The end of Summer is coming, which means the end of those great Summer fruits - peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. I'll miss them all (moment of silence).
That's why I appreciate this month's Cake Slice Baker selection, Summer Berry Cake from Benjamina Ebuehi's wonderful cookbook, The New Way to Cake. Benjamina gives the baker free reign on which fruits to use to pile on this wonderful marscapone frosting-topped genoise.
Let's talk about genoise. Number one, it's fun to say and sounds like you know French - genoise (gen-hwaz). It's a cake that doesn't use any baking powder or baking soda. It uses eggs that are whipped until they're full of air and fluffy, then the flour is lightly folded in with a little melted butter.
You need to be gentle with this batter. I was doing so well, folding gently and carefully pouring the batter into the pan. Then I got the bright idea to thump the cake pan on the counter to pop the bubbles in the batter. After the second thump, I realized - nooooooooo - that's knocking out some of that lovely air!
I gathered myself together and slipped the pan in the oven, hoping it wasn't ruined. The cake came out tall, light as air and beautiful.
The next part of the cake is easy. Make a vanilla simple syrup to moisten the cake and then slather on a layer of creamy mascarpone frosting. Finally, pile on your favorite Summer fruit, cut a slice and enjoy.
Besides being gentle with the genoise batter, this is a snap to put together. What a lovely centerpiece Summer Berry Cake will be at a brunch, a pot luck, or your family dinner table!
- For the Genoise:
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- ⅔ C sugar
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
- For the Syrup:
- ½ C sugar
- ⅓ C water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- For the Cream:
- 1 C mascarpone, room temperature
- ½ C powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ C heavy cream
- zest of 1 lemon
- For Assembly:
- summer fruit of your choice - blueberries, strawberries, peaches, blackberries, and/or cherries
- handful of sliced almonds (optional for topping)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray bottom and sides of a round 8" cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- For the Genoise: In a medium metal bowl, add the eggs, egg yolk and sugar and whisk together. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water doesn't touch the bottom of the bowl. Whisk the eggs until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch.
- Pour the egg mixture into a stand mixer bowl fixed with a whisk attachment. Whisk for 4-6 minutes, checking at 4 minutes, until the eggs are about tripled in volume. You'll know they're ready when you remove the whisk attachment and the mixture drizzled onto the batter leaves a creamy trail, then sinks back into the batter.
- Sift one-third of the flour on top of the egg mixture and gently fold it in. Be careful not to knock that air out of the batter that you've just incorporated. Sift (not pour - sift) in the remaining flour to the batter and fold gently to thoroughly combine. Continue folding until there are no more pockets of flour, including from the bottom of the bowl.
- Carefully take out about ½ cup of the batter and drop it into a bowl. Pour the cooled, melted butter into the bowl and stir until combine. Add this mixture back into the large bowl with the rest of the batter and fold gently until combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes. If the cake looks like it's getting too brown, loosely cover it with a piece of aluminum foil. A toothpick should come out almost dry.
- Remove the cake from the oven and leave in the pan for about 5 minutes. Run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loose the cake from the sides, then turn out onto a rack (don't forget to remove the parchment paper). Cool the cake completely.
- For the Syrup: combine the sugar, water, and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.
- For the Cream: Place the mascarpone, sugar and vanilla in a medium bowl and beat with a spoon or hand mixer until very smooth. In a small bowl, whisk the cream to get soft peaks and then gently fold this into the mascarpone mixture. Stir in the lemon zest and set aside until ready to assemble the cake.
- To Assemble the Cake: Poke holes in the completely cooled cake and pour the syrup evenly over the top of the cake. Spread the mascarpone mixture on top (or frost the entire cake, if you prefer). Decorate with your choice of fresh summer berries and fruit.
- Refrigerate leftover cake for up to 3 days.
Tips and Stuff:
Gentle, gentle with the batter - don't deflate it while you're folding the flour in, but do make sure there are no flour 'pockets.'
Make sure your mascarpone is room temperature so it doesn't give that curdled look when beaten for the frosting.
I made the sides of my cake with the naked-cake look, but you can frost all of it if you'd like.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 507Total Fat: 33gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 247mgCarbohydrates: 48gFiber: 2gSugar: 35gProtein: 8g
Nutrition Values are Approximate
Each month The Cake Slice Bakers are offered a selection of cakes from the current book we are baking through. This year it is The New Way To Cake by Benjamina Ebuehi. We each choose one cake to bake, and then on the 20th - never before - we all post about our cake on our blogs. There are a few rules that we follow, but the most important ones are to have fun and enjoy baking & eating cakes!
Follow our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest pages where you can find all of our cakes, as well as inspiration for many other cakes. You can also click on the thumbnail pictures below to take you to each of our cakes. If you have a blog and are interested in joining The Cake Slice Bakers and baking along with us, please send an email to thecakeslicebakers at gmail dot com for more details.
The Cake Slice Bakers also have a new Facebook group called The Cake Slice Bakers and Friends. This group is perfect for those who do not have a blog but want to join in the fun and bake through this book.
It is a new year and a new book - The New Way To Cake - and our choices for August 2020 were ~
Peach & Rosemary Pavlova
Earl Grey & Blueberry Tea Cakes