Tuesday, June 19, 2012

TwD: French Strawberry Cake

I was cautiously optimistic about the French Strawberry Cake that was selected this week for Tuesdays with Dorie. I love strawberry shortcake, but I hate--HATE--wedding cake. All wedding cake. I didn't even like my own. I just ordered the one that everyone else seemed to like best. The cake part itself usually seems to be a flavorless vehicle to get toppings to your mouth, and it's usually covered in some element that makes it wet. Pudding, fruit, whatever. I don't like it, texturally. My wedding cake fears sprang to the forefront when I read through the recipe for this strawberry cake and realized that the genoise (cake) is supposed to be sliced into thirds, layered with macerated strawberries and whipped cream, then left to set in the fridge for a while. Sounds wet to me.

First problem, right out of the gate, was in slicing the cake. This was not a thick, forgiving cake to cut. It might have been an inch thick. I can't even slice a bagel evenly. I decided to halve it. The conversation with my husband went a little something like this:

Me: I'm supposed to cut this into thirds.
Matt: That?
Me: Yeah.
Matt: Never gonna happen.
Me: I think I'll halve it.
Matt: You can try, but you won't be able to do it.
Me: What are you suggesting?
Matt: Just leave it whole and pile the strawberries and cream on top of it.
Me: I'm not going to do that.
Matt: (Snort.) Good luck.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, bud. I mean, he was right--I made a huge mess of it, but still. haha. Fortunately, whipped cream masks all manner of kitchen disasters.

If anyone out there was able to slice this into thirds, I'm very impressed by you. I want you to know that.
I should be a food stylist.
I didn't really enjoy this cake. I didn't hate it, but I found myself picking the strawberries and cream off and leaving the cake behind. The cake, itself, didn't contribute anything delicious to the whole. I served it at a going-away party for two friends who are moving to Japan, and for myself (On Saturday, I'll begin my trek East, spending a month with fam in NY and DE before moving to Italy in August). A house full of people ate less than half of this cake. I've seen this group of friends clear tables of feasts, so if it was a dessert that they really loved, believe me, it would have been gone in two seconds.

I will say that I LOVED the addition of sour cream to the whipped cream. It gave it a nice tang. I'll definitely use that idea in the future.

If you want to see what this cake looks like when people actually take pretty pictures of it, check out what Sophia and Allison, our hosts for this week, did with it. The full recipe can be found on their blogs.


  1. Your discussion with your husband made me laugh! So sorry that your company did not eat the cake up, ours was gone is a short while! Just saying, I was able to cut the cake in 3 pieces. It was hard, but I was determines.

    By the way, Italy sounds great. You looking forward to it?

  2. I tip my imaginary hat at your ability to third this cake! I am SO looking forward to Italy. Anxious, at the moment, about the transition, but can't wait to be there and settled. Yippy!

  3. Oh, I totally hear you. Totally. I can't even draw a straight line to save my life let alone cut a stinkin 1 1/2" cake into three perfect layers. Not happening.

    Yeah for you being on the East Coast for a bit :-) We do rock out here, you know...

    1. I'm just hoping to cool down for a bit. My AC has been busted for 3 days now. It's 95 degrees here. I want to cry.

  4. I have to agree with you on this one; I was underwhelmed. I was going to go for three layers, but after cutting the first one, realized my folly and went with two.
    Good luck with the move, but at least Italy will be awesome.

  5. Love the convo with your husband. And your cake looks good... two layers and all. ;)

  6. I agree about the addition of sour cream to the whipped cream. That's something I'll use again. I liked this cake quite a bit but many of the cooks agreed with you about it. I just like cake to be on the dry side. Weird, huh? Italy sounds amazing! Hope you will be able to cook with us after the move or at least update us about what you're doing! Best of luck.

  7. Love that food styling! Btw, I had to have my engineering sister help me "third" the cake layer. I should've stuck with halving.

  8. I also love the addition of sour cream to the whipped cream! I think this recipe was a bit off…almost everyone had some sort of trouble with this cake! Your cake looks good…even if you didn’t get 3 layers!

  9. Your post made me laugh! Especially your photo caption! I think I got a lot of height on my cake because I used room temperature eggs. In the past, that has made a HUGE different with my genoise. And yes, slicing the layers is ridiculous. I actually had my husband do it for me. He got out the ruler and everything...but he's an engineer so he does dorky things like that. :)

  10. Great post - loved the conversation with the hubby - too funny!
    Hope you have a smooth move and a beautiful life in Italy.

  11. wow! I'm pretty jealous that you are moving to italy! Sounds great. This cake was not an easy one to slice but I'm glad it was still enjoyed

  12. do you know that you can get a cake leveler? it is really easy to use and makes for slicing level layers real quick and simple! :) and it costs all of 7-10$, worth it if you are going to keep making the cakes and such that will pop up in this recipe. It also sounds like your genoise didnt rise as much as it should have. I'm with you on cake (somewhat) I just tend not to like thick frostings and certainly not marzipan or fondant so this was perfect, whipped cream is light and with fresh berries and a light, spongy cake? delicious! i hope your next TWD gets a better reception than the cake did! good job!

  13. My husband laughed too when I told him I was supposed to cut the cake into 3rds. I liked the cake, although I think I would've enjoyed strawberry shortcake just as much, without nearly the headache. Sorry you and your guests didn't like this one..Are you going to continue TWD in Italy? It'll be fun to hear about your time there.