There’s nothing that says spring like a cake. A vibrant cake, liberated from all the heavy toppings of the winter season, bursting with fresh fruit flavors, and lightly dressed in layers of whipped cream. There’s nothing overwhelming, nothing forced, nothing artificial with this cake. Spring shines through it and lets us know that warm weather is here – thankfully, to stay.
I don’t bake a lot during spring, but whenever I do, I like to make a light cake. It’s sort of an unspoken tradition in our house: my husband has never been a fan of heavy, buttery cake fillings, and whenever he gets a craving for something sweet, he asks me to make a fruit cake, and then pairs it with light whipped cream. Earlier this week, he wanted me to bake a cake. Thankfully, his request coincided with a great offer I had received from Hamilton Beach. As a Hamilton Beach Ambassador, I was asked to review two of their most popular products and to let my readers know what I thought of them. Hamilton Beach sent me a 6 speed stand mixer and a SoftScrape 6 speed hand mixer free of charge for me to review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
My first impression of the mixers was positive: the hand mixer looked sleek and sturdy, while the stand mixer was very light compared to my usual stand mixer. I was pleased to discover that the hand mixer came with a Bowl Rest feature, which allowed the mixer to sit on the edge of the bowl and eliminated messy drips. I also liked the convenient snap-on storage case, which kept the attachments together. The eye-catching and colorful SoftScrape beaters were the ones I was most looking forward to trying out.
I always ask my husband for help to move my usual stand mixer around, and I find this to be a real hassle sometimes. The Hamilton Beach 6 speed stand mixer instantly won me over thanks to its light design and easy maneuverability. This mixer has a head which spins as it rotates inside the bowl, providing complete bowl coverage. Moreover, the mixer has nonslip feet and a tilt-up head, which lifts to provide easy bowl access – a great feature indeed.
I used both Hamilton Beach mixers to make one of our favorite cakes ever: fruit sponge cake. Light as a feather, imbued with a fresh lemon flavor and economical, this cake has a fabulous texture and taste and is best enjoyed loaded with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Sky is the limit when it comes to decorating and serving this cake – so don’t hold back 🙂
Start off by separating the egg yolks and egg whites. Put the egg whites in the bowl of the stand mixer and beat until foamy, increasing the speed slowly. Add the sugar gradually, and continue beating until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is stiff and shiny. For this first part of the recipe I used the whisk attachment of the stand mixer, which has been specially designed to whip liquids such as egg whites and cream.
While the stand mixer was “busy” working on the egg whites, I used the hand mixer to mix the egg yolks with the vegetable oil. The process was easy, and the egg yolks were ready in no time. I really like the specially coated SoftScrape beaters, which accomplish a thorough mixing without scratching the bowl – plus, they are dishwasher safe, and they look so cool! I was also impressed with the QuickBurst button, which comes in handy and provides a quick boost of power at any speed.
The next step of the recipe involves pouring the egg yolk mixture onto the egg white mixture and adding the lemon zest and vanilla extract. Also add the flour and salt little by little and mix until the ingredients are thoroughly combined, increasing the speed gradually. For this part I used the flat beater attachment of the stand mixer, which is designed to mix cakes, cookie dough, fudge, or potatoes. The flat beater and the whisk are dishwasher safe.
When the mixture is fluffy and homogeneous, pour it into a 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Do a quick inventory of the fruit you have available for this cake, and wash and dry the fruit with a paper towel. I had strawberries and nectarines (which I cut into thin slices) and also blueberries.
After 15 minutes, take the pan out of the oven and spread the fruit over the cake uniformly. Overcrowding is not a good idea, so stick to one layer of fruit only – otherwise, the fruit might sink to the bottom of the cake. There will be lots of opportunities to add more fruit later, when the cake is done and ready to be served.
Return the pan to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden-brown. You can check to see if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick into its center. If the toothpick comes out clean and dry, the cake is done. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely.
When cooled fully, cut the cake into two even layers. Spread whipped cream, pastry cream, jam or Nutella on the bottom layer, then add the top layer. I always serve the cake topped with whipped cream, drizzled with fruit or chocolate syrup and with a generous extra helping of fresh fruit – the more, the merrier!
This cake keeps well for 2-3 days and gets moister as days go by. I usually cover it with aluminum foil and store it on the countertop or in the fridge. I often find myself looking at it, admiring its explosive demeanor and colorful majesty, dreaming of other seasonal cakes which are yet to be made. This glorious weather gives me hope: more baking adventures are just around the corner 🙂