Sadly, I was unable to do this months Daring Bakers Challenge. Which, really, I was so anger at myself for never getting around to it. By the time I actually had time to do anything, this month was already over. I couldn't believe just how fast this summer has been going! And this months challenge was one that I really wanted to do! It look really good! I know I'm going to bake it sometime soon when I have time.
Though I haven't had time to really bake much, I had enough time to make a quick cake. Not a difficult cake (though, I'd really want to). We still have so many strawberries that I still don't now what else to do with them. I knew that I wanted to use strawberries, but I wanted a nut of some sort. An almond cake sounds really good with strawberries. I also used the strawberry filling I used for my Strawberry Cream Cake, which was really good with the Almond Cake.
The cake itself was amazing. The texture was just right. Soft and light, nice and moist. First bite, you just have to close your eyes and savor the taste. It's just so luscious. The strawberry filling and the strawberry frosting with the cake was really good. I might ever try blueberries or blackberries next time. That sounds really good!!
3/4 cup cake flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup almond paste, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sour cream
2 quarts fresh strawberries, washed, dried, and stemmed
4–6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. kirsch
Pinch of salt
8 ounces strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbsp. butter, softened
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1. For the cake,Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour round 8-inch cake pan. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, cake flour and baking powder and set aside.
2. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and almond paste on high speed until smooth, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and slowly add confectioners' sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined and light and fluffy.
3. Raise speed to high and add the vanilla extract, whole eggs and egg yolks, 1 at a time. Mix until well combined. Reduce speed to medium and add the sour cream and dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 35 minutes, or until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool. Remove from pan.
5. For the strawberry filling, Halve 24 of best-looking berries and reserve. Quarter remaining berries; toss with 4 to 6 tablespoons sugar (depending on sweetness of berries) in medium bowl and let sit 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Strain juices from berries and reserve (you should have about 1/2 cup). In a food processor fitted with metal blade, give macerated berries five 1-second pulses (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). In small saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer reserved juices and Kirsch until syrupy and reduced to about 3 tablespoons, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour reduced syrup over macerated berries, add pinch of salt, and toss to combine. Set aside until cake is cooled.
6. For Strawberry Frosting, first wash the strawberries well, then hull and slice. Put the slices into a bowl and sprinkle sugar onto and toss well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain excess juices from strawberries. Crush and mash strawberries. Beat butter until smooth. Add 3 cups of powdered sugar and the crushed strawberries. Slowly beat until sugar is blended in, then beat on medium speed until fluffy. Add more powdered sugar as needed until frosting is a nice spreading consistency. Frost the cooled cake and decorate with sliced strawberries.
7. To assemble the cake, slice cake into two even layers. Place bottom layer on cardboard round or cake plate and arrange ring of 20 strawberry halves, cut sides down and stem ends facing out, around perimeter of cake layer. Pour about 1/2 cup of pureed berry mixture in center, then spread to cover any exposed cake. Gently spread about 1 t 1 1/2 cup of Strawberry Frosting over berry layer, leaving 1/2-inch border from edge. Place top layer on cake and press down gently. Spread Strawberry Frosting on top layer. Decorate as you want. Serve, or chill for up to 4 hours.