About a week ago, I formulated a recipe to bake my own lemon cake. I looked at other recipes, and tried to think about the quantities logically, and came up with something I thought would bake right. Can you guess what happened? It was an undercooked, overly wet, mess of a cake.
I say this because my husband asked me to add chocolate to this French Strawberry Cake from Baking with Julia. Since it was Father’s Day, I decided I would do my best to oblige. But given my failure last week with the lemon cake, I was truly afraid that whatever change I made was going to ruin the cake. And while it is usually no problem to redo a recipe, I had let my eggs come to room temperature overnight and that part I would not be able to redo.
I started the night before by hulling and slicing the absolutely beautiful, enormous strawberries that my market had on sale this week. They were so sweet too. I added 1/4 cup of sugar to the bowl and mixed, and then let the whole thing sit on the counter for 2 hours. Then I mashed the berries and placed them in the refrigerator to sit overnight.
This morning I got to work making the cake. To get a chocolate version, I researched chocolate genoises on the internet and saw that most of them had 1/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder. Since the cake flour had to be sifted before measuring, I did the same thing to the cocoa powder. And then I resifted the flour, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar again together.
Since I had left my eggs out overnight, they were perfectly room temperature. They whipped up nice and light and creamy, although it did take about 10 minutes, instead of the suggested 5. They formed the requisite ribbons for 10 seconds.
Then I folded in the sifted dry ingredients in 3 takes until they disappeared. I did have to dig deep into the mixing bowl to make sure that everything was combined. But I did this step very, very slowly and carefully, so as not to deflate the whipped eggs.
The final step was to add some of the mixture to the melted butter and then add the melted butter part back into the mix. Again I folded this very carefully and slowly. After being combined, I poured the batter immediately into the prepared baking pan. My pan was an 8″ square. Then into the oven for 25 minutes.
While the cake was cooking, I made the whipped cream. Since comments from other bloggers said that the recipe did not make enough whipped cream, I doubled the recipe from the start. I had plenty!
After the cake came out of the oven and cooled, I put it into the freezer for 1/2 hour to firm up. Out of the freezer, I cut it horizontally into 3 layers. These layers were then layered with strawberries and whipped cream, and stacked on top of one another.
The entire cake was iced with whipped cream. Then I used my Microplaner to grate bittersweet chocolate onto the top surface.
The results were delicious. It was a light cake, sweetened by the strawberries and whipped cream. It presented beautifully. Everyone loved it. And my fear of ruining the cake by adding the cocoa powder was for naught.
The recipe’s for July are Hazelnut Biscotti, Semolina Bread, and Blueberry Nectarine Pie. First up is the biscotti in 2 weeks. Check back soon!