Friday, June 25, 2010
Strawberry Summer Cake
Now that we are officially into summer season, it’s time to think about the bounty of summer fruit. Strawberries always remind me of summer picnics and the fun of gathering with family and friends.
This is a little riff on Strawberry Shortcake with a bit of a Mediterranean flair. The cake includes just a smidgen of semolina to add a bit of edge to the texture. I use extra virgin olive oil to moisten and flavor the cake. It’s filled with fresh strawberries along with their delicious juices and finished with a cream that includes mascarpone and ricotta. It’s La Dolce Vita luscious. Just to complete the picture, I highly recommend serving with a glass of Brachetto d'Acqui or Prosecco.
Here’s to the long and lazy days of summer!
- You should be able to find semolina in bulk grocery stores. If you prefer to leave it out, just substitute flour for the semolina, totaling 1 1/2 cups of flour in the recipe.
- If you can’t find mascarpone, you can substitute cream cheese.
- Consider making homemade fresh ricotta. It's really delicious and worth the effort. All you'll need is milk, heavy cream, lemon juice, salt and cheesecloth, which you can find at most grocers and hardware stores.
- I cut the cake in half vertically for height in presentation, but you can also just cut it in half horizontally, fill and finish. Or just cut the cake into square servings and dollop the top with strawberries, juices and cream.
Strawberry Summer Cake
1 C + 2 T flour
1/4 C + 2 T semolina
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
3/4 C full-fat plain yogurt
1 C sugar
3 eggs @ room temperature
1 t vanilla
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
8 oz mascarpone
1 C ricotta
3/4 C sugar
tiny pinch of salt
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 t kirsch (optional)
1/2 C heavy cream
2 lbs fresh strawberries
1/4 C sugar, to taste
1 t orange zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9” x 9" x 2” square pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, semolina, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk the dry ingredients slowly and gently into the wet ingredients. Add the olive oil and blend thoroughly.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until the cake is a light golden brown and springs back when touched or a tester comes out clean.
Hull and slice the strawberries. Toss with sugar and orange zest. Set aside for about an hour to macerate, stirring every 15 minutes or so to distribute the juices.
For the cream, combine the mascarpone, ricotta, sugar, vanilla, kirsch (if using) and a tiny pinch of salt. Add the heavy cream and whip until the cream shows tracks and reaches a medium peak. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble, trim off the edges of the cake. Cut the cake in half and spread a layer of the cream and then add a layer of strawberries. Top with the second half of the cake and finish with the remaining cream. Serve with additional strawberries and their juices.