I love Strawberries. If I HAD to pick a favorite fruit, they’d definitely be in the top 5 list. One thing that I noticed very quickly when I first moved here is that strawberries weren’t readily available in the supermarkets like back home. It’s not unusual to walk into your local grocery store and see a display of strawberries during Christmas season. After all, how on earth are you going to make those cute Strawberry Santa hats you saw on Pinterest?!
Well here in Torino we eat in season. So imagine my shock when I had to wait until MARCH for my strawberry fix. Even then, they weren’t quite in season yet. These last few years, the season has started earlier. Just this year, I noticed them at the market in February! That’s way too early.
So, with the season almost over, I wanted to share this delicious and EASY Strawberry cake. While it may look like a Shortcake, it’s not. The typical Strawberry shortcake is made with a scone or biscuit. This is more of a sponge cake.
What makes this recipe so special is that it was given to me by husband’s aunt. Zia R from Naples. My first (and so far only) trip to Naples was in 2011 and we still talk about this cake and how good it was. Perhaps this is special because I witnessed it being made with love. Not just by Zia R but beside her was her dear (now departed) husband Zio S. (my mother in law’s brother) Together they made this cake. Working side by side. Knowing exactly what steps to take next.
So, give this recipe a try and invite someone you love to help you!
ps.. You’ll have to plan ahead of time to make this cake since you want to make a syrup with the strawberries.
Torta di fragola (Strawberry Cake)
Ingredients for cake:
125 g sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla (Italian friends- use 1 bustina of vanillina)
8g baking powder (Italian friends- half bustina of lievito vaniglianato)
Ingredients for syrup:
1 kg (2 lbs) of strawberries
Whipping Cream (cold)
Cut strawberries into small pieces. Save a few whole strawberries for garnishing cake. Add the juice of one lemon and about 2 tablespoons of sugar to the cut strawberries. Stir and let sit overnight. (the more lemon juice and sugar you add, the more syrup the strawberries will produce)
Preheat oven to 180C (375F)
Line an 9-inch round pan with parchment paper. Butter and flour bottom and sides of pan. Set aside.
Combine flour, sugar, eggs, vanilla and baking powder. Mix well and pour into cake pan.
Bake at 180 C (375F) for 20 minutes. Let cool completely. Meanwhile, whip cream adding a few tablespoons of sugar. The key is to make sure your bowl, beater and cream are all COLD when you start whipping the cream. Here’s a link to Real Simple to show you how.
Once cooled, cut cake in half and spoon syrup onto both side of cake or use a food grade spray bottle to add the syrup. Then add whipped cream and strawberries.
Add second layer and add a crumb coating of whipped cream. Using a fork or toothpick, poke the top of the cake and add more syrup. Using a piping bag, decorate the cake or simple spread whipped cream*. Garnish with whole strawberries.
If I notice that my whipped cream isn’t holding up, I’ll just quickly spread it onto the cake and then while serving, garnish each slice with additional chopped strawberries with syrup.
If you try this cake, let me know in the comments below!