This is simply one of my favorite cakes to make lately!
The base of the cake is similar to pound cake and it is sturdy enough to soak up any syrups you might brush on it, easy to layer and makes for a very simple and versatile cake for any time of year!
Not to mention, its very simple to whip up if you have a last minute dinner party or guests coming over for any reason. Just use whatever fresh fruit you have on hand, or if it’s winter time then you can always use any canned fruits -maybe even fruits you’ve canned yourself? The possibilities are endless!
Mei happens to LOVE fresh fruit and whipped cream – which lighter, healthier and just better tasting than frosting (in my opinion) and we whip fresh cream for this cake each time. It also gives Mei an excuse to perfect the art of licking the beaters. Eventually this is a job she will have to share with her sister. Even the husband unit will come over and make the spatula “disappear” with an extra dollop of cream on it…. sneaky, sneaky!
When you are whipping your cream, push it to the limit. This will make it really firm and frosting-like, so that when you pull the cake out of the fridge for serving, the cream won’t go limp or start to “melt” off your cake as you are serving it. I also like it firm so it holds the fruit much better.
This is simply a great cake that lends itself to tweaking however you like. I have made simple strawberry syrups to soak the layers in and added citrus zest to the cake itself, little things that change the taste from cake to cake to make it something new and special each time we bake it. A perfect cake for all the time!
Ingredients: (makes three, 9 in round cakes)
- 2 C all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs, separated at room temperature
- 1-1/2 C sugar
- 16 TBS (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 3-4 tsp vanilla extract (or a combination of cognac and vanilla)
- 1-2 cups of fresh fruit of your choosing, we like lots of berries
- 4 C of heavy cream
- 1 C (or more) sugar, granulated
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter three, 9-in round cake pans, dusting the inside with flour, and tap out the excess.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks but are still glossy.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together with a whisk until they are thick and pale. Pour in the melted butter and the vanilla or alcohol, if you are using it, and whisk gently until you have a satiny batter. Gently whisk in the flour mixture. Switch to a rubber spatula and stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the batter then lightly fold into the remainder of the whipped whites. Scrape the batter evenly into the three pans, put each pan on the lined baking sheet.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cake is golden and starting to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for about ten minutes. Run a blunt knife around the edge of the pan and unmold the cake onto the cooling rack, turn the cake right side up and let it cool to room temperature on the rack.
Whip your cream! Beat it into submission and adding sugar until it is as sweet as you like or want it to be. Press plastic wrap to the cream and place it in the fridge to chill while you wait for your cakes to become cool enough to frost.
If the tops of each layer are not level, feel free to level it. Place the first layer of cake right side up on the plate you plan to serve the cake from. Cut pieces of parchment paper to tuck just under the cake around the circumference of the cake to keep your plate “pretty” once you have finished icing and decorating your cake you will be carefully removing the pieces of parchment.
Using a spatula, smear a small layer of whipped cream on your cake, acting as the glue. Press the fruit you like into the whipped cream, putting as many bits of fruit as you can. Generally I like to use fruits that can be sliced flat (ie. strawberries, kiwi, peaches). Then spread a dollop or two more of whipped cream on top of the fruit before adding the next layer.
Add the next layer of cake upside down, so that the “top” is down, creating a completely level and flat cake to work with. Repeat the previous step with the whipped cream and fruit. Sometimes, I will put two different fruits on one layer and a different pair of fruit in the next layer up to create some difference and ensuring the plenty of each fruit is used.
On the top layer, you can pipe a thick edge around the top of the cake then fill the void with whipped cream, smoothing it to meet the piped edge, which will help to keep a nice, even layer of whipped cream on the top of your cake. Decoratively add your fruits to your liking. I like to try my hand at different geometric or repeating patterns to create some interest but, do what you like! You can even make a monogram or patriotic pattern if you like.
Dont forget to frost the outside of the cake, using the spatula to fill in any voids between the fruit and cake then frosting a thin, crumb coat on the cake then letting it sit in the fridge for an hour or two to set the crumb coat. Finishing icing the cake with the remainder of the frosting, reserving some to pipe along the bottom edge of the cake if desired. Then carefully remove the bits of parchment and chill until ready to serve!
Have you entered my giveaway yet? There is a very exciting twist to this month’s giveaway!