Fresh strawberry summer cake: How to achieve the perfect whipped cream

For years I shied away from preparing anything that involved whipped cream.

Strawberry Cake with piped whipped cream

strawberry cake with whipped cream piping

For some reason I could never get that wonderful fresh creamy frosting that you see in bakery displays. Sure the cream would whip up, no problem, but after a while the frosting would start to weep and fall apart… especially in warm weather. Sound familiar?

Here I’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular methods for stabilizing whipped cream, their pros and cons.

1. Gelatin

How it works: Whipped cream starts to weep over time because the protein structure eventually breaks down. By adding gelatin, you’re creating more protein bonds and thus making the whole mixture more stable.

Pros: You’ll get a thick  whipped cream that can be piped using a pastry bag.

Cons: After the whipped cream has been prepared you have to use it in within about half an hour before the gelatin sets up. When this happens, the cream will be hard to spread and your piping won’t be as well defined. Another thing is that you have to prepare the gelatin before hand.  Let it soak, heat it and so on which means more hassle in the kitchen.

You can find this method here.

2. Lemon juice

How it works: Milk and cream contain the protein Casein. The citric acid in the lemon juice coagulates some of this protein  forming solid curds and thus adding stiffness and body to the cream.

Pros and cons: By adding a few drops of lemon juice you get a beautiful and thick whipped cream. However, it doesn’t stand the test of time. In fact, it deteriorates faster than regular whipped cream. The main reason for this would be that the protein structure was compromised. Because the lemon-treated cream contained less free protein, it broke down more quickly with more liquid seepage than the cream without lemon juice .

Method: Whip the cream until it starts to gain volume then add about 5 drops of lemon juice for every cup (250 ml) of whipping cream. Keep whipping until you get a thick and smooth frosting.

…and finally to achieve perfect whipped cream:

3. Intant powdered skim milk

This is my go-to method. The cream turns out thick and spreads like a dream. You can pipe any shapes you’d like and it won’t weep or break down.

How it works: The last two methods focused on altering the protein content  when the main problem is the excess water in the whipping cream. The powdered milk absorbs the excess liquid making the final product thick and smooth with no weeping later. It does not impart a taste or change the texture, but it keeps every swirl and dollop of cream in place — even if you whip it a full day ahead or use it as frosting for a cake.

Method: To make perfect and long-lasting whipped cream, simply add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of instant skim milk powder to every 1 cup (250 mL) of whipping cream as you are whipping it.

Fresh strawberry summer cake recipe

Whipped cream takes center stage in this Strawberry Summer Cake. It’s a very light dessert and is perfect for an afternoon bbq.

Strawberry whipped cream cake

Strawberry Summer Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all -purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (substitute with sour cream or greek yogurt)
  • 3 large eggs
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking bowder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup of diced summer fruit (berries, peaches or cherries work well), plus a handful of the whole fruit for decoration.
  • 2 cups of whipping cream (cold from the fridge)
  • 2 tbsp instant powdered skim milk
  • 3 tbsp powdered sugar

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC (350ºF); grease and flour a 20 cm round cake pan.
  2. In a small bowl add the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix and set aside.
  3. Using a hand-held or stand mixer, mix the sugar and butter on high speed until pale and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time and beat until the mixture has gained some volume, about 5 more minutes.
  4. On low speed, add half of the flour mixture. Add the yogurt then the rest of the flour. Mix until well combined but do NOT overmix.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 30-35 minutes or until  wooden skewer comes out clean. After removing the cake from the oven, let it cool in the pan on a cake rack for 5 minutes. Unmold the cake and let it cool completely on the rack.
  6. Prepare the whipped cream: with a whisk atachment whip the cream on medium-high speed; when it starts to gain volume, add the powdered milk and powdered sugar and beat until thick and forms firm peaks. Do NOT over beat or your cream will turn to butter.
  7. After the cake has cooled completely slice it horizontally in 3 equal layers. Between each layer, evenly spread 1/2 cup of the diced fruit and about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream. Frost the cake with the remaining cream and decorate with fresh whole fruit. Keep cake refrigerated until it’s time to serve.

This cake can be served straight away but tastes better when made the night before.

strawberry whipped cream cakestrawberry whipped cream cake

…finished cake!

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