Wikipedia to the rescue! According the the article on Cassata, there is a specific Cleveland Cassata which as I described, based on a baker's kids who didn't like the original. I guess when you are a prominent baker in an immigrant community, your picky kids shape the city's cuisine. And thank goodness for that!
This cake is for my friend Alison, who has a birthday today. When I asked what she wanted, she said "strawberries sound good." I'd just seen this beautiful Strawberry Cream Cake at the ATK blog, and was very excited to try it.
Finding a RecipeI loved the appearance of the ATK cake, but wasn't interested in their recipe. I'm not a fan of the very eggy genoise. Also, they stabilize the whipped cream with cream cheese, which sounds kinda fishy.
I wanted to try Shirley Corriher's Magnificent Moist Golden Cake from BakeWise. There's a good adaptation of the recipe at Cookie Madness, though I got the book from the library and worked from that. While you're there, Anna at Cookie Madness has an awesomely dorky post on All Yellow Cakes Compared.
This is an amazing cake. It goes beyond moist, all the way into damp. But this is not a perfect recipe. I ended up making it twice (you'll read why in a minute) and both times it overflowed the pan onto my baking stone. Also it calls for heavy cream, which I don't usually keep around. But the flavor is accurately Magnificent.
The recipe uses the unusual dissolved-sugar mixing method. The second time I made the cake went easier, so I'm going to write about that one.
Baking the CakeI started by whisking the cake flour and baking powder, then set them aside. I put the sugar in the mixer bowl, then mixed in 1/3 cup simmering water (I just brought a small pot of water to simmer then measured out 1/3 cup). I then stirred in the butter (in pieces), artificial vanilla extract (I save the real stuff for icings and custards), salt, and vegetable oil. You can see a little unmelted butter in the picture below.
Kuhn Rikon Rotary Egg Beater (about $20) and a glass 2-cup measure. It took seconds.
This is the very first cake my seven year old son has liked. He usually considers cake a vehicle for frosting.
Here is the finished cake, which I left to cool overnight. I promised my son that I would cut the top off for us to eat the next day.
Assembling The CakeI layed out the three layers on baking racks and a cake round. I trimmed and bisected 2 pounds of strawberries, then arranged the most attractive pieces on the edges of the cake, macerating the remainder with sugar.
I had saved my prettiest strawberry as a garnish. I used an instructional video at About.com to learn how to cut a strawberry fan.
Have you had layers fall apart on you, or had a kid eat your cake in the middle of the night? How did you cope? Let me know in the comments.
As an aside, I recently read the 250 words is the sweet spot for a blog post (Food Blogging for Dummies). My posts are often around 1000 words. Should I trim it down, or split my posts? Did you even make it this far? :-)