I made this delicious light and airy strawberry cake on Easter Sunday. It's really a cross between a cake and a tart. The base has the look and texture of a soft and golden spongecake, yet you spoon the filling on top as you would with a tart. I used a nostalgic and old-fashioned fluted 10 inch "Mary Ann" pan (sometimes called flan pan), which has an indentation in the center. When inverted it allows you to fill the cake with fruits, ganache, lemon curd, custard, or whipped cream.
The following recipe for the lemon cake base is from the King Arthur Flour recipe collection.
1 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup strawberry preserves
1 box vanilla pie filling, prepared according to package directions or home made pastry cream
1 cup strawberries, washed and sliced plus additional berries for decoration
1 cup whipped heavy cream, slightly sweetened
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter and flour an 8 1/2 or 10 inch Mary Ann pan.
In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
With mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add lemon juice and eggs, one at a time. Scrape down sides of the bowl and continue beating until well combined. Mixture may look curdled, because of the lemon juice.
Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk in 3 additions and gently combine.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for 34 to 38 minutes or until cake springs bake when lightly pressed.
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a wire rack.
Brush cooled cake with strawberry preserves and top with custard. Arrange strawberries in a circular pattern and cover with whipped cream. Decorate with additional berries and mint leaves. Dust edges of cake with confectioners' sugar.
If you're in a hurry or don't have all the ingredients on hand to make the cake base from scratch, you can use store bought cake mix instead. You'll need 1/2 a box of white cake mix, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 whole egg, and 1 egg white. Beat with mixer at medium speed for 3 minutes. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. Just as delicious and no one will ever know. . .