I know what you’re thinking: “Kate, you idiot, why didn’t you put some blueberries on top of this along with the strawberries since you made it over the 4th of July weekend?!?!?” That’s what I think when I look at this picture.
This was an incredibly delicious cake but very similar to a Cook’s Illustrated cake that I make a lot and, I must admit, like better. The Cook’s version uses cream cheese to stabilize the whipped cream frosting and this one uses creme fraiche. Not only is creme fraiche a little harder to find, but I thought it imparted a flavor that managed to be simultaneously too subtle and slightly distasteful. You can, Foster says, make your own creme fraiche (or buttermilk creme fraiche as this technically calls for) but it requires combining buttermilk and cream and letting it sit out, unrefrigerated, for two days. I’m sure it’s all fine and enzymes in one ingredient are killing bacteria in another, or the pro-biotics prevail over the anti-biotics or something, but I could not bring myself to do it. I’m just a little too squeamy about dairy products.
The other minor problem is that this cake seems only able to hold itself together for the time it takes to take a picture (or almost that long in some cases) and then the filling starts oozing out of the sides and the whipped cream slouches towards its destiny. It’s meant to be a casual-looking cake so all of that is fine but, I’m just saying, the Cook’s cake manages to maintain its corporeal integrity long enough to get to the dinner table and show itself off.
Since I keep comparing it to the Cook’s cake I will say in defense of this one, it does not require you to tort the layers; all three baked in separate pans and I didn’t even have to level off the doming on top, just slapped them together. Since many people consider torting cake layers to be right up there with atom-splitting in terms of levels of difficulty this might be appealing for that reason alone.
And seriously, think how cute this would be if you did blueberries in the center ringed with strawberries. Next year.
If you’d like to try the Cook’s version, here you go.