What a treat! Don't you LOVE strawberries? I do. Very much!
Last summer I went to the close-out sale of the Farm & Fleet garden center. They set it up each spring, and close it sometime in June, or July. I found four strawberry plants that needed a home. They didn't have a variety or pedigree, they were marked "strawberry". I brought them home and planted them in the little herb garden behind the wood oven next to the oregano and thyme. I ddn't expect much from them, but hoped they would at least survive. And survive they did. One day on late May I was weeding, and found at least three that were nearly ready to pick. They were very early... with a few others nearly ready as well.
My parents were visiting (inportant note: My dad has a degree in horticulture and agronomy...) and I proudly picked two ripe berries. We shared them, and ooh'ed and ahh'ed about how delicious they were. I named them One and Two. A few days later, I picked Two and Three, followed by Four, Five, Six and Seven. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice to say that I grew 14 strawberries!
The berries in the photo came from a berry farmer about 1 mile from our house. We picked them on the second day of the season. The berries have had a tough year. Early, dry, hot, and just plain mixed up. I'm hoping that my berries will be back next year, I'd love to be able to make a whole cake with them! The berry on the top of the strawberry cake is one of mine.
The best part of the dessert this week is that I was able to take it to dinner with good friends celebrating their 40th Anniversary!
I've said it again and again. Simple recipes with few ingredients are some of the most difficult. Genoise is in that group. It's not hard, though it takes a great deal of respect for the ingredients.
Eggs are the leavening agent in this tender cake. They need to be at room temperature to maximize the loft from whisking. Rather than leave them at room temperture to warm, here's a tip. Place them in the stainless steel bowl, then place that bowl over warm water. I like to swish them around a little bit. Once the chill is off, you're ready to go.
After several minutes of whisking, the eggs and sugar reach the "ribbon" state. A gentle ribbon of the mixture will set on the surface when drizzled from the whisk.
Then, the sifted flour is carefully folded into the egg/sugar mixture. The last step, folding the melted butter into the mix.
The genoise smells SO good as it bakes. Once it's cool, top the layers with the macerated (berries mixed with sugar), and fluffy whipped cream mixture.
I decided not to frost the whole with cream, but just dollop it on the top.