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Strawberry Air Cakes With Vanilla Cream

Strawberry Air Cakes With Vanilla Cream 10.000

Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post

Jul 17, 2017

This is the niftiest way to make a light and airy spongecake that we've come across. Torn pieces get draped with macerated strawberries and topped with lightly flavored whipped cream. You can make it ahead, but it might be even more fun to make it a "performance art" kind of dessert at the end of the meal -- with some plating help from a guest or two.

We can't call it no-cook or no-bake, but 40 seconds of microwaving will not heat up your kitchen.

You’ll need a cartridge-charged ISI foam-whip canister (available at kitchen stores and some hardware stores) and six 16-ounce microwave-safe plastic or paper cups. (The cups can be reused.) The canister may take 1 or 2 charges, depending on its size.

Make Ahead: The strawberries need to macerate for 35 minutes. The vanilla cream can be made a day or two in advance.

10 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 10-12 servings

  • For the vanilla cream
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the cakes
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled, rinsed and each cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons plus 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks plus 7 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
  • 18 tablespoons flour (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons)
  • Small basil leaves, for garnish


For the vanilla cream: Beat the chilled heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or handheld electric mixer on medium speed, until frothy, then add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat to form soft peaks. Transfer to a container; cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

For the cakes: Combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar in a mixing bowl, tossing to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 35 minutes, stirring them every 10 minutes or so.

Combine the egg yolks and egg whites, oil, vanilla bean scrapings, flour and the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar in a blender; puree to form a smooth batter.

Pour into a fine-mesh strainer set over a large liquid measuring cup (with a spout), using a spatula to push the batter through. Discard any solids. Then pour into the ISI foam-whip canister (you may not use all the batter at once) and then insert the necessary charge(s). Shake the canister vigorously.

Use scissors or a sharp knife to make two small slits cut in the bottom of each microwave-safe cup.

Fill each cup (from the canister) about one-third full. Microwave, one cup at a time, on HIGH for 40 seconds; you'll see the cakes puff up close to or above the rim. The cakes will fall slightly after you remove them from the microwave.

Invert each cup on a platter or clean workspace, to sit for 1 minute before removing each air cake from its cup (it helps to run an offset spatula or knife around the edges first). Repeat with the remaining batter (you can reuse the cups), refilling the canister and using another charge if necessary.

Assemble this dessert as you please. The chef recommends tearing or cutting each cake into pieces, then spooning over strawberries and finishing with dollops or spooned portions of the vanilla cream. Garnish with the basil leaves.

Recipe Source

From Ryan Ratino, executive chef of the upcoming Bresca restaurant on 14th Street NW.

Tested by Kara Elder.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (based on 12): 250

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 12g 18%

Saturated Fat: 6g 30%

Cholesterol: 150mg 50%

Sodium: 45mg 2%

Total Carbohydrates: 29g 10%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 19g

Protein: 6g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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