For those of you who don't live in the prairies, I'm sure that you've been enjoying spring for quite some time now... but for us it has *just* arrived.. just in time for summer! So maybe we've skipped spring this year and are going straight into the next season, but the berries have arrived regardless.
Fresh berries lend themselves to quick and easy desserts that still have that 'wow' factor. For Mother's Day this year I wanted to use a flavor combination that I've been obsessing over recently.
Strawberry, lemon, and basil. Both the lemon and basil somehow make the strawberry flavor taste even more like strawberry. Plus the sweet-tart combination tastes so fresh and summery that it makes it seem impossible that just two weeks ago there was snow falling from the skies.. still.
Strawberries always remind me of Mother's Day from when I was little and the kindergarden and grade one classes would put on a Strawberry Tea for the Moms. We would serve little slices of poundcake with strawberries and whipped cream and cups of hot tea. In my mind the dessert will forever be something that you make as a treat for your mom.
The strawberries for this recipe are chopped up, sprinkled with a bit of sugar and lemon juice and left until they create their own delicious juices.
The lemon and basil get made into a tangy glaze that is drizzled over the top layer of the angel food cake.
I created the glaze for a Mother's Day strawberry scone recipe for the Globe and Mail. Once that recipe was done I was already looking for more reasons to make the glaze again. It's so bright and lemony that I was tempted to drizzle it straight onto the strawberries and just eat them like that.
Once the strawberries have soaked and the glaze has been put together, all you have to do is whip up some cream and put the layers together. I sliced mini angel food cakes in half, then layered the center with strawberries and whipped cream. Then I put the top of the cake back on and drizzled it generously with the lemon basil glaze.
You could also just use one large angel food cake, but I never pass up an opportunity for miniature food. Plus it gets a little messy when slicing, so it's easier just to give everyone their own little cake.
If anyone deserves some strawberries and whipped cream sandwiched between cake and topped with glaze it's my mom. I have her to thank for my interest in baking and many many memories of strawberries are connected to her (not just the strawberry teas). Growing up in Kelowna and picking strawberries in the fields together, swimming in our pool in Kamloops and having my mom toss us fresh strawberries as a snack as she sat on the deck slicing them for breakfasts, buying cartons of *huge* strawberries from the farmer's market near their house in Okotoks. Thankful that summer/spring is on the way, thankful for strawberries appearing, but mostly thankful for my Mom.
Strawberry Basil Angel Food Cake
2 1/2 Cups chopped strawberries
1 1/2 TBSP sugar
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
8 miniature angel food cakes (or one large one)
Small carton of whipping cream
icing sugar to taste
1. Stir together the chopped strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. Set aside for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight
2. Make the glaze
3. Whip the cream and lightly sweeten it by adding icing sugar one TBSP at a time.
4. Cut the angel food cakes in half and layer the bottom with whipped cream and strawberries. Spoon some of the juices from the strawberries over it before placing the top back on.
5. Drizzle the lemon basil glaze over the top of the cakes. Allow to sit for 20 minutes so that the juices soak into the cake. Serve.