I'll start this post by saying I REALLY should have taken the picture BEFORE we got to the very last slice! This simply does not do this recipe justice and I may have to make it again to get a better photo. Oh, well. As
a child, I spent a long time living in Sweden and this was the
birthday cake (födelsedag tårte) that we always had growing up. My
mother's 75th birthday fell on Thanksgiving this year, so it seemed
appropriate to serve this strawberry torte (and a bottle of vintage
champagne - Pommery 1995). Don't worry though, we did nod to the spirit of the holiday by having pumpkin bars as well, and I served roasted delicated squash stuffed with a wild rice cranberry-walnut pilaf.
Those of you who read the Prudent Foodie with any regularity (all three of you) will know that I'm not a big baker, but one of the lovely things about this recipe, is that it is both classic, and curiously unfussy, as long as you use very fresh eggs. There's no baking powder in the recipe so success is all in getting lots of air in those eggs! I buy mine from my neighbor, but of course you can also get yours at the Farmer's Market while you are picking up your Locavorious share! This cake can be made with either fresh or frozen strawberries, but frozen works perfectly well, and allows you to use local produce if you have frozen some of the summer's bounty. This recipe will make 2 thick layers or three fairly thin ones. I went with three as it is not much extra trouble, but looks far more beautiful than two layers! Be sure you have deep enough pans if you go with two layers. The frosting is super easy: just whipped cream with a little vanilla sugar added!
Filling12 oz frozen or fresh strawberries, sliced thin
1/4 cup water,1/3 cup sugar
2-3 TB of dry sherry or madeira (optional)
Heat the water to boiling, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the sherry or madeira, and cook briefly, until the mixture boils. Add the sliced strawberries and turn off the heat. Let rest until the rest of the cake is ready. You can also just pour the sugar over the strawberries and set aside for a few hours to produce juice, then pour on the sherry - you don't boil off the alcohol if you do it this way.
1 cup plus 2TB sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups minus 4TB SIFTED flour
14 TB butter melted, and then cooled
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour 2 or three cake pans well; the secret to getting your cakes to come out! Combine the egg,s sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl, and rest it in a second, larger bowl filled with fairly hot water. Beat with a hand electric mixer for 5 minutes, then remove from the water and beat for another 3-5 minutes (until cool). Fold in the flour in three portions using a spatula, then fold in the melted and cooled butter. Pour the batter into the cake pans and place in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until it tests done. Turn the cakes out onto wire racks to cool (I have accidentally cooled them in the pans and gotten away with it).
Put the bottom layer on a cake dish, and pour over it half of the strawberry filling mixture, letting the juice seep into the cake. Put on the second layer and repeat, then add the top layer.
If you want a smaller cake, you can cut this recipe in half. You will either get two thin layers, or you can use smaller diameter pans, and get three.
3/4 pint whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla sugar (or 2tsp powdered sugar and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract)
Whip the cream and frost the top and sides of the cake. You can use a fork to make a cross hatch pattern on the top.
Serve to your delighted guests and family. DeeDee