A Pure Fresh Strawberry Cake with Strawberry Meringue Buttercream-Banh Bong Lan Dau Tay voi Kem Dau

Vietnamese food

16 oz fresh or frozen strawberry and extra for decoration
The batter
   3 cups sifted cake flour
   4 tsp baking powder
   1/2 tsp salt
   1/2 cup strawberry puree
   1/2 cup milk
   1 tsp vanilla extract
   6 egg whites
   3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 stick) at room temperature
   1&3/4 cups sugar
   Red coloring (optional)
   Two 8 or 9 inches round pans
Simple syrup:  bring all ingredients to a boil and set aside to cool down
  1/2 cup water
  1/2 cup sugar
  2 Tbs dark rum
Strawberry  Meringue Buttercream,
  4 egg whites
  1 cup sugar
  1.5 cup (3 sticks) of butter at room temperature cut into small pieces
  2 tsp vanilla extract
  1/2 cup strawberry puree or any left over of strawberry puree above
  Red coloring (optional)

Make strawberry puree:  
     If use fresh strawberry, hull, thinly slice and put it in microwave for 3-4 minutes or cook over stove a few minutes until lightly soft.  If use frozen strawberry, thaw them.  Place strawberry in the processor or blender and process until liquid .  Put strawberry puree in a medium sieve or (a chinois ) and use the back of a spoon to extract the strawberry puree without the seeds.  It takes time but not too long or you can use cheese cloth.  It will yield about 1 cup of strawberry puree.

Make the batter and bake the cake.
      1.  Preheat the oven to 350 oF about 20 minutes before baking.  Butter and lightly flour pans. 
      2.  Place butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy.
      3.  Stir or sift the dried ingredients together
      4.  Combine 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 cup strawberry puree, vanilla.   If the batter does not have enough pink shade as you wanted, add  a few drops of red color.  
      5.  Add liquid and flour alternately to the butter mixture.  Start with the four, liquid, flour, liquid and end with the flour.  Beating until smooth after each addition.
      6.  Whisk the egg white on high until a soft peak form.  Use a large spatula, fold whipped egg whites into the batter.  Stop as soon as the mixture incorporated. Pour the batter into prepared pans, smooth the tops with a rubber spatula and bake at the center of the oven 30-40 minutes until the top of the cake nicely brown and a toothpick insert in the center comes out lean.  Let they cool in the pan 5-10 minutes.  Inverted in a wire rack coated with non stick spray or oil.  Then re-invert the cake again so the cake top is up to prevent splitting.

 Strawberry Italian Meringue Buttercream

      1.  Combine sugar and strawberry puree in a medium pan.  Heat it up to a gentle boil over medium heat.  Stir occasional to prevent burning at the bottom, until it reach to the temperature 220 oF about 10 minutes.  Cover, keep simmering on medium low heat.  
       2.  Beating egg white in a large bow of an electric mixer with the whisk attached at medium speed until soft peak form.  Turn the mixer on high and very careful add hot syrup slowly in a very thin stream near the edge of the bowl into the stiffly beaten egg white.  Continue beating at medium high speed 15-20 minutes until the outside of the bowl cool down and moderately warm to touch.
     3.  Turn the speed to medium low, add room temperature butter pieces a few Tbs at a time.  The mixture will break down and look like cottage cheese.  Keep beating and adding butter.  The mixture will be smooth again in about 10 minutes.  If the mixture fails to come together, reheat the buttercream briefly over the simmer water for 5 minutes, stir with a wooden spoon.  The mixture will look broken and some liquid at the bottom.  Return the mixture back to the mixer stand and whip on medium speed until the mixture smooth and creamy.  Add vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes. It can be store in an air tight container in the fridge for 5 days.  Use 1/2 for filling and 1/2 for frosting.

Decorate the cake
1.  Slice each cake into 2-3 slides (8 in) or 2 slices (9 in.)
2.  Place one layer on the cake stand or platter.  Brush wash syrup and put a thin layer of buttercream. Repeat the same to other layers.  Measure and apply an even amount of wash syrup and buttercream  to each layer.
3.  Apply a thin layer of buttercream to the side and top of the cake and use a pork or a decorate stool to make the lines.
4.  Decorate with fresh strawberry as picture.  Rose strawberry is make by cutting 4-5 petal around the base, 1/2 way down and alternate smaller petals up to 2/3 height of the strawberry and a few at the top.

To serve:  need to take the cake out at least 1 hour at room temperature for the cream to be soften before eating.  Enjoy

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