where i've been...

It's been a long hiatus.

I wish I could say I've been around the world and back. Machu Picchu, Galapagos Islands, the Great Wall and Angkor Wat... only in my dreams.

Instead, here's the short list of what's been eating up my time.

 Too many woman hours have been spent catching up in Season 3
of Game of Thrones. I am definitely Team Daenerys.
Seriously, who can argue against a strong woman with three dragon children/pets?

Draw Something has awoken the inner artist in me, one I never knew existed.
I like how Brendan said it: "It's a super fun way to find out that you're a terrible artist 
and/or that your friends are super dumb and can't figure anything out."
My doodles are pretty comically pathetic compared to some of the artwork he posted or these.

The Opera Theatre of Montclair is a start up opera company here in NJ.
This past spring, I've been playing piano at various fundraisers
and loving the chance to concertize with singers.

Enough of me!

Well, not really. This cake has a back story: the Chicago BFF and I always talk menu whenever a holiday comes up. We talk food almost every day, but special occasions always necessitate several all-consuming conversations of menu ideas.  Four Easters ago, she raved about a new dessert, a Strawberry Cream Cake. The name rang a bell and I shuffled through my papers in the cookbook cupboard.  Lo and behold, I had printed out this recipe, from America's Test Kitchen TV, on 4/1/07. Back then, it sounded absolutely delicious and obviously had caught my eye, but it had never made it from paper to reality in my house.

There's nothing quite like a dinner party to kick me out of my dvr-induced stupor. I volunteered to make dessert— no surprise there— and this recipe had been on the docket for an eternity. The BFF highly recommended it and FINALLY, six years later, I gave it a try.

I am so glad I did. The strawberry purée, tender crumb, and cream cheese whipped cream yumminess makes this a stand out dessert. Please, please don't do like I did and wait six years. Try it today, you will thank me.

Strawberry Cream Cake
from the Episode: Strawberry Cream Cake

1 1/4 cake flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 c. sugar
5 large eggs (2 whole and 3 separated), room temperature
6 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 T. water
2 t. vanilla extract

Strawberry Filling
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed
4-6 T. sugar
2 T. Kirsch
Pinch of salt

Whipped Cream
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. table salt
2 c. heavy cream

For the cake-
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350ºF.  Grease and flour round 9 x 2-inch cake pan and line with parchment paper.  Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and all but 3 T. sugar in mixing bowl.  Whisk in  2 whole eggs and 3 yolks (reserving whites), butter, water, and vanilla; whisk until smooth.

With standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat in a separate bowl the remaining 3 egg whites at medium-low speed until frothy, 1 to 2 minutes.  With machine running, gradually add remaining 3 T. sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and beat until soft peaks form, 60 to 90 seconds.  Stir one-third of whites into batter to lighten; add remaining whites and gently fold into batter until no white steaks remain.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes.  Cool in pan 10 minutes, then invert cake onto greased wire rack; peel off and discard parchment.  Invert cake again; cool completely, about 2 hours.

For the strawberry filling-
Halve 24 of the best-looking berries and reserve.  Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 T. sugar (depending on the sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally.  Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup).  In workbowl of food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups).  In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 T., 3 to 5 minutes.  Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine.  Set aside until cake is cooled.

For the whipped cream-
When cake has cooled, place cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt in bowl of standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment.  Whisk at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down bowl with rubber spatula as needed.  Reduce speed to low and add heavy cream in slow, steady stream; when almost fully combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture holds stiff peaks, 2 to 2 1/2 minutes more, scraping bowl as needed (you should have about 4 1/2 cups).

To assemble the cake-
Using large serrated knife, slice cake into three even layers.  Place bottom layer on cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer.  Pour one half of pureed berry mixture (about 3/4 cup) in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake.  Gently spread about one-third of whipped cream (about 1 1/2 cups) over berry layer, leaving 1/2 inch border from edge.  Place middle cake layer on top and press down gently (whipped cream layer should become flush with cake edge).  Repeat with 20 additional strawberry halves, remaining berry mixture, and half of remaining whipped cream; gently press last cake layer on top. Spread remaining whipped cream over top; decorate with remaining cut strawberries.  Serve, or chill up to 4 hours.


  1. So glad you're back! I missed you! This recipe sounds delicious! I mean, cream cheese and strawberries? What could be better?

  2. I'll thank you, but apparently you should thank me first :-)
    Looks absolutely divine!

  3. Wow - I hope I have a reason to make this someday...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...