Genoise faux pas
Our story begins on a bright day: three ladies in a strawberry field, eager to turn their fresh strawberries into spongy french cake. This week’s project with TWD, French Strawberry Cake, was like frolicking through a french meadow, let’s call it Genoise. Only we wore blindfolds, over-confident frolickers we are, and, well, crashed into a brick cake of a cow.
Baking weekend began with a hop over the river to Sauvie Island, where strawberry season is alive and well. We picked what appeared to be three pints, and what somehow multiplied into seven or eight. More for everyone! Strawberries are gluten-free and therefore edible to all in our household.
We returned home, whipped the eggs and sugar, and passed the specified 10-second ribbon drip test. Hannah and I took turns folding in the fine cake flour. All the while, our butter, melted approximately 15 min earlier, grew colder and colder. When it came time to fold some of the flour froth into the butter, the butter was a bit heavier and quite comfortable at the bottom of the bowl. We folded it anyways. Cue the cow.
Spongy cake baked and cooled in a 9-inch pan. An 8-inch pan would have been better. When it came time to slice our skinny biscuit of a cake into three layers, we realized our cake would only survive one cut. To pile on that strawberry filling (there’s lots of it!), we added a whipped cream border to contain the berry lake and allow us to frost the sides with no pink smears.
I must share with you my favorite piping bag trick, for those of you that may not have seen this before, and are not eager to goo your hands. Place the icing (or whipped cream) on a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold both sides over the mound and press out the air. Pinch the folded edges of the wrap and do a jump-rope motion with both hands. This twists the ends tightly around the mound.
Put your plastic coupling in the piping bag. Thread one twisted plastic-wrap-end through the bag and cut off the plastic wrap that sticks out the tip. Then, attach the other half of the coupling and the piping tip. Takes mere seconds.
When you’re done piping, pull out the plastic wrap, and, hopefully, only the very tip is gooey.
Back to the main road:
We frosted and decorated our cake with a selection from our plethora of strawberries. Then, we got out the ice pick and chisel and…well, we should have…we tried to cut a slice. Hannah asked me several times if I had placed a cardboard round or maybe a brick at the bottom. No, no bricks were harmed in this process.
Careful reflection has led us to believe that the bottom layer is hard because the butter was not well-incorporated. If, however, in reading our story, you discover another faux pas, or cow in the way, do let us know. We will try not to run blindfolded into the next one.