When I realized my idea of starting a monthly baking group was already a week late, I had to scramble to get organized. All kinds of things came up I didn’t think of to begin with because all I wanted to do is bake. Then reality set in.
Almost 48 hours after I made the commitment, and I’m finally here, happy to be May’s Host Baker. I’m also ready to be the only host baker unless you would like to join me. I hope so!
The first baking assignment is Strawberry Choux Cake.
I found the recipe for Strawberry Choux Cake in The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg. It’s one of my newer cookbooks, but I haven’t done anything beyond tag 20-30 baking possibilities. The recipe got my attention because I love strawberries. But I’ll confess that in the introductory information about the recipe, “the flavor is very much like eating a giant strawberry cream puff” sealed the deal. I’ve made cream puffs a few times and eclairs as well, but I’ve never made pâte à choux in a sheet before. Call me intrigued. I’ll confess that although I’ve worked with pâte à choux, I’m far from proficient. This will give me another chance to improve my skills.
Essentially, a Strawberry Choux Cake is two layers of pâte à choux filled with a strawberry compote cream and is iced with Chantilly cream. Toasted choux crumbs cover the icing, then the cake is sprinkled with powder sugar. Fresh strawberries decorate.
Curious? The following ingredients will give you an idea of what is involved.
Pâte à Choux ingredients:
- cake flour
- bread flour
- unsalted butter
- ammonium carbonate
Strawberry Compote Cream ingredients:
- strawberries (can use frozen)
- granulated sugar
- lime juice
- unflavored gelatin
- heavy cream
Chantilly Cream ingredients:
- vanilla bean
- granulated sugar
- heavy cream
- vanilla extract
Powdered sugar & fresh strawberries to finish
There was no photograph of this cake provided in the source and I had little luck searching for something on line, but no matter. It makes the challenge all the more interesting!
No out of the ordinary equipment is needed for this recipe.
Ideally, this recipe is intended to be made and enjoyed all on the same day. An early start will be needed to allow for the final 2-hours of chilling time for the finished cake.
The recipe makes two 10-inch cakes, so there is lots of room to be creative, or to half the recipe.
Any ambiguity found in the method exists as it does in the text. Although I was tempted, I resisted the urge to add more explicit directions. The recipe has only been organized to make it more logical to follow because the components appeared in different sections of the source over nearly 1,000 pages.
Should anything be unclear, (ammonium carbonate is a good example — it’s baking powder) I recommend you look it up if you aren’t sure. Another example would be “heavy cream.” What constitutes heavy cream in the US may not have the same fat content as what may be found in other parts of the world.
If you’re new to the world of choux pastry, here are some links that may be helpful:
Post your Strawberry Choux Cakes on the 15th of May on your blog, on your Facebook page, in the “Baked by the 15th” Facebook group, on Instagram, Pin it (I have a board set up and need to start adding people to it!), Snapchat it up — do whatever it is you do! Or, don’t do any of those things. Just enjoy the baking challenge. It’s totally up to you. But remember, along the way while you are baking and mixing and assembling, let us know how you’re doing and what you’ve discovered.