I am leaving San Francisco soon, which makes me look at the things I hoped to achieve here and sigh at the lone stragglers I never got to. One of them is having a csa box of locally grown fruits and veggies. This weekend I got to visit one of the csa farms for their annual summer bbq as one of my friends works for them. To get the full experience, I competed in their strawberry bake off.
We wandered around the grounds picking the delights of the end of may- strawberries, carrots, cherries, and figs. The people were great and the farm is really a special place. I definitely recommend joining if you are in San Francisco. I know people who are members and have heard only good things.
As for the bake-off, there was some stiff competition and I didn’t win! In fact, as I was baking, I tasted the batter and was thinking, I’m going to kill this. Then, with my attention span of a fly, I let it sit in the oven too long and ended up with a slightly over crisped cake. It was still really good, but I’ll just say my store bought berries didn’t stand a chance against the slow ripened berries of the farm lands anyway.
In defense of this cake, the cake part which has melted white chocolate and folded egg whites is one of the moistest most delicious cakes I’ve ever tried. If your berries were like mine and less sweet, I would maybe add another tablespoon or so of sugar to the filling mixture. or, I’d recommend melting a few ounces of white chocolate and folding it into the filling mixture at the end. For a special occasion in the swells of strawberry season, this cake is perfection. Happy summer.
White Chocolate Buttermilk Cake with Strawberries and Creme Fraiche
(From Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard)
For the cake:
2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 oz white chocolate (good quality)
6 oz, (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup buttermilk
For the filling and topping:
2 cups of heavy cream
1 cup crème fraiche
1 T of sugar
2 pints of strawberries, hulled and quartered
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line 2 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper and pan
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl and set aside
Melt the white chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes at half power. Be careful as white chocolate burns easily
In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar on high for 2 minutes with a mixer. Scrape down sides and beat for 3 more minutes until it is light and creamy
Scrape 2 Tablespoons of the whipped butter into the white chocolate and blend. Then add the white chocolate mixture back to the butter mixture and beat until combined
Add the egg yolks in two batches, just mixing until blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between additions. Add the vanilla and mix until blended
On low speed add the flour mixture and buttermilk in four additions, alternating.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then beat in the remaining ¼ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff glossy peaks form.
Fold half the egg white mixture into the batter and then gently fold in the rest.
Divide batter into two pans and bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and firm to the touch. (the recipe said 45, but that was too long for me)
Remove from the oven. Let cool in the pans.
When cake is completely cool invert onto counter and cut each round in half crosswise
Whip together the crème fraiche, cream, and sugar until medium stiff peaks form
Add 1 ¼ cup of cream and 1/3 of the berries in between each layer. Sprinkle the top layer with powdered sugar lightly