Last week was a friend's birthday. A few of us were getting together for a late lunch and I was the one who was going to bring the birthday cake. I couldn't decide what to make. I knew I had a large container of whipping cream that I needed to use, so I began to hunt for a recipe that was iced in whipped cream. I came across a recipe on Epicurious.com that I thought sounded interesting: Ginger Crunch Cake with Strawberry Sauce.
This was a very delicious cake. It did have the flavors of gingerbread, but was lighter and contained a little less molasses, so not as intense of a flavor. The strawberry sauce was wonderful with it, and made it much more appropriate for a Spring dessert, as did the whipping cream that covered it. Give it a try-I think you'll really like it.
Ginger Crunch Cake with Strawberry Sauce
Gourmet | April 1995
• 1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped fine
• 1/2 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs (from about eight 2-inch gingersnaps)
• 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup unsulfured molasses
• 2/3 cup buttermilk
• 1/3 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 large egg, beaten lightly
• 3 cups well-chilled heavy cream
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 pint strawberries
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• Garnish: strawberries, with leaves and blossoms if desired (not recommended for eating)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease three 8- by 2-inch cake pans.
For crunch topping:
In a small bowl combine crunch topping ingredients, stirring until combined. Divide topping among pans and press evenly onto bottom.
For ginger cake:
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Add remaining ginger cake ingredients and with an electric mixer beat on high speed 2 minutes. Carefully spread batter over crunch topping in pans and bake in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of pans in oven halfway through baking, 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in center of each layer comes out clean.
Immediately invert cake layers onto racks lined with wax paper and cool completely. Cake layers may be made 2 weeks ahead and frozen, wrapped separately in plastic wrap. Thaw layers in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters of an electric mixer beat 2 cups cream with vanilla and 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until it just holds stiff peaks.
Arrange 1 cake layer, crunch side up, on a cake plate and spread with a heaping cup whipped cream. Repeat with another cake layer and another heaping cup whipped cream and top with third cake layer, crunch side up. Leaving top plain, spread remaining whipped cream on side of cake to coat (a final coating will be added later). Chill cake, covered loosely with plastic wrap, at least 4 hours (to facilitate slicing) and up to 24.
Hull strawberries and slice half of them. In a bowl with a potato masher mash sliced berries with lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. In a food processor purée remaining berries and strain through a fine sieve into bowl with mashed berry mixture. Sauce may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters of an electric mixer, beat remaining cup cream until it just holds stiff peaks and spread decoratively on side of cake. Arrange some whole strawberries on top of cake and garnish plate with additional whole strawberries.
Serve cake with strawberry sauce.
NOTE: I sprayed my cake pans with a nonstick spray, then lined with parchment, then sprayed again with nonstick spray. I had no problems with the topping sticking to the pan or breaking in pieces, as others who reviewed the recipe had noted.