I had house guests this past weekend. When I was thinking about a dessert, I had berries on the brain. And when I found beautiful strawberries at the store, I knew what I would do—sort of. I envisioned a cake piled with strawberries. In my mind, it seemed fabulous.
But when I came home and started looking through recipes, I couldn't find exactly what I had imagined. So I used a recipe I knew I liked for the cake part. But as I started the strawberry part, I ran into some dilemmas.
I didn't want the heaping strawberries on top to fall off when the cake was cut. Easy enough. I could use corn starch or gelatin to hold them in place. But I didn't want it to be like strawberry jello on top of the cake, either. At this point I wondered why I do this to myself. I could have just settled for a standard recipe. But I forged ahead.
I cut half of the strawberries into small pieces so they would fill in between the larger pieces. Then, because I didn't want it to be like jello, I used corn starch to thicken the structure. But it dawned on me that cornstarch would not give them that beautiful glistening top that was in the image in my mind. There were a few alternatives on that one, but I decided to do something daring—I added one packet of gelatin to the strawberries. Like magic, it immediately made them glisten! Yay!
Now there is one drawback to my gelatin solution. The pretty glaze disappears around day three. It's a big cake, but you won't have much left by day three anyway, and the not-so-shiny leftovers taste every bit as good!
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Beat the cream until it begins to take shape. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat until it holds a soft peak.
|Chop 1 pound strawberries. Halve, quarter, slice.|
|Cook with sugar.|
|Poke some holes and add 1/4 cup of the juice.|
|Whisk gelatin into 1/4 cup juice.|
|Now they're glossy!|