Cloud Nine

Growing up we had a favorite dessert…a light and moist angel food cake with a whipped cream based butterscotch frosting.  The cake was then topped with chopped up Callard & Bowser’s butterscotch.  It was heaven.  Unfortunately for us, Evan’s butterscotch- the butterscotch sauce we used-went out of business in the 1980’s.  We tried other sauces- but the flavor was never right-never rich enough or truly butterscotchy.  After several disappointing results, Mom finally gave up and the favorite dessert was relegated to the back of her recipe file. 

About a year ago I found the recipe for the cake portion of this dessert and tucked it away determined to try it.  If I could not repeat this classic recipe from my childhood, then I could reinvent it.  The cake from my memory was wonderful-why had we thrown the baby out with the bathwater for all those years?

This past weekend, we were invited to our friends Bonnie and Michael’s for a casual Saturday night dinner.  I offered to bring dessert reasoning that this was the perfect time to fiddle with this recipe.  Now I was mentally committed to making the cake. Still, I had a problem; what would top it?  The dessert from my memory had been a vehicle for the butterscotch whipped cream.  While the cake itself was wonderful, it needed to have an equally (if not more) compelling topping to match my memory. 

I had purchased some caramel sauce to try a different take on the butterscotch whipped cream; but, the fabulous warm spring weather made caramel seem heavy and a beat off for the lightness of the day and new season. Strawberries with their fabulous redness sprang to mind.  Yet, I struggled because fruit and whipped cream were so predictable…this needed more, another layer to really make it special.  Still, the berry idea stuck with me…more than that, it spoke to me.  What if I created a strawberry sauce to add to the mix?  It would offer fabulous flavor and color to the whiteness of the cake and whipped cream.  And, with the fresh berries soaked in Cointreau sprinkled on top, this cake could not help but soar again.

After a fabulous dinner of Paella, the four of us dove into my creation.  It was everything I hoped it would be.   The cake was as I remembered-light as air and delicious.  And, the layers of the toppings: whipped cream, strawberry sauce and berries were elegant and bright.  Saturday night’s version was a huge success and I remain struck by just how versatile this little cake is.  I’ll be playing with the toppings again, although this way was very tasty!   Stay tuned!

Cloud Sponge Cake– 325 oven

1 1/3 cake flour, stirred and lightly spooned into measuring cup

½ t baking powder

¼ t salt

5 eggs at room temperature, separated

½ c ice water (I used refrigerated water and placed it in the freezer for 20 minutes)

1 ½ c sugar

½ t vanilla

¾ t cream of tartar

  1. Preheat oven to 325
  2. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a mixer, beat at high speed the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored.  Turn mixer speed down to medium-low and beat in water until pale and foamy. 
  4. Gradually beat in sugar and beat until completely dissolved, 8-10 minutes.
  5. Beat in vanilla
  6. Fold flour mixture into yolk mixture in three additions.  Set aside.
  7. In a clean mixer bowl using the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.
  8. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  9. Turn into an ungreased 10” tube pan.
  10. Bake one hour, or until cake springs back when lightly touched.
  11. Remove from oven and immediately invert the pan on the neck of a bottle; cool. 
  12. Loosen cake with a knife and invert on serving plate.  Frost and top as desired.


Strawberry Sauce– makes about 3 cups

2-12 oz packages of frozen strawberries- no sugar added!

½ c. sugar

3 T Cointreau

Defrost berries and puree them in a food processor or blender.  Press the puree through a sieve to remove any unwanted solids.  Add sugar and Cointreau and mix well. 

For the berries:

2 pints of fresh strawberries, sliced

2-3 T Cointreau

Mix the Cointreau into the berries and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours before serving.

For the whipped cream:

2 pints of heavy cream

3 T sugar

Whip cream in mixer, gradually adding sugar.


One Comment

  1. the schiffers
    Posted March 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read your blog out loud in the car, we were trying to come up with yummy toppings for the cake. Gabe came up with a great idea, he thought it would taste really good if you mixed vanilla and caramel fusion. He also said it might taste good with a chocolate sauce. I thought this sounded very yummy. I am definitely going to try and get my mom to make that cake. From Zoe

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