Monday, June 20, 2011

Strawberries & White Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake


Well summer is officially here.  Actually it’s not officially here.  But it feels official to me.  And the official start of summer is June 21st at 1:16pm EDT (Yes, I looked that up!), so it’s close enough to call it officially summer.  Oh and EDT is Eastern Daylight Time which is used in the summer of some states.  But enough learning for now :).



One big indicator for summer for me is the delicious fruit that are in season now.  Especially strawberries.  Strawberries are in season in the summer and you can tell.  They are juicy, sweet, and incredibly flavorful.  They don’t taste the same out of season.  So when they come in season I try to eat them as much as possible.  And not just eat them but bake with them!  I love baking with strawberries!  They really turn an ordinary treat into something extra special.


And strawberries really made this cake extra special.  When I decided to make a cake I wanted to incorporate poppy seeds into it.  I know that may seem weird to put poppy seeds in cake, but I thought if you can make them in muffins you can make them in cake.  So I looked online and found a recipe for poppy seed cake.  And to make it even better it had strawberries in it as well!  Now this is a cake I wanted to try!  Of course I already had strawberries on hand so it was meant to be :).


To add onto the poppy seeds and the strawberries, I filled and frosted it with a white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream.  Mmmmm…


This cake was exactly what I was looking for – Tasty, moist, crunchy, soft, sweet, creamy.  Everything into one cake.  Let me break it down.

The cake was moist.
The poppy seeds added a slight crunch.
The strawberries were soft and sweet.
The swiss meringue buttercream was creamy.
And everything together was just downright tasty.  


I made this cake into four layers.  And then I filled it with the swiss meringue buttercream and strawberries.  I put a scoopful of buttercream on top of the cake layer then layered strawberries and then put another scoop of buttercream on top.  Yes lots of buttercream but that’s what makes it so good!  And the creaminess of the buttercream mends perfectly with the poppy seed cake.  


Enjoy the layered goodness :).

 

 



Strawberries & White Chocolate Poppy Seed Cake
For Printable Recipe, Click here!

Makes: 1 4-layer 6-inch cake

For the Poppy Seed Cake
1 ½ cups Cake Flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
¼ tsp. Baking Soda
¼ tsp. Salt
1 cup Sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter
2 Eggs
1 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
½ cup Milk
2 tbsp. Poppy Seeds

White Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
10 Egg Whites
2 cup Sugar
Pinch of Salt
4 cups (8 sticks) Unsalted Butter, Softened
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
16 oz. Good Quality White Chocolate, chopped

For the Filling
1 cup Strawberries, hulled and sliced

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and oil 2 6-inch round cake pans.  Set aside until needed.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.  Mix in the vanilla.  Add the flour mixture, alternatively with the milk, starting and ending with the flour.  Beat until the mixture is smooth.  Mix in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans.  Bake for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then remove the cakes from the pans.  Place on a cooling rack to cool completely.  Once cooled, place in the freezer to firm up for about 15 minutes.

While the cakes are cooling, make the swiss meringue buttercream frosting. 
Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl.  Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Melt the chocolate until completely smooth.  Take the bowl off the heat and let sit on the counter until completely cooled. 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt.  Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water.  Whisk constantly until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture reaches about 150 degrees F.

Take the bowl and attach it your mixture, fitted with the whisk attachment.  Whisk the egg white mixture until it reaches room temperature and stiff peaks have formed, about 5-10 minutes.  At this point the mixture will be thickened and white.  With the mixer on low speed, add the butter, 2 tablespoon as a time.  Once all the butter is added, raise the speed to medium high and mix until the mixture starts to come together.  Remove the whisk attachment and replace with the beater attachment.  Beat until the buttercream comes together fully and is smooth.  This will take time, about 5 minutes.  So don’t worry if you think you did something wrong, it will come together and create a smooth and creamy buttercream.

Once finished, mix in the vanilla.  Gradually add in the melted and cooled white chocolate.  Be careful to not let it touch the sides of the bowl because you don’t want it to harden.  Beat until the frosting is smooth.  You can also color your buttercream at this point if desired.  If the buttercream is too soft, you can place it in the freezer for about 5 minutes to let it slightly harden.  Then beat the frosting again to smooth it out and get it to the right consistency. 

To assemble the cake, cut each in half horizontally.  This will create 4 layers.  Place one layer on a cake stand or plate, bottom side down.  Spread a thin layer of frosting on top of the cake.  Arrange strawberries on top and then spread another layer of frosting on top.  Place another cake layer on top, bottom side up.  Repeat the same frosting and strawberries steps with the rest of the cake layers. 

After you placed the last cake layer on top, smooth a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake to seal in the crumbs.  If you have enough room in your freezer, place the cake in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up.  Finish frosting the cake as desired.  Top with a couple strawberry slices.  Serve and enjoy :).

[If you have any frosting left over, you can always refrigerate or freeze this frosting.  Then when you want to use it again, thaw it to room temperature, and beat in a mixer until smooth and creamy.]

Cake recipe adapted from Epicurious.  Swiss Meringue Buttercream adapted from Martha Stewart. 

3 comments:

  1. YUM*
    Do you think it would still taste good if I didn't use the poppy seeds or do you think the poppy seeds are an important part to the cake as a whole?

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Melissa

    Mel,
    This cake will definitely be just as good without Poppy Seeds! You should try it out :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks so yummy!

    ReplyDelete

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