Recently my husband sliced some strawberries and drizzled aged balsamic vinegar on top. The tangy and rich balsamic vinegar paired with the sweet and perfectly ripe strawberries was a real treat.
When I saw this recipe on the California Strawberry Commission website from Tami Hardeman, the cook, writer and photographer behind the blog, Running with Tweezers, I knew I had to try it.
I think this will make a delicious Fourth of July dessert. If you're short on time, a scoop of vanilla ice cream topped with sliced strawberries and whole blueberries will make a patriotic dessert. Drizzle some balsamic vinegar on top for a real treat.
Black Pepper Spongecake with Balsamic Strawberry Whipped Cream
1 cup butter
1 cup caster (very fine) sugar
2 cups self rising flour
1 large vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped from the pod
2 teaspoons fine ground black pepper
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
1 pound fresh strawberries
For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease two 8-inch springform cake pans and line bottoms with a circle of parchment paper.
Beat butter and sugar together with electric mixer until light and fluffy. It should turn a faint lemon yellow color. Add eggs one at a time until just incorporated. Fold in the flour gradually until smooth.
Stir in vanilla bean and black pepper. Pour batter into prepared cake pans.
Bake until a skewer or cake tester comes out clean from the middle of the pan, 30 to 35 minutes. Allow to cool in baking pan for 8-10 minutes then remove and allow to cool fully on a cooling rack before assembly.
Rinse whole strawberries and gently pat dry. Divide into thirds. Cut tops off of two-thirds of the strawberries then slice into1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices. Reserve the remaining third of whole strawberries to decorate the top of the cake.
In large mixing bowl, combine heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar and balsamic vinegar. With electric mixer, whip the mixture until stiff peaks appear.
Place one cooled cake layer on your cake stand or serving plate. Place sliced strawberries across the cake. Spread half of the balsamic whipped cream across the strawberries. Top with the second cake layer. Repeat with the whipped cream mixture and top with the whole strawberries. For an interesting styling trick, leave some of them whole and cut some halves to give some dimension to the garnish on the top.
For the California Strawberry Commission from Tami Hardeman, the cook, writer and photographer behind the blog, Running with Tweezers.
Dawn Minty, 706-571-8512