I know it has been a while since my last post and this is because I have been very busy lately. As you may know my life long passion is baking, but I have not gone to pastry school or anything so I have no formal training. In fact my area of study when I was in university was the total opposite, Environmental Studies.
So you know I was ecstatic when I was able to land a once in a life time job at a local Chinese bakery near where I live in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The place Akko Cake House is the most well know Chinese bakery in the city and has been in business for over 20 yrs. My job at the bakery is in helping out with preparation of the buns and other pastries which are sold the following day. I also help out in preparing the batters and baking the many cakes that they sell everyday.
I work in the kitchen a long with two other chefs, one of which is the owner and the other who has worked in the the bakery business for over 40 yrs so they both have years of experience. I am truly fortunate because although I have limited knowledge in the baking and pastry field, let alone make Chinese pastries the chefs are willing to take the time to teach me the skills and techniques and very friendly and patient in understanding that it takes time for me to learn how to mastering the skills. They do this despite the fact that they are already really busy everyday.
One of the main things that keeps customers coming back again and again to the bakery are the cakes that they bake fresh everyday. They have a wide variety of cakes ranging from chocolate and mango mousse, chestnut puree, fruit cocktail cake just to name a few. The secret behind why their cakes and Chinese bakery style cakes taste so good to begin with is the fact that they are light and airy with a sponge cake consistency unlike the denser western version.
With a rare week off from work at the bakery, I decided to put the skills and techniques that I have learned so far on the job and make a simple strawberry sponge cake. I hope you guys enjoy this recipe. You can bring home the Chinese bakery taste you crave without having to leave home!
Strawberry Layered Sponge Cake with Vanilla Whipped Cream Frosting
This makes one approx. 9 inch and & 7 inch cake
- 3 oz cake flour
- 1.4 oz cornstarch
- 1 cup egg whites (6-7 large eggs) and the yolks separated
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vegetable oil ( I used granola oil which also works fine)
- a splash of vanilla extract
- One box of strawberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Sift the dry ingredients into a small mixing bowl.
2. Separate the egg whites and yolks. Pour the whites into a mixer ( I used a hand held mixer) and beat until stiff peaks are about to form.
3. Add the vanilla and and sugar and mix well.
4. Add the egg yolks to the mixture and beat until well incorporated and forms a yellowish batter.
5. Using a spatula add the dry ingredients to the batter in stages mixing well each time.
6. Add the vegetable oil to the batter and combine well.
7. Divide the batter equal between the cake pans which should lined with parchment paper or simply just buttered.
8. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or test with toothpick until it comes out clean. Pop cakes out of the pans and let them cool down to room temperature.
Vanilla Whipping Cream Ingredients
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp confectioners’/icing sugar
1. In a large bowl whip cream until peaks are about to form.
2. Beat in vanilla and sugar until peaks form. Make sure to not over-beat or else cream will become lumpy and butter-like
To Assemble the cake
1. Using a bread knife cut a thin layer of the top each cake so that op surface of the cakes are flat. This makes it easier to apply the whipping cream later.
2. Stack the smaller cake on top of the larger one and cut away the edges of the larger cake so that it is the same size as the small cake.
3. Using the cut cake as the bottom layer apply a thin layer of the whipped cream on top. Cut strawberries into thin slices vertically and place on top of the whipping cream.
4. Add another layer of whipping cream and repeat the process. Add a finally layer of whipping cream on top of the second layer of strawberries.
5. Place the other cake layer on top and press down gently to make sure that the strawberry stays in place. Apply the frosting to rest of the cake until the outside is completely covered
6. Decorate the top of the cake by putting slices of strawberries in a circle around the top of the cake. Resist the urge to eat the beautiful cake right away! Make sure to refrigerate the cake for several hours at least so that the frosting has time to set and the cake becomes firmer. This way the cake will not fall apart when trying to slice into it. Enjoy this simple and delectable strawberry beauty!