I am a strawberry girl. I eat strawberries out of hand, make pies & jams with them, macerate them, even grill and pepper them. But best of all? Little wild strawberries and cream. Now that Midwest strawberries are in season, I’m in heaven. Join me at the farmers market, buy several pints and what you don’t eat immediately you can set aside to make this sweet, many-splendored cake. It’s really a vintage-recipe blitz torte (minus the traditional almonds & cinnamon) elevated with clouds of whipped cream and a heap of strawberries.
Like other blitz tortes, this cake puts the egg yolks in the base layer of the cake and the whites in the meringue. Baked together, the layers achieve loads of textural interest: rich, spongy base; airy/chewy meringue. Vanilla pastry cream goes in the middle; berries and cream crown the top. I add gelatin to the whipped cream as a stabilizer, so it doesn’t seep, and, because there’s sugar in every other layer, I don’t sugar the berries at all. For best results? Assemble the cake right before service. And for more strawberry indulgence, try our version of Hess’s Strawberry Pie, (here’s version two of Hess’s Pie) and this strawberry refrigerator cake.
Makes one, 9-inch, two-layer cake
Blitz Torte Ingredients
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 tsp Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract if need be)
- 3 Tbsp whole milk
Vanilla Pastry Cream Ingredients
- 3 Tbsp cake flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp. Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract if need be)
- 1/2 stick butter
Stabilized Whipped Cream Ingredients
- 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
- 1 sheet silver strength gelatin
- 6 tsp cold water
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup superfine sugar
Fresh Strawberries Ingredients
- 4 cups, hulled and sliced right before service
- Make cake: Sift cake flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside. In bowl of a stand mixer, whip butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Add the four egg yolks and vanilla paste and beat at medium speed until incorporated. Add milk and beat again. Add sifted dry ingredients and mix just until no streaks show. Grease two 9-inch baking pans and insert rounds of parchment paper in the bottoms. Spread cake batter (it will be stiff) into the pans. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, whip egg whites until foamy; gradually add the remaining 3/4 cups of sugar and continue to whip until stiff and glossy. Preheat oven to 350. Set rack in the center of the oven. Spread meringue over the unbaked cake batter in the pans. Place pans on oven rack and bake for 30 minutes at 350. While cake layers bake, make whipped cream and pastry cream.
- Make pastry cream: In a double boiler over boiling water, combine flour, sugar, salt milk and beaten egg and whisk until thick. Stir in vanilla paste and butter. Remove pastry cream to a bowl, press plastic wrap over surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate.
- Make stabilized whipped cream: Chill mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Cut gelatin sheet and sprinkle gelatin powder over cold water. Allow to stand until thick. In a small pan over low hear, melt gelatin, stirring constantly. Remove to a bowl and let stand. Remove 1/4 cup of the cream to a separate bowl. In chilled bowl of stand mixer, whip remaining 1 3/4 cups cream with superfine sugar until soft peaks form. Stir the reserved 1/4 cup of cream into the warm liquid gelatin and immediately pour into the soft-peaked whipped cream; continue whipping until cream is whipped firm.
- Assemble cake: When ready to serve, place one layer of cake on serving platter, spread with pastry cream, top with remaining cake layer. Top with most of the whipped cream. Arrange sliced fresh strawberries on top of cloud of cream. Serve remaining cream and any extra strawberries with slices of the cake.