Sweet and Bright, Dazzle Your Valentine with Lemon Chiffon Strawberry Cake' by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Want to dazzle your Valentine? Here's a recipe that will make her/him melt, from Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations (Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015) by Gesine Bullock-Prado...


{Makes one 12-inch-long (30.5-cm-long) rectangular cake}

This cake is springtime in your mouth. The combination of strawberries and lemon is sweet and bright, and there’s just enough mint in the pastry cream to refresh without overwhelming the fruit. The almond paste that drapes over this cake adds a richness and balance with every bite. Everything in this cake works in symmetry, so why not build the cake to look symmetrical? I did and it’s gorgeous.


For the Mint and Almond Pastry Cream 

¾ cup (180 ml) whole milk
¾ cup (180 ml) heavy cream
3 large fresh mint leaves, cut into thin strips
4 large egg yolks
⅓ cup (65 g) sugar
¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
½ teaspoon almond extract

For the Strawberry Coulis

¼ cup (50 g) finely chopped strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the Lemon Chiffon Cake 

4 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
½ cup (120 ml) lemon juice
¼ cup (60 ml) plus 2 tablespoons organic grapeseed oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons
1 cup (120 g) pastry flour
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

To Finish

3 cups (720 ml) cold heavy cream
1 pound (455 g) small strawberries, hulled (about 30)
7 ounces (200 g) almond paste
A few fresh mint leaves

Lemon Chiffon Strawberry Cake


Make the mint and almond pastry cream:

Combine the milk, cream, and mint in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Whisk until the mixture ribbons thickly. Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture, whisking all the while so that the eggs don’t curdle. Continue whisking until smooth.

Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise. Remove from the heat and add the butter and almond extract, whisking until combined. Pour the pastry cream through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 2 hours.

Make the Strawberry Coulis:

In a small saucepan, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice and simmer over low heat until the strawberries are very soft and all the sugar has dissolved, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the coulis to a blender and process until smooth. Pour through a sieve into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge until cool, about 30 minutes.

Make the Lemon Chiffon Cake

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, lemon juice, oil, and lemon zest. Sift the flour, ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt over the egg yolk mixture and whisk until
very smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on high until the egg whites turn white and increase slightly in volume.

With the mixer still running, slowly add the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar and continue whisking on high speed until you achieve smooth, stiff peaks (don't whisk so much that they become dry and chunky). Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture until a smooth batter forms and no white streaks remain.

Transfer the batter to the prepared sheet pan and gently spread it into an even layer with a large offset spatula. Bake until the cake gently springs back when gently poked and just begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

Run a sharp knife along the edge of the cake to fully release it. Place a piece of parchment on top of the cake and place a second sheet pan on top of that parchment. Flip the cake and turn the cake out onto the second sheet pan. Cut the cake into three long, even strips, 5⅓ by 12 inches (13.5 by 30.5 cm).

To Finish:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks. Whisk one third of the whipped cream into the pastry cream. With a large rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the pastry cream. Transfer the lightened pastry cream to a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.

Place a strip of cake on a cake platter. Place 15 strawberries hulled side down onto the cake. Pipe half of the lightened pastry cream in between and over the strawberries, using a small offset to smooth the cream over the strawberries. Place a second layer of cake atop the cream-laced strawberries and arrange the remaining 15 strawberries atop the second layer. Pipe the remaining pastry cream among the strawberries and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Place the final layer of cake on top and place in the freezer to set, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, roll out the almond paste to measure slightly larger than 5⅓ by 12 inches (13.5 by 30.5 cm) and punch a random pattern of hearts into the almond paste using a 2-inch (5-cm) heart cookie cutter.

Once the cake has set (test the cream to see if it feels very firm; it should not be fully frozen),
remove from the freezer. Place the almond paste sheet on top of the cake. Dip a very sharp
serrated knife into hot water and wipe dry. Trim the sides of the cake, gently sawing to keep the
cream from spurting out the sides of the cake. The firmer the cake is, the cleaner the trimmed
sides will be, but it will be much harder to cut. So take your time in your gentle sawing and keep
the knife hot and clean throughout the process.

Gently spoon the coulis into the holes in the almond paste. Serve immediately or cover the sides of the cake with parchment, cover with plastic wrap to keep the cake moist. Keep refrigerated.

If you want the Vegan or Gluten Free version of this recipe email us.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from Let Them Eat CakeClassic, Decadent Desserts with Vegan, Gluten-Free & Healthy Variations -Stewart, Tabori and Chang, March 2015- by Gesine Bullock-Prado, Photos by Tina Rupp)

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