Up sum­mer with straw­berry-lemon­ade cake

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT - By J ill Cluf f

Per­haps the only good thing to come out of all this cursed rain is that my berry patch is boom­ing.

I’m go­ing to have a huge crop this year – es­pe­cially rasp­ber­ries and straw­ber­ries. I can’t wait to taste their sun-kissed sweet­ness.

Wrap your lips around this amaz­ing cake that I dis­cov­ered in a South­ern Liv­ing Mag­a­zine a cou­ple of sum­mers ago. Don’t be in­tim­i­dated by all the in­gre­di­ents and steps. You can easily swap a store-bought all-fruit straw­berry jam for the straw­berry jam here and save time.

It looks as im­pres­sive as it tastes – like sum­mer on a fork. Straw­berry-Lemon­ade Layer Cake

Serves 12 1 cup but­ter, soft­ened 2 cups gran­u­lated sugar 4 large eggs, sep­a­rated 3 cups cake flour 1 ta­ble­spoon bak­ing pow­der 1/8 tea­spoon table salt 1 cup milk 1 ta­ble­spoon lemon zest

1 ta­ble­spoon fresh lemon juice

Straw­berr y- Lemon­ade Jam (recipe below)

Straw­berry Frost­ing (recipe below)

Pre­heat your oven to 350 F. Beat but­ter at medium speed with an elec­tric mixer un­til creamy. Then grad­u­ally add in sugar, beat­ing un­til light and fluffy. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beat­ing un­til blended.

Stir to­gether flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt. Add the dry in­gre­di­ents to the but­ter mix­ture al­ter­nately with milk, be­gin­ning and end­ing with the flour mix­ture. Beat at low speed just un­til blended. Stir in zest and juice.

Beat egg whites in a large bowl at high speed un­til stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-third of egg whites into bat­ter. Fold in re­main­ing egg whites. Spoon bat­ter into greased (with short­en­ing) and floured round cake pans. I usu­ally make it in two high 9-inch pans, but four could also be used.

Bake at 350 F for 16 to 20 min­utes or un­til a pick in­serted in the cen­ter comes out clean. Cool pans on wire racks for 10 min­utes. Re­move from pans to wire racks and cool com­pletely. Straw­berry-Lemon­ade

Jam Yields 1 2/3 cups 1/2 cups coarsely

2 chopped fresh straw­ber­ries 3/4 cup sugar 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice 3 ta­ble­spoons corn­starch You will want to make this ahead of time. How­ever, it can be re­frig­er­ated in an air­tight con­tainer up to a week.

First, process the straw­ber­ries in a blender un­til smooth. Press the berries through a wire-mesh strainer into a 3-quart saucepan, us­ing the back of a spoon to squeeze out juice. Dis­card pulp and then stir in the sugar.

Whisk the lemon juice and corn­starch to­gether be­fore grad­u­ally whisk­ing that into the straw­berry mix­ture. In the saucepan, bring the mix­ture to a boil over medium heat and cook, whisk­ing con­stantly, a minute. Re­move from heat. Place plas­tic wrap di­rectly on warm jam; chill two hours or un­til cold. Straw­berry Frost­ing

Yields 5 cups 1 (8-ounce) pack­age cream cheese, soft­ened 2/3 cup sugar, di­vided 2/3 cup chopped fresh straw­ber­ries

1 drop pink food col­or­ing gel (op­tional) 1 1/2 cups heavy cream 3 ta­ble­spoons fresh lemon juice

To make the frost­ing, beat the cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar with an elec­tric mixer un­til smooth. Add straw­ber­ries and food col­or­ing (if de­sired) and beat un­til blended.

In a sep­a­rate bowl, beat cream and juice at medium speed un­til foamy. In­crease speed to medium-high, and slowly add re­main­ing 1/3 cup sugar, beat­ing un­til stiff peaks form. Fold half of cream mix­ture into cheese mix­ture, then fold in re­main­ing cream mix­ture. Use im- me­di­ately.

To as­sem­ble the cake, place one cake layer on a serv­ing plat­ter, and spread with about 1/2 cup straw­berry-lemon­ade jam, leav­ing a 1/2-inch border around edges.

Spoon 1 cup straw­berry frost­ing into a zip-top plas­tic freezer bag. Snip a cor­ner of bag to make a small hole. Pipe a ring of frost­ing around cake layer just in­side the top edge.

Top with sec­ond and third cake lay­ers, re­peat­ing pro­ce­dure with fill­ing and frost­ing be­tween each layer. Top with last cake layer, and spread re­main­ing frost­ing on top and sides of cake.

Jill Cluff is a some­times li­brar­ian who is mar­ried to one gi­ant and mom to two boys. She loves all things book- and food-re­lated – of­ten at the same time.

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY JILL CLUFF

CECIL WHIG PHOTO BY DARA MCBRIDE

Coun­ter­weights al­lowed the 1925 Ch­e­sa­peake City lift bridge to move up and down.

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