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Finish Mother’s Day with a strawberry cream cake

What better way to enjoy fresh strawberries, a light cake, and cream than in a pretty layer cake.

It’s a crowd-pleaser that you can make in advance of Mother’s Day. It’s cool, refreshing and very decorative to bring to your spring or summer weekend or holiday table.

Rich yet creamy, light and decadent mascarpone cheese makes the cream very fancy. The sponge-cake can be baked a few days in advance and even stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to assemble your weekend or holiday cake, two days or the evening before your party or event.

Strawberry Mascarpone Cream Cake

Sponge Cake

1 cup of cake flour

4 large eggs, room temperature

½ cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of melted butter

½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon of salt

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare 1 9-inch spring form pan by lightly spraying the pan with cooking spray and putting a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Sift all of your dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. Now, melt the butter in the microwave or a saute pan. Set the melted butter to the side and keep it warm.

Fill a nice size sauce pot half way with water. Place the pot on the stove over medium-low heat until the water is gently simmering. Add your eggs and sugar to the stand-up mixing bowl. Whisk the ingredients together in the bowl. Place the mixer bowl over the simmering water. Whisk to evenly distribute the heat. Cook the egg mixture until lukewarm and the sugar is dissolved.

Place the mixing bowl in mix position. Add the pure vanilla extract to the bowl. With the whisk attachment, whisk the mixture on high for 5 minutes until tripled in volume and the egg mixture is light and airy.

Take a ½ cup of your egg mixture and place it into your melted butter and mix until incorporated. This way by mixing a little of the egg mixture in, this makes your batter lighter. Set this egg and melted butter mixture to the side.

With your sifter, sift 1/3 of your dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold gently with a rubber spatula. Next, add another 1/3 of your dry ingredients into the egg mixture and fold with the spatula to combine by folding. It’s time now to pour in your butter and egg mixture, along with the final 1/3 of your dry ingredients. Combine all gently not to deflate your batter but using your spatula again to gently fold all.

Pour your batter gently into your prepared cake pan. Tap your cake pan lightly on the counter to release any excess air bubbles.

Bake your sponge cake for 20-25 minutes until your tester comes out clean.

Immediately remove the cake from the pan and allow the cake to cool on a rack. Cover until ready to decorate.

Strawberry Syrup

½ pound of strawberries, leaves off and cut into small pieces

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 tablespoon of Strawberry liquor or Grand Marnier

8 ounces of strawberries; thinly sliced (set aside for cake assembly)

In a medium size bowl, place your strawberries and your sugar and mix to combine. Cover with heat safe plastic wrap. Place this bowl over simmering water. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain through a fine sieve into a bowl. Add liquor to the fruit juice. Reserve the strawberry pulp for later use in the recipe. You can blend the pulp in your food processor until smooth at this point.

You should have approximately ½ cup of strawberry syrup to use.

Set the syrup to the side.

Mascarpone Cream

1¼ cup of heavy whipping cream

1 cup of mascarpone cheese

1/3 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

In your stand mixer bowl, add all of your cream ingredients. Whisk everything together on medium high speed with your whisk attachment. Mix until soft to medium peaks form. Take half of the cream mixture and mix it into your puree.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, cut your cake in half lengthwise. Brush each half of the cake with your strawberry syrup, using it all. With the first layer of cake, add your strawberry cream and spread the cream evenly. Add most of your thinly-sliced strawberries, reserving some to garnish on top as you wish.

Now add your top layer of cake, you’re the cream on top. Again, spread the cream evenly and garnish with remaining strawberries. Refrigerate your cake overnight preferably to set up well.

Sarah Schweitzer is dual-certified in Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts (www.escoffier.edu). She is a former line cook for Chef Robert Irvine at “Fresh Kitchen by Robert Irvine” which was located at the Downtown Allentown Market. Sarah is currently working as a Sous-Chef and pastry chef at Ateira’s on First. She can be reached at sarah.schweitzer18@gmail.com.

Strawberry mascarpone cream cake