Monday, June 30, 2014

the crowd pleaser

Last week when I talked about strawberry picking, making this cake with fresh-picked strawberries was at the top of my to-do list. And yes, there are more strawberry recipes to come (I picked a lot of strawberries, what can I say?). 

I'm apart of the ABC challenge again (remember last month I made these scones for the challenge) and, once again, this recipe was chosen from the King Arthur Flour site. I was excited to make this cake because I loved this twist on a strawberry shortcake. 

The angel food cake is so fluffy and light and it's a perfect vehicle for holding the semifreddo mixture, which is basically cream and pureed strawberries. I like the strawberry sauce drizzled over each slice (it's very reminiscent of strawberry shortcake if you do this) because it adds an extra dose of strawberry sweetness with a slight lemony tang.

hollowing out the cake when it's frozen makes it an easy cut
This cool cake is great to serve on a hot night to a large crowd, so it's a perfect summertime dessert. And the best part is when the semifreddo starts to soften, so that creamy strawberry mixture slowly melts... ugh, I want to make this cake all over again!!!

Strawberry Semifreddo Angel Food Cake

Adapted from here
A 10” cake should serve 10-12

Recipe Notes-
- Please don’t be intimidated by the many steps in this recipe- it’s surprisingly easy, just a bit time consuming with the freezing time. The night before serving, I made the cake and placed it in the freezer, prepped the filling (just refrigerated the heated up mixture of the strawberries, sugar and gelatin) and made the strawberry sauce. Then the next day, I finished the filling, hollowed out the cake, froze it all again and was ready to serve at midday (although it can stay in the freezer for a longer time).
- Fresh strawberries are ideal, but frozen will work here too.
- The strawberry sauce is sweet and tart, due to the lemon juice. It’s certainly an optional dressing for this cake, but it does add a wonderful extra strawberry punch of flavor. Depending on how sweet your strawberries are will depend on how much sugar you put in. Start with the ½ cup of sugar and taste test it.
- The longer this stays in the freezer, the semifreddo will basically be a hard ice cream consistency. It doesn’t have to be put in the freezer at all, if you don’t want to. It’s wonderful just kept cold in the fridge, although it won’t last as long as it would in the freezer (and it’s SO much easier to hollow the cake if it’s frozen).

For the cake:
12 large egg whites (mostly at room temperature)
1 ½ tsp. cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar

For the filling:
2 cups strawberries, hulled
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (e.g., Knox)
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar

Strawberry Sauce (optional):
2 cups strawberries, hulled
½ to ¾ cup sugar
Juice of a lemon

To make the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Get out a 10" angel food pan; do not grease the pan, as this will inhibit the rise of the cake.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, place the egg whites and cream of tartar. Whip until foamy at medium speed; this will create lots of smaller bubbles, which are best for structure.
3. When nice and foamy, slowly add the granulated sugar. Increase the mixer speed to high, and beat for 4 to 5 minutes, until the whites are stiff but not dry — think shaving cream consistency.
4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the flour over the meringue, and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula. Then sift in the confectioner’s sugar and add the vanilla and salt; fold everything in gently, until no streaks of flour or confectioner’s sugar remain.
5. Scrape the batter into the pan (careful to wipe the sides of any splatters to help the cake rise) and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and springs back when lightly touched.
6. Cool the cake UPSIDE DOWN over a bottle (or using the pan's feet) for 2 hours, or until completely cool (don’t worry, the cake won’t slide out). Remove from the pan carefully, and wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for an additional 2 hours, to firm up before hollowing.

For the filling:
7. While the cake is cooling and chilling, prepare the filling. Puree the strawberries (or mash) and then place in a microwave safe bowl. Add the sugar and gelatin and stir together, then microwave for 1 minute. This will melt and "bloom" the gelatin.
8. Remove the mixture from the microwave, and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 to 60 minutes, or until thickened.
9. Once the strawberry mixture is cooled, place the heavy cream into a large bowl (or a stand mixer) and whip until thickened. Place the strawberry mixture in the cream and whip until thick and it’s a pale pink color.

For the strawberry sauce:
10. In the bowl of a food processor, place the strawberries, sugar (see note above) and lemon juice and puree until desired consistency (I like mine a little chunky).

To assemble the cake:
11. Turn the cake bottom-side up and cut a channel in the cooled cake with a serrated blade (cutting into this cake when it’s frozen is so much easier than if it wasn’t). Think of it as digging a moat through the center of the cake, leaving inner and outer walls for support. Be careful not to cut through the bottom of the cake.
12. Dollop the filling in evenly, spreading it over the entire "moat." Fill to the top, and then use the remaining filling to cover the entire cake, like frosting. Place the cake back in the freezer for 2 to 3 hours, or up to overnight. The filling will freeze into a lovely semifreddo consistency that will slowly melt as you enjoy your slice of cake. Serve each slice with a drizzle of the strawberry sauce. Store any leftovers, well wrapped, in the freezer or refrigerator.


  1. Looks super delicious, thanks!

  2. Beautiful cake! And your strawberry sauce has such gorgeous colour - it's the perfect way to add more berry flavour to the cake.

    1. Thank you Zosia, yes those strawberries were so bright and pretty, and you're right, they reallly enhanced the flavor of the cake.

  3. Your cake looks perfect. Wonderful way to use up strawberries.

  4. What a beautiful cake! It looks so delicious! Can't wait to make this one!

    1. Thanks Chelly, it's definitly worth making

  5. Lovely cake Trisha! I have no doubt you'll have a lot of fun using up those beautiful strawberries :)

    1. Yes Hanaa, I've come up with lot's of recipes to use those berries :)