Monday, May 7, 2012

Strawberry-Lemon Sheet Cake

There are some flavors that were made for each other.  Strawberry and lemon are two of those in my opinion.   I ran across this Strawberry-Lemon cake in "the box".  It's from a June 2004 issue of Southern Living.

Here are the cast of characters for the cake

 and the cast of characters for the strawberry sauce

I made the strawberry sauce the night before I needed it.

After I cooked down my strawberries, they were still quite chunky so I took an immersion blender to the fruit.

That smoothed it up nicely for me.

Placing a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap will keep the sauce from forming a skin.  I put it in the refrigerator and let it set over night.  You will need to take a whisk to it the next morning before you use it.

The strawberry-lemon filling turned out tasty.  The strawberry was definitely winning out in the flavor department but I was able to detect a little tang of lemon.  Not quite as lemony as I would have liked.

The cake is a thin sheet cake that had a sponge cake texture to it.  After letting the cake completely cool (1st in the pan then on a cooling rack), I turned it out onto a large cutting board and quartered it (you can 1/2 it if you prefer).  Upon taking a little nibble of the cake I didn't think the cake had any lemon taste to it (it only called for 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of lemon rind).

I decided more lemon was needed so I mixed up a lemon glaze and spread on the cake layers prior to spreading the strawberry-lemon filling.

That was definitely the right choice for lemon flavor.

But, maybe not so much on the engineering front.  Laugh as you will.  I did.  The goal of this site was never to perfect the recipe then post it. 

The glaze put a bit of a slick surface on each cake layer once it was dried. I spread a layer of strawberry filling on top of the glaze and once the second layer was laid on top it proceeded to slide like a slow avalanche.

Several skewers solved the problem and once the cake was placed back in the refrigerator the filling firmed up, and the cake was once again stable and I was able to work the layers back on top of each other.  Covered in whipped cream, you'd never know it was a near disaster!

Sliced up and plated the layers were very pretty and the cake was really tasty. 

Thoughts and Notes:
■  Mix this cake batter by hand for a more tender and moist cake.
■  Even with all the construction flaws this is a good tasting recipe once the extra lemon element was added.  I think it would have been blah without the lemon glaze.
■  This recipe would be easier to manage made into individual 2-layer mini-cakes by cutting the sponge cake out with a 3"- 4" round cookie cutter or some other geometric shape.
■  I don't know if the lemon glaze had anything to do with the slipping and sliding, but I'd do it again because the cake desperately needed more lemon.
■  The next go 'round (yes, I will address this cake again) we'll try the minis and possibly baking the cake in a smaller pan so it's thicker and the layers can be shaved flat on top (this was too thin to trim any off the top).

Strawberry-Lemon Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Angie Beachy of Lusby, Maryland and featured in the June 2004 issue of Southern Living

For the Strawberry-Lemon Filling
1 (16 ounce) package whole frozen strawberries
6 Tbsp sugar, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Mise en place:
  • measure and divide sugar
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • measure flour
Bring strawberries, 4 Tbsp of the sugar, and the lemon juice to a boil i a medium saucepan, and cook 5 minutes.

If your strawberries are very chunky use an immersible blender to make the filling smooth.

Whisk together remaining 2 Tbsp of sugar and the flour in a saucepan.  Whisk in strawberry mixture; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thickened and bubbling around edges.  Pour into a glass bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap or wax paper; chill at least 2 hours or over night.

For the cake
2 cups cake flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Mise en place:
  • melt butter and allow to cool
  • grate lemon rind
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • break eggs into a medium mixing bowl
  • measure out milk & oil
  • measure out flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl & whisk together
Line a lightly greased 15" x 10" jellyroll pan with parchment paper; lightly grease the parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350°F.

Add the cooled butter, milk, oil, lemon rind and lemon juice into the mixing bowl with the eggs and whisk together until blended.

Whisk into dry ingredients just until blended.  Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool cake in pan on wire rack 10 minutes.  Invert cake onto a wire rack, and remove parchment paper; let cool completely.  Transfer cake to a large cutting board.

For the Lemon Glaze
1-1/2 cup powdered sugar
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
zest of one lemon

Mise en place
  • measure out powdered sugar into small mixing bowl
  • zest the lemon
  • juice the lemon
Using a whisk, mix all three ingredients until well combined.

For the Whipping Cream
1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
6 Tbsp sugar

Beat whipping cream and sugar at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.  Refrigerate.

Cut sheet cake in quarters to create rectangles.  Divide the lemon glaze among the 4 layers, allowing to drip down sides slightly.  Place bottom layer on serving plate.  Spread filling on bottom layer.  Place second layer on top of bottom layer; spread filling on top of second layer; repeat this process with last two layers.  Secure with skewers stuck through the top of the cake, if necessary.  Refrigerate while you make the whipping cream.

To frost this cake you can simply spread the whipped cream on the sides and top of the cake, or just the sides.  You can also spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag and decoratively pipe around the sides of the cake, leaving the top un-covered showing off the bright red filling.

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