Tag Archives: whipped cream

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Red, White & Blueberry CakeThe Fourth of July is just a few days away, y’all! While you may be thinking about vacation or grilling or how to keep your dog safe during the fireworks, I am over here thinking about–what else–cake! Red, White & Blueberry Cake, to be specific. Yes, a layer cake that is loaded with strawberries, blueberries, and tons of whipped cream. It showcases some peak summer produce and looks pretty patriotic, too! This is my kind of Independence Day dessert.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeThe cake itself if a classic white cake. I used my Vanilla Layer Cake as a starting point, manipulating the recipe until I had a light, fluffy result. The most significant change is that there are no whole eggs in the recipe; if there were, the cake wouldn’t be white! Only egg whites are used here. They are whipped to the point where they hold stiff peaks before being folded into the batter. The air in the whipped egg whites, along with a hefty dose of baking powder and sifted dry ingredients, will keep the resulting cake light and airy.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeWhile the egg whites give the cake tons of structure, their complete lack of fat has the potential to dry it out. I did a few things to counteract this:

  • I reduced the flour. Egg whites provide tons of structure in baked goods, so I was confident that cutting a bit of the flour wouldn’t affect the cake’s ability to bake properly.
  • I used butter and oil. I wanted this cake to have a buttery flavor, but as butter is 15% water, I was concerned that the results could be dry. This recipe requires 3/4 cup melted butter and 1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil, like vegetable or canola oil. This small amount of oil keeps the cakes nice and moist.
  • I used a combination of regular milk and sour cream in place of buttermilk. Sour cream’s thick texture and fat content keep this cake super moist. Also, as it has been “soured,” when combined with milk, it mimics the tenderizing qualities of buttermilk.

But enough about the chemistry of cake batter. This white cake is crazy delicious–soft, buttery, and flavored with vanilla and almond extracts (you can leave the almond extract out if you have a tree nut allergy). It would be spectacular with a little vanilla buttercream, but that’s not the direction we’re going in today.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeInstead of frosting this cake with buttercream, we’re using Whipped Cream Frosting! It’s a lot like regular whipped cream, except that it won’t weep or slouch after an hour or two. Many recipes for Whipped Cream Frosting require gelatin, but I don’t care for the texture it produces. Instead, our whipped cream is stabilized with sour cream. This adjustment allows for the whipped cream to hold up for days! Just beat some heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form, and then use a handheld whisk to incorporate the sour cream until you achieve stiff peaks. Don’t be tempted to add the sour cream all at once–this will deflate your whipped cream. Instead, add it by the spoonful. This sounds tedious, but it really doesn’t take long at all.

For those of you who do not care for the flavor of sour cream, know that I don’t either. Its flavor here is very subtle, especially when combined with the white cake and berries. If you really don’t wish to use it, you may substitute creme fraiche or cream cheese.

Red, White & Blueberry CakeRed, White & Blueberry CakeRed, White & Blueberry CakeTo assemble the cake, slice both baked layers equatorially so that you have four very thin layers. If the idea of slicing a cake layer in half intimidates you, just know that they don’t have to be perfect–mine certainly were not! Just do your best. Lay one cut-side up on a serving plate (or a cake round, if you are me and can’t fit a serving plate in your fridge). Top the layer with some sliced strawberries and a few tablespoons of blueberries before spreading whipped cream frosting over the top. It may seem illogical to put the fruit directly on the cake, but it allows the berries’ juices to soak into the cake instead of breaking down the whipped cream. This is just insurance that your leftovers won’t get gross in the refrigerator. Repeat the layering process two more times before placing your last thin layer cut-side down. Use the rest of the whipped cream to frost the cake. I went for the naked cake look, but you may do whatever you like. Make sure to decorate with more berries!

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Sliced 15 minutes after assembly.

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Sliced after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours.

Red, White & Blueberry Cake may be served immediately after assembly, but know that the whipped cream frosting may squish out the sides a bit. This doesn’t bother me one bit, but know that a couple hours in the refrigerator will help the cake stay more intact.

Look at that! Cake, berries, whipped cream, and a little patriotic flair. Add fireworks and you’re in for a great Fourth of July.Red, White & Blueberry Cake

Red, White & Blueberry Cake
makes 1 9″ round layer cake

To Grease the Pans:
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Cake:
2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 1/2 cups milk (not skim or fat-free)
1/2 cup full-fat sour cream
4 large egg whites, room temperature

Whipped Cream Frosting:
3 cups heavy cream, cold
4-6 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup full-fat sour cream

For Assembly:
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced
6 ounces fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the pans. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together oil and flour. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer to the entire insides of two 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Sift together four times. Do not skip this step. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together melted butter, oil, vanilla and almond extracts, sour cream, and milk. Set aside.

Place egg whites in a clean, dry medium-large mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment on an electric mixer to beat egg whites on medium-high speed until they hold stiff peaks. Do not over mix. Set aside.

Fold dry ingredients into wet in three installments, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Carefully fold half the whipped egg whites into the batter, followed by the other half.

Divide the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Lightly tap each pan on the counter a couple of times just to help any large air bubbles dissipate. Bake for 32-37 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans for fifteen minutes before running a small, thin knife around the edge of the pans and inverting the layers onto a rack. Allow to cool completely.

Make the whipped cream frosting. Combine heavy cream, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat mixture until soft peaks form. Switch to use a hand whisk. Add sour cream by the spoonful, whipping until stiff peaks form.

Slice cake layers in half equatorially. Lay one cut-side up on a serving dish or cake round. Top with about 1/3 of the strawberry slices and 3-4 tablespoons blueberries. Drop large spoonfuls of whipped cream over the top and spread them out with an offset icing spatula. Repeat this process two more times. Place the last layer on the top cut-side down. Frost and decorate with berries as desired. Serve or refrigerate immediately.

Leftover cake will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Red, White & Blueberry Cake

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Apple Cider Snaps

 Have you ever read any of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s work? Well, you should. She is an accomplished baker and writer with several books to her name, the seminal work being The Cake Bible. She’s also written books on pie, bread, cookies, and general baking, and I own almost all of them. I love all her books and reference them regularly, but this time of year I am especially into Rose’s Christmas Cookies. The book is full of old-fashioned, elegant recipes, a million thoughtful tips to ensure success, and even has such categories as “Cookies for Giving” and “Cookies for Sending.” Basically, what I’m saying is that Rose Levy Beranbaum knows what’s up when it comes to holiday baking (and all baking, for that matter).

In the section “Cookies for Holiday Dinner Parties,” she has a recipe for Brandy Snaps Filled with Whipped Cream. They are absolutely stunning–ginger-spiced lacy cookies rolled like cigars and filled with whipped cream. Who wouldn’t want one? Well, children probably. Nothing tastes worse in little mouths than a hint of booze. And I don’t like brandy either. But I do love lacy cookies and whipped cream, so I decided to make a non-alcoholic version of a classic. I rummaged around our fridge looking for something, anything that could work in place of brandy and, lo and behold, we had a half gallon of freshly pressed apple cider. And while apple cider may say autumn to many, it says Christmas to me.     These cookies start by cooking butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, apple pie spices, and salt until they come to a boil. Then the mixture is removed from the heat so flour and apple cider can be stirred in. Drop tablespoons of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat, lest they become stuck to the pan. These spread about four inches, so there shouldn’t be many on the sheet. I have a tiny apartment oven, so I can do four at a time on two sheet pans. Bake these for 7-10 minutes at 350F, until they are lightly browned and are still flexible. For me, this is almost exactly 7 minutes–any longer and they become difficult to roll. They should not wrinkle when lifted. Speaking of lifting, don’t even think about it without a thin spatula in hand. I use a small offset icing knife with good results.

Now, you must work quickly here. Remove cookies from the sheet pan one at a time and immediately roll them around the handle of a wooden spoon or dowel. Press the edges to seal them. Then, slide the rolled cookie off of the handle and set aside to cool on a rack while you complete the rest. I recommend wearing rubber gloves while you do this, as the cookies will be very hot. The rolled cookies are filled with whipped cream. And while plain whipped cream would be just fine, why not jazz it up a bit? This cream is flavored with an extra little bit of apple cider, just to really drive home the apple flavor. Use a piping bag fitted with a tip to fill each cookie. The whipped cream will start to liquefy again after a little while, so don’t fill these until right before you are ready to serve.

While these cookies are simple, they aren’t easy, but they are worth all the effort. This time of year, it’s so easy to look for shortcuts in all the busyness, but there is something to be said for taking the time to make something the old-fashioned way. I highly recommend spending a little time making these crispy, crunchy, cream-filled cookies with notes of caramel and apple cider. As Ms. Beranbaum says, these cookies would be a sweet ending to a holiday dinner party. Your family and friends will certainly appreciate them.

Looking for more holiday cookies? See my Whipped Shortbread Snowballs, Eggnog Sandwich Cookies, and Red Velvet Peppermintdoodles. Stay tuned for eight more recipes during the Twelve Days of Cookies! Apple Cider Snaps
adapted from Brandy Snaps Filled with Whipped Cream in Rose’s Christmas Cookies by Rose Levy Beranbaum
makes two dozen cookies

Cookies:
10.5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup*
1/4 cup light brown sugar*
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 teaspoons freshly pressed apple cider

Cider Whipped Cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly pressed apple cider
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.

Make the cookies. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine butter, golden syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Stir over medium-high heat just until it comes to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and immediately stir in the flour, followed by the apple cider. Drop tablespoons of the dough onto the baking sheets, leaving ample room for them to spread (at least four inches). Place the pot of dough in a bowl of hot water to keep it fluid. Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes, rotating the pans top-to-bottom and front-to-back at 3 minutes. When the cookies are light golden brown and lacy, remove the pans from the oven. Let cool one minute.

Working quickly, use a small flexible spatula to remove each cookie, and gently wrap it around the handle of a wooden spoon or a 1″ dowel. Press the outer seam to hold the shape. Remove the rolled cookies to a rack to cool completely. Repeat until all dough is used.

Make the Cider Whipped Cream. With an electric mixer, beat cream and brown sugar just until the mixer starts to leave defined marks in the cream. Add apple cider and vanilla, and continue to whip the cream until fluffy. Place it in a piping bag with a tip. Immediately before serving, pipe whipped cream into rolled cookies on each end. Serve immediately.

Un-filled rolled cookies keep covered at room temperature for up to 24 hours. Whipped cream will keep in the refrigerator for up to two days, but will need to be lightly whipped before piping.

Notes:
1. Light corn syrup may be substituted.

2. Dark brown sugar may be substituted in both the cookies and the whipped cream.

Apple Cider Snaps

Whipped Cream in a Jar {Entertaining Tip}

 
Sometimes, you just don’t need a ton of whipped cream. Maybe you live alone, or your significant other isn’t much for sweets, or you just don’t want the leftovers tempting you from the fridge. I find myself in the second predicament all. the. time. With all the pie and cookies and cake in our apartment, there are loads of things that would be perfect with a heaping spoonful of whipped cream, but Henry just isn’t into it. And while I love whipped cream, there is no need for me to have a huge mixing bowl of the stuff on hand. A want, sure, but not a need. So instead of breaking out my electric mixer and whipping up far more than I need, I just shake it up.

  
All you need for a small amount of whipped cream are:

-heavy cream
-a teaspoon or tablespoon of granulated sugar (or none, it depends on your preferences)
-a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
-a mason jar

 
Just fill the mason jar anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full, and add your sugar and vanilla. Don’t fill the jar any more than 1/3 of the way, or your cream will take eternity to whip, if it whips at all. Once your ingredients are in the jar, screw on the lid. Then shake the living daylights out of it. Listen to the jar–at first you’ll just hear liquid sloshing around, but as the cream starts to take in air, that sloshing will become more of a soft thud. Once the sloshing sound fades, open the jar every so often to check on the status of your cream. It’s ready when the jar can be held sideways and no cream threatens to dribble out. This usually takes me about five minutes of shaking. If you’re not sure if your cream is whipped enough, you can also take a spoonful out and see if it’s to your desired texture.
  
Don’t over-whip! If you shake the jar too much, the cream will bypass the whipped stage and start to become butter. You’ll know this has happened if your whipped cream looks grainy. I love butter (duh), but I don’t want it on top of my pie.

I know many people have large Thanksgiving gatherings where whipping cream in a jar simply isn’t practical, but if your dinner will only have a handful of guests, this is a good way to go. Plus, in a casual setting, serving things out of mason jars is totally adorable. When I bring desserts for dinner parties, it’s not uncommon for me to show up with a jar of cream–it’s way better than the stuff in a can. And plus, it makes you look so crafty.,Also, if you have little helpers that need a job this Turkey Day, put the ingredients in a tupperware with a screw top and let them shake away. Kids love helping in the kitchen, especially when it’s something they know is delicious.

If you have leftover whipped cream, just screw the lid back on the jar and stick it in the fridge. The cream will start to liquefy again as it sits in there, so just give it a little shake when you go back for more.

One last thing–whipped cream is great, but you need something to put it on! I wrote three new pie recipes this month that would be great additions to any Thanksgiving dinner. You just have to have pie on Thanksgiving! It’s the right thing to do. Between my Pumpkin, Black Bottom Pear & Almond, and Cranberry Apple Pies, it’ll be a tough (and delicious) decision determining which one to try! If you do try any of them, or my Cream Cheese Pie Dough, let me know in the comments!