Strawberries, whipped cream, cake… what’s not to like. Originally I was supposed to be in Southern California when baking this cake, but ended up back in Marin earlier than expected. While in LA, though, I picked up some matcha, a fine green tea powder and decided I wanted to incorporate it into this week’s cake.
Matcha is a very delicate flavor and as such it may be overpowered by the strawberries. It does however, lend a lovely green hue to the cake, which goes well against the red and white of the berries and cream, respectively.
I split the recipe across a few days. On Saturday I baked the cake, and went out for Strawberries at the Farmers’ Market in Larkspur. On Monday I cut and maserated the berries, leaving the final assembly for Tuesday.
I planned on a recipe-and-a-half, in order to make a 9″ round plus some leftover for a 4″ round mini cake. Due to a misread of the recipe (I measured sugar for Ladyfinger Genoise), I ended up having the double the recipe since the sugar already had the matcha incorporated; I ended up going with 2 tsp. of matcha total. I also warmed the eggs in their shells in some hot tap water prior to whipping.
Everything seemed to go well as a folder the dry ingredients. Moments later as I was filling the pans, my heart sank when I noticed a significant amount of unincorporated flour in the nub of the bowl. I experienced a little deja vu, having then remembered the sage observation from fellow baker Piebird, about problems her students had experienced folding flour in the KitchenAid work bowls.
Pressing on the cakes did eventual bake up, the 9″ in a standard oven, the 4″ in my countertop convection oven. I think the convection oven wins, and I’ll probably try it for a full size cake the next time I do a genoise.
I split the cakes on Tuesday morning and this is when I experienced the fall of genoise. I did manage to get three layers, though it’s almost like three different cakes. The top layer is light and airy as a genoise is supposed to be. The bottom is more like a pound cake, and the middle layer somewhere in between. The difference in texture from top to bottom was foreshadowed by the relative ease with which the top layer sliced, while pull the knife through bottom of the cake was like slogging through mud.
Bottom and middle layers of the cake
The flavored cream whipped together nicely. The sour cream is an interesting note. I’m curious how it will compare with the all creme fraiche used in Chocolate Ruffle Cake (pp.) I used a little more cream owing to a larger cake, though cut the sugar slightly since my berry mixture was pretty sweet, owing mostly to a talented farmer and some delicious berries.
My one cheat was to do the rosettes with some canned whipped cream, as I have not yet settled on decorating tips. I made sure to get all-dairy, rather than some full or partially imitation crap like Cool Whip (or as my brothers and I refer to it… “Whipped Oil”)
I definitely will try this cake again, though I’ll skip the Matcha as it’s rather expensive, and I’d like to reserve my small tin for other uses and new experiments.