Strawberry Shortcake Génoise

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    10 to 12

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 15 to 30 minutes

Strawberry shortcake is one of America’s favorite desserts. In my version, strawberry is added to every component. The rhubarb compote, however, is a fabulously synergistic accompaniment. The Nordic Ware Fancy Marianne woven basket weave pan provides a spectacular presentation and can be used with any fruit you desire.

Plan Ahead Defrost the frozen strawberries and extract their syrup at least 8 hours before making the cake. As with all cakes with syrup, you should make the cake a day before you plan to serve it. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.

Ingredients

Batter

VOLUME WEIGHT
unsalted butter 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) 3 ounces 85 grams
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
5 large eggs 1 cup (237 ml) 8.8 ounces 250 grams
1 large egg yolk 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon (17 ml) 0.7 ounce 19 grams
superfine sugar ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons 4.4 ounces 125 grams
bleached cake flour cup, sifted into the cup and leveled off 2.3 ounces 66 grams
cornstarch, preferably Rumford (see Notes) ½ cup 2 ounces 60 grams

Fresh Strawberries

VOLUME WEIGHT
fresh strawberries, hulled and halved 2 pints 1 pound 454 grams
granulated sugar 2 tablespoons 0.9 ounce 25 grams
lemon juice, freshly squeezed 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . 5 grams

Special Equipment

One 10 cup Marianne fluted tart pan with a recess, well coated with baking spray with flour, or one 9 by 2½ inch or higher springform pan, bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour (see Notes)

Method

Make the Macerate the Frozen Strawberries

See recipe.

Make the Batter

Remove 1 cup/2.1 ounces/60 grams of the egg foam and whisk it thoroughly into the melted butter.

Sift about half of the flour mixture over the remaining egg mixture and, with a large balloon whisk, slotted skimmer, or silicone spatula, fold it in gently but rapidly until almost all of the flour has disappeared. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture until all traces of flour have disappeared.

Fold in the butter mixture just until incorporated. With a silicone spatula, reach to the bottom of the pan to be sure to moisten all of the flour.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula. If you have beaten it long enough, the batter will fill the pan about half full.

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Clarify and Brown the Butter

Beurre Noisette

Have ready a fine-mesh or cheesecloth-lined strainer suspended over a 1 cup glass measure with a spout.

In a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter. Raise the heat to low and cook, uncovered, watching carefully to prevent burning. Move away any foam on the surface to check the progress. As soon as the milk solids become a deep brown, immediately pour the butter through the strainer, scraping the solids into the strainer.

Measure or weigh ¼ cup/59 ml/1.8 ounces/50 grams of the browned butter. Let it cool slightly to 110° to 120°F/40° to 50°C. Stir in the vanilla, cover, and keep warm. Refrigerate or freeze the milk solids for a future use.

Beat the Eggs and Sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using a long-handled wire whisk, lightly combine the eggs, egg yolk, and sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat just until lukewarm to the touch, stirring constantly with the whisk to prevent curdling.

Set the bowl on the stand mixer and attach the whisk beater. Beat the mixture on high speed for a minimum of 5 minutes. The mixture will more than quadruple in volume and be very thick and airy. (A handheld mixer will take at least 10 minutes.)

Mix the Flour and Cornstarch

While the eggs are beating, sift together the flour and cornstarch.

Bake the Cake

Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until a deep golden brown and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. It will lower slightly and pull away slightly from the sides. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum time or the fragile cake could fall. Test toward the end of baking by opening the oven door a crack, and if the cake does not appear done, continue baking for another 5 minutes.

To prevent the collapse of its delicate foam structure while still hot, the cake must be unmolded as soon as it is baked. Have ready a small metal spatula and two wire racks that have been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. If using the Marianne pan, also have a 10 inch parchment round.

Unmold and Cool the Cake

If using the Marianne pan, immediately loosen the top edges of the cake with the small metal spatula. Place the parchment round and then the prepared wire rack on top of the cake and invert the cake. Remove the pan and cool completely.

If using the springform pan, run the small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan. Remove the sides of the pan and invert the cake onto one of the prepared wire racks. Remove the bottom of the pan. Leaving the parchment in place, immediately reinvert the cake onto the second prepared wire rack so that the firm upper crust keeps it from sinking. Cool completely.

Make the Grand Marnier Syrup

See recipe.

Make the Strawberry Jam Whipped Cream

See recipe.

Apply the Syrup

For the cake baked in the Marianne pan, place a folded paper towel in the center depression of the cake and then a prepared wire rack on top of the cake. Invert the cake and rack.

For the springform cake, with a sharp serrated knife, cut a circle about ½ inch from the sides and ¼ inch deep. Carefully cut the top off the cake within the inscribed circle to form a depression on the top of the cake. Place a folded paper towel in the center of the cake and then a prepared wire rack on top of the cake. Invert the cake and slowly peel off the parchment round, which should also remove most of the bottom crust.

For either cake, carefully slice off any remaining crust from the bottom of the cake. (For the cake baked in the springform pan a serrated knife works best to scrape off the thin layer of crust.) Brush a third of the syrup evenly on the bottom of the cake. Reinvert the cake onto a serving plate. Brush the remaining syrup on the top of the cake and, if desired, on the sides as well. Cover the cake and let it sit at room temperature or refrigerated for 8 to 12 hours.

Macerate the Fresh Strawberries

In a medium bowl, sprinkle the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice. (Quarter the strawberries if they are very large.) Holding on to either side of the bowl, toss gently to coat the berries. Place the strawberries in a strainer suspended over a bowl and let the syrup drain into the bowl for 2 hours at room temperature or up to 8 hours refrigerated.

There will be about ¼ cup/59 ml of syrup, which can be reduced to about 1 tablespoon in a microwave, and then, if desired, brushed on the berries after they are set on the cake (or used for another purpose, such as pouring over fresh berries).

Compose the Cake

In a food processor, puree the reserved ¾ cup strawberries until smooth. Spread this puree to cover the depression on top of the cake. Make a ring of the fresh strawberries, with their uncut sides facing up, around the perimeter of the depression on top of the pureed strawberries. Spoon the remaining strawberries to cover the pureed strawberries. Spoon the whipped cream onto the center of the strawberries and swirl with a silicone spatula to within about 1 inch of the edge of the strawberries.

Store

Airtight: room temperature, 4 hours; refrigerated, 2 days.

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