Friday, July 27, 2012

Strawberry-Stuffed Angel Food Cake

Before I go one step further, let me answer your question:  YES.  I did get this idea from the amazing blog of Ree Drummond, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman.  She posted it earlier this month and I've been thinking on it ever since.  Except she made her angel food cake from scratch and I bought mine for $4.99 at the grocery store up the road.  And she used strawberry Jello in her strawberry concoction; I made a thick syrup (using cornstarch) for my strawberries to snuggle down in.  And last but not least, Ree will make a zillion dollars on her post, and I...will not.

But self-comparison does not get cakes prepared, now does it?

So let's start with the strawberries.

We'll "cook them down" to soften them and render their juices.

Add some sugar,

And bring it all to a healthy simmer, stirring constantly.

In about 5 minutes you'll end up with this.

Transfer strawberries to another bowl and set a sieve (or colander) over a saucepan.

Strain out the strawberry juices into a saucepan.

Add some cornstarch that has been dissolved in water to the strawberries and cook until the juices have thickened, about 2 minutes.  Return the strawberries to their now-thickened juices and refrigerate until you're ready to use them (in a few minutes).

Now the fun begins.
Place the angel food cake on the surgical table.

Carefully lop off the top inch of the cake.

Brilliant work, doctor.

Cut a small circle about 1 inch from the center of the cake.  (Don't poke all the way through to the bottom of the cake.)

Next cut another circle about 1 inch from the outer edge of the cake, again not cutting all the way through to the bottom of the cake.

Now make a "trench" and carefully dig out the pieces of cake that are between the two circles.  Eat the pieces right away.  And that's an order!

Place the "trenched-out" cake on a cake plate. 

Fill the trench with the strawberry goodness,

And put the top back on.

Now let's make the icing.
First whip two cups of whipping cream until soft peaks form.  (I over-whipped this cream.  Don't be like me.)
Mascarpone cheese.  A gift from Italy (and Wisconsin).

Beat the cheese by itself in the mixer until it's smooth.

Add the whipped cream back to the bowl and whisk it together briefly just until blended.


Frost the cake and garnish with mint leaves if you feel like it.

And enjoy the shock and surprise of those to whom you serve the cake!

Here's the printable recipe.

Strawberry-Stuffed Angel Food Cake
About 8-10 servings

1 store-bought Angel Food Cake
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, stemmed, and quartered
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 2 teaspoons warm water
2 cups (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
4 ounces Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
Mint sprigs for garnish, if desired

Strawberry Filling:  Place strawberries in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add sugar to strawberries.  As the berries heat and simmer, they will begin to render their juices.  Simmer (while stirring constantly) for about 5 minutes. 

Pour strawberries and juices into a medium-sized bowl.  Place a fine mesh sieve (or a colander) over the saucepan and pour the strawberries into the sieve (or colander).  Press strawberries firmly with a spoon to encourage most of the juice to drip into the sauce pan.  Set strawberries aside. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and warm water until the cornstarch is dissolved. 

Bring the strawberry juices to a simmer over medium-high heat.  Whisk in the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until the strawberry juices are thick enough to remain "parted" with a wooden spoon.  (The thickening should happen in about 1-2 minutes.  If it does not, dissolve another 1/4 teaspoon of cornstarch into 1 teaspoon of warm water and add that mixture to the strawberry juices.)  Add thickened juices back to the strawberries and refrigerate.

Angel Food Cake Preparation:  Place the cake on a cutting board.  Using a sharp serrated knife, gently and evenly cut off the top of the cake about 1 inch from the top.  Set top aside.  Next, switch to a smaller paring knife and cut a circle about 1 inch away from the inside edge of the cake and another circle about 1 inch away from the outer edge of the cake.  Don't cut through to the bottom of the cake; try to stop your knife about 1 inch from the bottom.)

Use your fingers to gently tear away the cake from inside the circle you have cut, creating a "trench" in which to set the strawberry mixture. 

Place the bottom of the cake onto a cake plate.  

Remove the strawberry mixture from the fridge.  Spoon it into the cake's trench and then return the reserved top to the cake. 

Icing:  Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form; then add the powdered sugar and whip for 15 seconds.  Place whipped cream in a separate bowl.  Add the room-temperature Mascarpone cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat, using the paddle attachment, until it is smooth.  Switch to the whisk attachment and add the whipped cream back to the bowl.  Whisk for 1 minute or so, just until the cheese and the cream are well blended.

Use an off-set spatula to frost the cake.  Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

(Store cake in the refrigerator.) 

Recipe notion came from The Pioneer Woman 


Mary said...

A few years ago, my niece made a strawberry filled white cake for her son's first birthday. I asked for the recipe but before she could get it to me, she passed away from an aggressive cancer. I will be making this cake in her memory! Thanks for this post!

Ginny said...

Oh, Mary. This stings my heart. The death of young mothers is so hard to understand. So hard. I hope this cake is something close to what your niece made.
Love and hugs, Ginny

Erin Southwell said...

This looks amazing!! I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who over-whips the cream! Pictures look beautiful!