We have a group of young friends that we like to have over for dinner because they know how to enjoy good food and wine and like to learn about it. Recently 8 of them came over for a do-it-yourself dinner party, where everyone was helping with the shopping, cooking, etc. and we had a great time. You can imagine it was a bit chaotic, so I don’t have photos of everything.
We started with home-made sushi and sashimi, of which I don’t have enough photos to blog about. So we’ll leave that for another time. Then we made home-made bigoli alle vongole, followed by sous-vide-aged ribeye steak finished on a hot BBQ with grilled green asparagus. We ended the wonderful dinner with a home-made strawberry cake. It was the first time I made this type of butterless spongecake called kapsel that is used often in the Netherlands for cakes (including wedding cakes and birthday cakes). It turned out OK, but it should be possible to make it even fluffier.
For a 24 cm/9″ cake (8-10 servings)
1 kg (2.2 lbs) strawberries
1 Tbsp aged balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp honey
handful of amaretti (Italian cookies)
500 ml whipping cream
4 Tbsp sugar
For the sponge cake
100 grams sugar (preferably vanilla-scented, created by keeping vanilla beans in the sugar)
grated zest of 1/2 lemon
90 grams flour
10 grams corn starch
pinch of salt
1 Tbsp butter for buttering the springform pan
Most recipes for kapsel specify that the eggs must be beaten with the sugar au bain-marie. This has two disadvantages: (1) you cannot use a food processor for the beating and (2) there is a risk of cooking the eggs. So I tried the alternative method of putting the eggs in a bowl of warm water (starting with eggs at room temperature to begin with).
Preheat the oven at 180C/350F.
Beat the eggs with the salt, sugar and zest until very fluffy. If you beat by hand, this will take at least 10 minutes.
Butter a 24 cm (9″) springform pan and pour in the beaten eggs.
Sieve the flour and corn starch.
Gently fold in the flour and corn starch, keeping the mixture as airy as possible.
Bake for 25 minutes at 180C/375F. Do not open the oven while the cake is baking!
Let the sponge cake cool off to room temperature. Meanwhile, rinse, dry and hull the strawberries. Keep enough nice-looking strawberries to cover the top of the cake completely, and slice up the rest. Let the slices macerate with the balsamic and honey.
Cut the cake horizontally in two layers and put the bottom layer on a plate. Drizzle with some juice from the macerated strawberries (in the picture above we just started to do this, so please feel free to use more).
Whip the cream with the sugar and cover the cake bottom with whipped cream.
Cover with macerated strawberry slices.
Keep going until you have used up all the slices.
Cover with the top half of the cake, nice side up.
Cover the top and the sides with whipping cream. Arrange the whole strawberries on top.
Crush the amaretti cookes, and use the crumbs to decorate the sides of the cake.
Refrigerate the cake if not serving straight away, but take out of the fridge about half an hour before serving.
Sprinkle with sieved confectioner’s sugar just before serving. If you like you can decorate the cake with additional whipped cream.
We paired it with a nice Sauternes, but it’s also great with Moscato d’Asti.