I love chocolate and peanut butter and all that rich, heavy stuff but sometimes we just need a break from those.
So how about some cake with fruits and whipped cream instead?
I love Japanese cakes. They're not as rich or dense, but still immensely satisfying. The Japanese are true geniuses. They can take simple things like sponge and cream and make them phenomenal icons in the pastry world. Like mont blanc and of course, strawberry shortcake. And how about their souffle cheesecake? It's mind-blowing. It's the only sort of cheesecake I like.
I've always wanted to experiment with other kinds of sponge instead of the classic genoise, so I picked an American sponge cake recipe from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball for this cake. There's no added fat, and it uses a chiffon method. It also has added water to it to make the sponge even softer. He uses twice the amount of egg whites to yolks.
And true enough, it was like a cloud. You know how sponges always have to be soaked in syrup? This one didn't and definitely doesn't need any. In fact, after I layered on the fruits and cream I was afraid that it would become too saturated with moisture! But then again, I've never made an American sponge but I guess that because its meant to be eaten on its own, the recipe has already been tweaked to something like a chiffon. The sponge was so incredibly soft that the middle completely collapsed on me after I took it out of the oven! Haha so that's why the recipe intended for it to be made in a tube pan. My bad.
Comparing the american sponge and a normal genoise, I think I prefer the latter even though the former had a deeper, more vanilla-y flavour. A plain base is the best since the chantilly cream would already be flavoured with more vanilla and sugar.
I don't plan to post the sponge recipe because I don't think its best for a strawberry shortcake, but I will post the chantilly cream recipe. It's stabilized with gelatin and it's a handy recipe to have around if you want to avoid weeping cream, especially if the cake has to be assembled many hours before.
Since this was so light, I had two slices at one go!
Stabilized Whipped Cream
recipe taken from here
2 tsp gelatin powder
8 tsp cold water
2 cup whipping cream, cold
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Chill mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Put the cold water in a small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over the surface of the water and let stand for 5 minutes. Place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon just until the gelatin dissolves. Remove the saucepan from the heat and cool to room temperature.
Remove mixing bowl and beaters from freezer. In the mixing bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla and whip until slightly thickened. Then, while beating slowly, gradually pour the gelatin into the whipped cream mixture. Then whip the mixture at high speed until slightly stiff.