Strawberry Custard Cassata Cake
I hope everyone had a very Happy Mother’s Day! I had a great day. The weather was perfect and while I spent some time outdoors I also spent much of the afternoon doing what I love – cooking and preparing dinner for the evening when my mom, sister, and in-laws would come over.
I know what you’re thinking. Our parents are 91, 88 and 99 years old. So going out to eat although enjoyable, isn’t always easy. So over the years I’ve just decided it’s best to cook a nice meal at home rather than dine out or carry out, since some have extensive dietary restrictions.
The evening was perfect with both children home, my family and my husbands. I prepared a light healthy dinner but splurged on a cake that I’ve been wanting to make for years. I finally decided to make this cake after recently sampling one at a local bakery. There are quite a few steps but, it was well worth the effort.
It was unanimous, “this will be our new standard birthday cake.” That was a huge compliment since our old standard was a Black Forest Cake from a famous bakery here in town that closed it’s doors some 5 years ago, maybe longer. Since then we’ve been searching for a new replacement. I was thrilled to say the least, especially since it took me most of the morning to make it and a small part of the day before.
If you’re looking for a delicious cake, try this. It’s simply a chiffon cake, soaked with simple syrup/rum with layers of vanilla custard, strawberries and whipped cream. Here’s how you make it…….
Strawberry Custard Cassata Cake
- 2/3 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 oz. water
- 1 1/2 oz. canola oil
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 3 egg whites
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean or 2 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 whole egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 oz. sweet butter (cut into small pieces)
- Pinch of salt
- Ice bath to cool pastry cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 Tbsp. Rum or Grand Marnier (I used Rum)
Sweetened Whipped Cream:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 pints fresh strawberries, tops removed and sliced in half (reserve 3 berries for decoration)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Rum or Grand Marnier
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Prepare an 8-inch cake pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper (do not spray with non-stick spray).
- For the Chiffon Cake: Sift the first dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add the water, oil, and stir until they form a lump-free paste. Add the egg yolks, vanilla extract, and stir until fully blended.
- In another clean, grease-free bowl, whip the egg whites until they have tripled in volume and are light and foamy. With the machine running, add the 3 tablespoons of sugar, salt and continue to whip until the egg whites are stiff, but still shiny. Fold the egg whites into the batter and pour it into the prepared cake pan. Immediately place the cake in the center of the oven, and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes, or until the center springs back when gently pressed.
- Remove the cake for the oven and allow to cool on a screen for 5 minutes. Press down gently on the sides of the cake to release it from the pan. Invert the cake onto the cooling screen, remove the cake pan and allow the cake to cool completely. Then place in the refrigerator to chill.
- For the Pastry Cream (custard) - Place the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, salt and vanilla in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat.
- Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cornstarch in a stainless steel bowl and mix together with a wire whisk. Stir in the eggs one at a time to form a smooth, lump free paste.
- Add 1 or 2 ladles of hot milk to the egg mixture while stirring with a whisk to temper it. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling when they are added to the hot milk.
- With the milk on moderate heat, add the egg mixture to the hot milk all at once, constantly stirring vigorously with the whisk. Continue to stir until the cream thickens and comes to a second boil.
- Remove pot from heat and fold in pieces of sweet butter. Strain pastry cream into a stainless steel container and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place in an ice bath to cool as quickly as possible.
- To make the Simple Syrup place the sugar and water in a pot, stir once, and bring to a boil. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool. Once cool add liqueur.
- To make the Sweetened Whipped Cream, place the cream into a bowl with a whip attachment and whip on high speed. When the cream starts to thicken, add the sugar and continue to whip it until stiff peaks form. (Be sure to use cold cream and a cold bowl when whipping)..
- Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries and place them into a bowl. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. Rum or Grand Marnier (or more if desired) on top and toss together. Allow the strawberries to macerate (soak up the liqueur) for approximately 15 minutes.
- Assemble the Cake: Slice the cold chiffon cake into 3 equal layers. This is best done using a serrated knife. Brush a good amount of the simple syrup mixture onto the first layer of the cake. Spread about half of the pastry cream evenly over the layer and top with half of the macerated strawberries Top the berries with just enough sweetened whipped cream to cover them. Place the middle cake layer on top and push down gently. Repeat the procedure with the remaining pastry cream and strawberries and place the third layer of cake on top. Push down gently.
- With remaining whipped cream, ice the cake. Ice the top or top and sides if desired. More whipped cream may need to be made if you want to heavily ice the cake.
- Top with strawberries and decorate as desired.
Recipe adapted from: Jean-Pierre & Chef Rob Sobkowski
The strawberry cake sounds and looks definitely worth the effort!
The cake did take some time and quite a few steps but the results were wonderful and when everyone raves about it, the time and energy make it all worthwhile.
This looks divine!
It was I hope you’ll give it a whirl.
It’s a beautiful cake Vicki and sounds super delicous!
Totally delicious and fun to create.
This looks like a terrific cake! It looks gorgeous, and from reading the recipe I’ll bet it tastes great. It does take a bit of time to make, as you said, but I’ll bet it was totally worth it! Thanks so much for this.
It was definitely worth it. I did make the cake portion the night before and then completed the rest Mother’s Day morning. The results were amazing!
What a delicious, divine looking cake!
I love that it is easy to prepare as well, just ideal when you have family and friends around 🙂
It was delicious – there were quite a few steps but none of them difficult.
That looks utterly professional my friend, genius recipe 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
What an exquisite cake! So beautiful, Vicki…I’d love to try it, too 🙂
You should try it – you’re a great baker!
Such a lovely spring cake, Vicki! Great job!
It was the perfect cake for Mother’s Day – light, airy and delicious!
My goodness, it looks delicious, Vicki. Well worth the effort. It’s beautiful too!
It was really pretty. I remember when I unveiled the cake, everyone went oooh! That definitely made me feel great and then of course the rave reviews. It was well worth it.
What a deliciously beautiful cake! Perfect for Mother’s Day. Sounds like you had a wonderful day!
I did have a wonderful day. Everyone I love was with me, with the exception of one of my sisters who lives out of town. It was perfect! Hope you had a great day as well.