Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Buttermilk Cake with Strawberry Whipped Cream

This is the Norman Rockwell of cakes - the homey, All-American taste makes you nostalgic for picnics and summertime. Buttermilk cake is deliciously paired with fresh whipped cream and strawberry jam, reminding us that sometimes the best desserts are the simplest. Make the cake the same day so it can be as fresh as possible. Use any good quality Strawberry Jam for the filling and the whipped cream (I prefer a seedless one that does not have large chunks when I use it for fillings).

Buttermilk Cake:

2 cups sifted Cake Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 Cup (1 stick) softened butter
4 egg yolks
2/3 Cup Buttermilk
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line with parchment one 9" pan or two 6" round pans. (To get the four layers shown here, I used two 6" pans and then cut the cakes in half horizontally).

Combine the flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Salt in a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of your KitchenAid mixer). Mix together by hand or on low speed with the mixer until ingredients are thoroughly combined, about one minute. Add the softened butter into the flour mixture in small chunks and add in half of the buttermilk. With an electric mixer, beat on low until combined. Turn up to medium and beat for one minute to aerate the batter.

Mix together the rest of the buttermilk with the egg yolks and vanilla. Beat lightly. Add the liquid mixture to the batter in three batches, beating on low after each addition just until combined. Scrape down the bowl.

Pour batter into the pans and bake 30-40 minutes for the one 9" cake or 25-30 minutes for the two 6" layers. Let cool completely before frosting.

Strawberry Whipped Cream:
1 pint heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon Strawberry Jam

Chill your mixing bowl and wire whisk in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Have the cream and the jam very cold as well.

Place the cream into the mixing bowl and whip vigorously with the wire whisk until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and jam and continue to beat until you can form stiff peaks.

NOTE: If you are not serving the cake within ah hour of frosting it, you can add a "stabilizer" to the whipped cream so it will not separate. Commercial stabilizers are available such as Whip It from Dr. Oetker which is available at most cake decorating stores or online. OR you can make your own stabilizer with gelatin. Dissolve 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin over 4 teaspoons water, and let sit five minutes. Then microwave on high until the gelatin is dissolved (Cooking only 15 seconds at a time and stirring. Repeat until dissolved). Let sit until it cools to room temperature but it is still liquid. Add into the whipped cream when you add the sugar.

When cooled, cut the cake horizontally into layers. Fill the cake layers with strawberry jam and frost with the Strawberry Whipped Cream.


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