Saturday, April 10, 2010

Viennese Strawberry Cake and Freshly Whipped Cream

Last week my grocer started carrying some of the best looking strawberries I've seen in a while (ok, it's been a while since I've seen fresh strawberries). I love strawberries and eagerly await that time of year when they're fresh and abundant. So when I saw them in the store, I knew I had to make something with them. A lot of something's with them.

I saw a recipe for Viennese plum cake in Taste of Home's comfort food issue and knew right away I wanted to make it, but decided I would use strawberries instead.

It is so good, the sweet embodiment of the coming of Summer. Yes, it's that good.

You could use frozen strawberries for this, but I think the better option would be to simply substitute a fresh seasonal fruit. This cake will work with just about anything, and is really so simple to make. I topped mine with some freshly whipped cream (recipe included) and sliced strawberries.

Viennese Strawberry Cake
(Adapted from Taste of Home's Viennese Plum Cake)
(Serves 8)

For the Cake:
1/2 c butter (softened)
1/2 c plus 2 Tbsp sugar (divided)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt (table salt will be too salty, so if you use it only use 1/4 tsp)
3 c sliced fresh strawberries
1 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c very cold butter (cubed)

For the whipped cream:
1 c heavy whipping cream
Scant 1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Prep: let the eggs sit at room temperature for about a half an hour before you begin. Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 9"x9" baking dish (glass works best here, if you've got it)

Make the cake:
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then sift once more. In another bowl, cream the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat until light and fluffy 4-5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.

Pour into the baking dish. Top with the sliced strawberries, then sprinkle the 2 Tbsp of sugar and the cinnamon over the top.

Make the topping.
Sift together the flour and the sugar, then cut in the very cold butter until it looks like coarse crumbs (it doesn't have to look very pretty or completely uniform).

Sprinkle over the top of the unbaked cake, then put it in the oven to cook for 50-55 minutes, until golden brown (as with anything else, if your top is getting too brown before your cake is finished, loosely cover the dish with a piece of foil).

Once finished, transfer your cake (in the dish, don't try to take it out) to a wire cooling rack.

Make the whipped cream:
With the whisk attachment on a hand or stand mixer (or just a regular whisk powered by you), whip the cream until nearly stiff. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue whisking until stiff.

Put it all together: Slice off squares of your cake and top with the whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Watch how fast it goes and wish you'd made more.

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