Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sponge cake with Nutella, strawberries and cream

Trying to spark blogger coils after long hiatuses is truly hard task, although I offer myself credit of doing it way better than anyone else. Of course, Season of Inferno discourages beyond measure these four-five-feels like forever- months when I put together cooking instructions/ ingredient lists and I'd rather be at the beach. Not that my overzealous kitchen experimenting has come to a halt. Nor is the motivation lost. It's just the disappointment in seeing pictures taken, edited, ready to link in what would be a perfect representation of summer, and realizing that the same summer is ready to be up and gone. Almost. I suppose, again, the resourcefulness that springs from being that errant recipe writer, often brings sporadic bouts of awesomeness, such as these, to fellow mankind. Thus, I believe I do my part and that belief is what gasses a post forward. So, this is somewhat of a midsummer's miracle. 

Turning through past dessert sequences, there seem to be more than a few pages dedicated to multi componented constructions, particularly a few layered, fruited treats. These conversations of cakeplusmanyoddities are utter, but simple refinement and convey much to the networking of complex flavor. These be the prototypes which owe a lot to a foundation built from flour, eggs, sugar, electric mixer.  Aand, in case you haven't come across the BFMK recipe index that I so proactively (seriously, your requests were hounding my dreams, ridding me of much sleep) spent a day, night and half of another tabling together, you can easily thumb through and find whatever I've highlighted and much more. 

Today we're aligning to this dynamic class of cake tiering a pound of fragraria, succulent bursts of red, that really do make for the best lipbalm flavor, ever. A genus of berry so accessible and affordable during these few months, where the harvest of our West coast alone would circle the globe more than 15 times. Yah, really! Then is it any surprise that my- probably yours too- refrigerator smells like strawberrypatchcentral?

Sponge cake is probably one of the most popular cakes ever, with a painless gatherable six ingredients that you're definite exist somewhere in your pantry/kitchen/closet right at this moment. Even when you're pressed for time, this is that cake you'd take to a potluck(yes, and several times), whip up for sweetdeprived(not really) kids, maybe dog as well. And if you follow through close to point, there's no room for unsuccess. 

Further, it's a deceptively easy assembly where each remarkable blanket of flavor helps build up to a blissful completion. Orange kissed drench over moist crumb. A luscious layover of creamy Nutella. Billowing clouds of puff cream. Ripe strawberries readying on to transcendence. Yes. We've just about reached.

The biggest plus? It is that one template from a rare few that doesn't need to be followed verbatim. This dynamic blueprint can be changed up/over/around to wherever the Tastebud Fairies transport you.

Shall we envisage a few prospects? How about clove-infused syrup in conjunction with poached pears and vanilla cream to drape on halved sponge? Dreamy pineapplejuice-rum soaked slices, topped and tucked with caramel, nuts and/or diced pineapple. These variant formats with the constant being today's cake are just wee bits from endlessly astounding possibilities which may or may not be sparking your hyperactive imaginations as we speak. Rest assured, it's all good.

I do believe keeping this from you any further is tantamount to serious crime. 

Besides it's way too pretty to be confined to a single screen.

And I'm thankful you stayed here for so long.

Do I hear you singing?

Or it could just be the angels.

This was a split-into-two presentation, one taken to a potluck, the other kept for the two junior beings I house, who finished it off in a day and vouch almost everytime they get a chance that this is the. Best. Dessert. Ever.

For the cake~
(Cake recipe adapted from CakeBoss sponge cake)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup salted butter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
For the syrup and topping~
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1 jar Nutella
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
  • mint sprigs(optional)
  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Beat eggs in stand mixer bowl on medium-high for 4 minutes. Do time this, it is crucial to get enough air beaten in so that it becomes light and airy.
  • Slowly add sugar to the eggs, and beat for another 3-4 minutes until light and fluffy.  
  • Beat in vanilla and zest.
  • In a saucepan on medium heat, melt milk and butter until butter is melted and both are blended.  Allow to cool a bit.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Add to eggs and beat/mix gently until combined. 
  • Carefully stir milk/butter mixture this into the batter. Mix until just combined.
  • Pour evenly into two greased/floured 8" round cake pans.
  • Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes. After that reduce oven heat to 325°F for an additional 10 minutes or until the middle springs back when touched, or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
  • In the meantime, make a syrup by heating water and sugar in saucepan on stovetop. Take off heat. Stir in orange juice and zest.
  • Allow this syrup to cool slightly.
  • Take out cakes from oven and let stand in pans for 10 minutes. Turnover cakes onto wire racks to cool completely.
  • Gently spoon/spritz  orange spiked sugar syrup over cakes until cakes absorb and are somewhat dampened.
  • Let cakes set for a while or pop them into refrigerator for thirty minutes.
  • Meanwhile whip cream stiff, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and beat till amalgamated. Chill until cakes are ready.
  • Take cakes out and spread half the nutella over one cake. Spoon half the whipped cream over Nutella.
  • Arrange half the strawberries over the cream layer.
  • Set the second cake over the topped layer.
  • Repeat with the remaining Nutella, cream and strawberries.
  • Add mint to garnish. Keep chilled in refrigerator until serving.
  • Keep leftover cake covered and chilled.
Fabulous at room temp, yet chilled it becomes unbearably fantastic.
"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17

 Thank you to all my buddies. You sharpen, encourage, uplift.  That goes to the fellow gourmands and recipewriting/interblog kin that springboard you, reiterating that yes, you can blog on. Those that actually aren't repulsed, but smile and offer small talk when your sweating face is barely making it through two reps at the gym. The one who brings you strawberries and bumper crops from her own backyard, for nefarious recipes such as these. Or load your schedule with playdates /activities and always include your kids when you never have the foresight to do so. Even them who reach out after a 20+ year gap and start conversation like it had never been dropped off. Most of all, thanks for just being nice when nice is all you need. God bless.