Inspiration to try a new recipe can be found in the most unexpected of situations. Case in point: I saw a special for heavy whipping cream at the supermarket the other day. Simply because it was such a steal, I had to purchase it. I didn’t even having a baking use for it yet.
However, I was now determined to find something to fit the bill. Lucky for me, the carton didn’t expire for 2 months so I had plenty of time. But as time ticked away and it sat in the back recesses of my fridge, I almost forgot about it… almost. Dessert always bekons at some point, and so, following a show on the Food Network one day, my sweet tooth was activated and tummy grumbling.
After a bit of searching, I found a perfect recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum (Rose’s Heavenly Cakes). The interesting thing about the cake she touted was that it didn’t have any butter in it at all! Rather, all the whipping cream more than made up for the moisture. This is a fork- tender and crumbly pound cake.. but one with quite a light texture. The reason is because it calls for cake flour rather than all -purpose. As a personal preference, I would choose to use the latter next time because most of my family and friends thought it was a tad too crumbly– they wanted more structure. I also thought this cake was slightly lacking in the flavour department.
To clarify, it is a very simple and delicious cake, but it would certainly be elevated from its humble roots with a bit of lemon or orange zest to shake things up. While Bernabaum says that no other adornments are required (aside from some fresh whipped cream and a dusting of confectioners’ sugar), I think some creme fraiche, or a lemon cream cheese glaze would make this cake sing. My suggestions and notes are in italics.
Whipped Cream Cake
Baking Time: 25 to 35 minutes
Cake Flour or bleached all-purpose flour, sifted (2 1/4 cups cake flour or 2 cups all purpose–measured by sifting into the cup and leveling it off: 8 ounces/225 grams) (I went for the former but would choose the all-purpose next time)
Baking powder (2 teaspoons)
Salt (3/4 teaspooon) (I used 1 tsp of kosher salt)
Heavy cream, cold (1-1/2 cups/12.3 ounces/348 grams)
3 large eggs, at room temperature (1/2 cup plus 1-1/2 tablespoons/5.3 ounces/150 grams)
Pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)
Superfine sugar (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons/8 ounces/225 grams) (Rather than go out and buy the stuff, you can pulverize some regular granulated sugar, just till its fine and not to a powder, in your food processor. Then just measure out what you need)
One 10-cup fluted metal tube pan, coated with baking spray with flour (I use my trusty Nordic Bundt Ware)
Preheat the Oven
Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C (350°F/175°C if using a dark pan).
Mix the Dry Ingredients
In a medium bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt and then sift them together to make the mixture easier to incorporate.
Mix the Liquid Ingredients
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, whip the cream, starting on low speed, gradually raising the speed to medium-high as it thickens, until stiff peaks form when the beater is raised. (I used a hand mixer and it worked just as well)
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla just until lightly combined. On medium-high speed, gradually beat the egg mixture into the whipped cream. The mixture will thicken into mayonnaise consistency (unless high-butterfat cream is used). Gradually beat in the sugar. It should take about 30 seconds to incorporate it. Detach the bowl and whisk beater from the stand.
Make the Batter
Add half the flour mixture to the cream mixture and, with the whisk attachment stir and fold in the flour until most of it disappears (I did this by hand with a rubber spatula). Add the rest of the flour mixture and continue folding and mixing until all traces of flour have disappeared. Using a silicone spatula or spoon, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Run a small metal spatula or dull knife blade through the batter to prevent large air bubbles, avoiding the bottom of the pan. Smooth the surface evenly with a small metal spatula.
Bake the Cake
Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted between the tube and the side comes out completely clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. (It was done at 25 for me. Next time I will remove it at the 22-23 minute mark because as it cools, it will continue to cook in the tube pan)
Cool and Unmold the Cake
Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. With a small metal spatula, loosen the top edges of the cake and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Cool completely. The cake requires no adornment, but I love to serve it with a light dusting of powdered sugar or a large dollop of lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Notes: Do not chill the bowl and beaters for the heavy cream because the eggs will not emulsify as readily if the whipped cream is too cold.
High-butterfat (40 percent) heavy cream produces a finer, more tender crumb. This cream is generally available only to bakeries and restaurants, but it is certainly worth asking your local baker to sell you a container.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings