clásico... I love it!

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  12. Paula, Your cake looks perfect…it has a such a nice sponge like texture! I’m sure your friends really enjoyed it! I like strawberries on their own, too!

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  13. Your cake looks stunning! I had the same issue with the strawberries, they absolutely refused to be mashed and wouldn't have been that great on their own.

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  14. Paula, love your photos...your cake texture looks good too.

    ~ Carmen
    http://bakingismyzen.wordpress.com/

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  15. This looks amazing! Beautiful photo

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  16. Hi Paula!

    Your cake looks great and I loved your story about the rain and the fruit. That sounds like me ; ). haha. In fact, it was also raining the day I bought the strawberries but I too wasn't going to let that stop me from going to the farmer's market. I agree with you about a genoise by the way, though I enjoy a nice strawberry shortcake now and then *~*.
    ~Amanda

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  17. Paula, I want to know what you made with the fresh figs, radicchio, tangerines, white and purple eggplants and red pears. You had to have some things in mind. Sorry about the rain but your entire story was, I'm sorry, Paula, but it ws funny. It was as if, "Can this get worse?" What I liked the best was your putting the cut slice back into the cake for the birthday. That was genius. I didn't do June baking so have to catch up.......which I intend to do. About South America - (wish I had your e-mail). I am in BA about three days but will have some free time and, if you would like, I would love for you to pick a special place where I could take you to dinner. It would be such a treat for me. I also want to come to your restaurant and write about it on my Blog. I think the experience of meeting each other would be very special. What do you think?

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    1. I made the radicchio risotto, a fig jam, the grilled eggplants with honey and spices and a pear almond cake.
      I´ll email you so you have my info. We can meet of course!

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  18. This cake is stunning. I love Baking with Julia and hope to make every recipe from it by the time I'm 80 (knock wood lol). LOL@ the cashier's concern about the rain. I love walking in the rain..love rainy days in the spring and summer, as a matter of fact. Finally, my favorite recipe for Torte Milanese is in Baking with Julia - by Michel Richard, and that's the one I made in which I lost the photos :(

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  19. Very nice. I made Ladyfinger Genoise instead of the cake and made a shortcake. I totally are with you about the strawberries...delicious.

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  20. Paula, sorry I am so late in commenting this week...things just happen like sick kids in the hospital...but I do not want to forget to congratulate you on your birthday, if I do remember correctly, it must be around today?!? "Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag Paula!" And your wonderful cake looks extremly delicious, all of the wonderful things that you prepare always do!

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  21. I love to walk in the rain. Your photos are beautiful as well as your cake.

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  22. Hi Paula,
    sounds like your day and your cake turned out perfectly! I felt like I was right there with you in the rain last week in Portland, OR. your late season strawberries were probably comparable to my early season ones here!

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  23. I really like the grocery shopping story. People are so funny, even when they're trying to be helpful. I really like how you sliced the strawberries on top of the cake, it's so pretty. I agree that excellent strawberries are best on their own, but I thought this was a good use of less-than-perfect berries.

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  24. What a cute post! Your friend was so lucky that you brought this dessert that night and I love that you put the slice carefully back and covered it with whipped cream. :) Your cake is beautiful!

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  25. So funny! Mark always tells me that I should cut a piece, photograph it and then replace it back into the cake. Now that I know others do it, I might, too! I really like the sound of this - mostly because the strawberries we get in our supermarkets are bland and need the soaking in sugar syrup to give them life. If they were farmers market berries - I am with you. Plain and juicy is the perfect way to go! ~ David

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  26. Estoy de acuerdo contigo - me encantan las fresas por su cuenta. Me encantan las fresas silvestres, la mayoría. El pastel es hermoso!

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