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Tuesdays with Dorie: French Strawberry Cake

or… How I didn’t COMPLETELY suck at making a fancy French cake. Just a little bit…

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie – Baking with Julia – recipe, French Strawberry Cake (p 273) was hosted by Sophia of Sophia’s Sweets and Allison of Sleep Love Think Dine.  As soon as I saw this, I knew I would just have to jump in, fearlessly, and just get on with it. The idea of a génoise cake makes me afraid – though it is just  a few simple ingredients (flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla), it is a delicate batter that is prone to collapsing at the last minute as you are folding the melted butter in, meaning your cake will lose a lot of its height.

The cake is supposed to be cut into three layers, filled with strawberries macerated in sugar and cream and then frosted with a cream/ sour cream frosting. Something else I am not good at. I am going to blame it on the lack of appropriate tools to ice a cake correctly and smoothly.

As you can see, my cake was not very high at all (I read the Problems and Questions post after I had baked the cake, realising I should have re-sifted my dry ingredients and used a bowl other than the Kitchen Aid bowl as all the dry ingredients clumped at the bottom of the bowl on the raised part). I had to fold the dry ingredients much more vigorously than I know is right and hence, my cake lost a lot of height.

But I did manage to cut it fairly cleanly in halves to make two layers…

I know, I know, it’s not terribly impressive but you’re dealing with someone here who generally makes mini versions of everything so for me to even attempt a full-sized cake was pretty good going.

Whilst the end product didn’t look as spectacular as I am sure it is supposed to, for a first attempt at a full-sized layer cake, it’s *not bad*.  It tasted good – not too sweet, quite light (considering it lost a lot of height) and overall, I was impressed. I’d make it again. But maybe in mini size…

Tuesdays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs except if we happen to be the host for the week, rather, we prefer if you purchase Baking with Julia for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository.  Then join us, baking along at Tuesdays with Dorie.  Go on, you know you want to.

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33 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie: French Strawberry Cake

  1. Liz June 19, 2012 at 06:09 #

    My hubby always reminds me that it’s only the taste he cares about…and I’m pleased yours was still yummy despite the technical difficulties :) Paris was incredible! I must return when it’s not monsoon season…maybe with some girlfriends so I can fully enjoy the shopping and dining :)

  2. Cher June 19, 2012 at 07:35 #

    When I saw the cut into 1/3′s deal, I knew that wasn’t going to happen (usually if I need three, I just bake 3 layers :-) )
    This looks lovely, light and refreshing.

  3. The Mistress of Spices June 19, 2012 at 07:41 #

    That doesn’t look like a disaster at all, looks very pretty actually! I’ll have to check out this recipe, as I love berry cakes. I love your gorgeous plate too!

  4. Paula June 19, 2012 at 08:59 #

    Taste is what counts and given that this was still light after your mixing problems then I’m sure it was great. It certainly looks lovely and I agree, these would be very nice in mini form for a summer dessert.

  5. Mr. Neil June 19, 2012 at 09:14 #

    Well Mr. Neil for one was pleased to see a full-size dessert in the Cleo Household, for once! ;-)

    This was, to me, a success. A *tad* heavy, if I were being picky. But from a height perspective, I think I actually PREFER the less-high version. It bugs me to eat high cakes, that start to collapse and look ugly as you make your way through them…

    I also thought it was beautiful, in a simplistic, clean lines, Bauhaus sort of way. White and red, a classic summery look.

    This was served to dinner guests at the end of a simply stupendous and decadent meal (both food and wine pairings). So I had to continue and brought out a bottle of Sauternes. A bit too recent at 2006, but a nice complement nonetheless (my first taste of a case I had cellared a few years back).

  6. Isabelle @ Crumb June 19, 2012 at 11:45 #

    Beautiful cake, Mardi! I had a lot of the same issues making my genoise, though it was thankfully still thick enough to do three whole layers. OMG, did I ever have heart palpitations while I was folding in the flour, though!
    I’m guilty of making a mini version this time around, mostly because I couldn’t deal with the idea of polishing off an entire 8″ cake on my own. :)

  7. Lynn June 19, 2012 at 13:08 #

    It looks lovely, Mardi.
    I did fine with the genoise, but had the many of the same decorating issues I often do with layer cakes. Maybe I should go mini next time!

  8. Eileen June 19, 2012 at 15:36 #

    Looks good! Good for you for trying it full-size. It made me laugh when you said you usually prefer to make everything in miniature. I usually hate making small things, unless it’s just dumping batter in a cupcake tin and calling it a day. I don’t know how anyone makes a whole bunch of little pies or tarts. I would go crazy. haha!

  9. Jessica of My Baking Heart June 19, 2012 at 16:09 #

    It’s beautiful… height or no height! And I love the plate, too. :)

  10. K A B L O O E Y June 19, 2012 at 16:53 #

    It really does look beautiful, and I’m sure it tasted deeeelicicious.

  11. Ferda June 19, 2012 at 19:14 #

    Beautiful cake.. Mine came out very flat but I went for all 3 layers, one missing 1/8th of the whole :)

  12. Lola June 19, 2012 at 19:53 #

    Glad you enjoyed it! Your first full size layer cake looks like a success to me:)

  13. Allison June 21, 2012 at 11:50 #

    It looks perfectly yummy. Great job!

  14. Alice June 22, 2012 at 10:37 #

    :) looks like you still had a somewhat successful genoise anyways! :) at least you enjoyed your finished product! I have noticed that the French really enjoy their fragile baking processes quite a bit … maybe they just really enjoy baking quietly, patiently and with just the most gentle touch! :) Enjoy your five weeks in Paris! Wish I could be there for five weeks, I would LOVE that!

    • Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 4, 2012 at 15:36 #

      Yes it was tasty and pretty light all things considered! Baking quietly and patiently is something I need to practice!

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction June 22, 2012 at 11:20 #

    Your cake looks lovely, even if it didn’t quite have the height you had hoped for. It is making me wish that strawberry season hadn’t just ended here!

  16. marilyn June 26, 2012 at 19:41 #

    your cake looks sweet and simple, and taste is more important than looks (or height), right? just call it a torte!

  17. Betty Cupcake June 27, 2012 at 10:59 #

    Nice presentation for the cake. It looks very delicious.

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