French Strawberry Cake

French Strawberry Cake - A delicious gluten free variation

Today we are celebrating our first participation in the Tuesdays with Dorie twice monthly recipe challenge. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this unique baking club, it was originally started by Dorie Greenspan, who worked alongside Julia Child, writing her famous cookbook ‘Baking with Julia.’

The rules are really very simple; every month two recipes are selected from the book Baking with Julia, and posted ahead of time on this website. All registered participants agree to make and post the agreed upon dishes on the selected date, which always falls on a Tuesday. Hence, our post today. Each week a couple of bloggers are chosen to host the event, and they are the only ones allowed to actually post the official recipe. Everyone is encouraged to branch out and create their own version, following the original recipe as closely as possible. This week’s hosts are Allison of ‘think love sleep dine,’ and Sophia of ‘Sophia’s Sweets.’ Check out their beautiful websites and locate today’s original recipe, albeit the gluten containing version.

French Strawberry Cake - Bowl of strawberries

Since we live gluten free, our participation naturally demands that we develop a unique take on each recipe. As all of you gluten free bloggers know, this can present a few challenges.

Today’s recipe offered an opportunity to explore another gluten free take on creating a perfect Génoise (a type of sponge cake). Over the past few years of living and baking gluten free, we developed our own unique take on this dessert, since it is also very popular in Southern Germany.

However, as part of the TWD challenge, we wanted to stay true to the original recipe, and merely replace the regular flour with our own gluten free flour blend, keeping all other ingredients the same. The end result was not at all to our liking. Julia Child’s Génoise cake is intended to be a triple layer cake. With our first attempt, that would have been impossible. Now please understand, that we are in no way blame casting the original recipe, but want to emphasize the great difficulties one encounters when first converting any baking recipe into a gluten free version. The proportions of liquids and fats have to be adjusted, eliminated, or replaced with another option. In order to let you participate in this baking challenge, we wanted to let you see the failures that one encounters along the way. As we already mentioned, the following image depicts our first attempt, in which we followed the original recipe to the letter, replacing only the flour. As you can see, this did not work at all.

French Strawberry Cake - Gluten free Sponge Cake (Genoise)

Despite our careful attention to folding the flour into the heavily whipped and very fluffy egg/sugar batter, the entire cake fell flat once baking in the oven, completely failing to rise. We immediately went about adjusting the recipe, tweaking it just slightly.

We eliminated the melted butter entirely, but added a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk instead. The other change we made, was in the preparation of the eggs. Three eggs were separated into egg whites and egg yolks, adding the fourth whole egg into the bowl with the egg yolks. We whipped the egg whites first, until stiff peaks formed, and then, in a separate bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar and the vanilla extract, until the batter tripled in size and was very creamy, light and fluffy. The whipped egg whites were then placed on top of the egg/sugar batter, and then carefully topped with the sifted flour blend, consisting of almond, tapioca flour and guar gum. As emphasized in Dorie’s book, the success of a génoise rests on the careful attention one places on gingerly folding the flour into the egg batter. You might enjoy this short little video with Julia Child and Flo Braker, demonstrating the making of  a typical French-style Génoise. In our version, we also added a teaspoon of baking powder to the flour, differing from the original recipe, which doesn’t call for leavening of any kind. As anticipated, this approach was a success.

French Strawberry Cake - Assembly of Triple Layer Genoise with Filling

As you can see, we did manage to create a triple layer cake. Although the process of cutting the layers, takes courage and nerves of steel. ;-)  The génoise, turned out to be moist, light and fluffy. As directed in the recipe, we filled each layer with chopped fresh strawberries and a cream filling. We took another liberty in replacing the recommended sour cream with Greek-style yoghurt, because it is one of our favorites.French Strawberry Cake - A delicious gluten free variation

Since it is exceptionally hot at the moment, we immediately refrigerated our cake, once the filling and the outer topping were complete. The cake is topped with fresh whipped cream and sliced strawberries.

French Strawberry Cake - A gluten free variation

Once the cake was nice and cool, we made ourselves a cup of coffee and enjoyed the fruit of our labor, albeit just a small piece ;-) . The cake is light, moist and truly exceptional in every way. So good,  it is a foregone conclusion that we will make it again. We encourage you to look up the book, go to page 273, and try it for yourselves. You will not be disappointed.

French Strawberry Cake - A gluten free variation

Feel free to participate in TWD for their next recipe challenge, or just share your version of this recipe with us – no actual sharing of the recipe required. We love hearing from you.


14 thoughts on “French Strawberry Cake

    1. Definitely, adapting any recipe to gluten free can be a challenge. Over the years we have learned that just using one flour blend does not work for all recipes. Most have to be tweaked. Since you have our first book, look up page 49 for a similar (not the same we used for this TWD challenge), take on a sponge cake. Let us know how it turns out for you.

    1. Three layer cakes don’t immediately come to mind when baking gluten free. We don’t generally go for the super rich desserts, but this one looked irresistible. It tastes fabulous too!

    1. Sorry to say, as part of the TWD challenge, we had to agree to a few rules. Number one, don’t share the recipe unless you are the one hosting the challenge. We altered the original Baking with Julia recipe to suit our gluten free needs. We developed a similar recipe (not the same) a couple of years ago for our first book ‘A Celebration of Gluten Free Baking’ found on page 49. Hope this helps.

  1. Reblogged this on The Juicy Mamas and commented:
    I love how she re-worked this recipe to make it gluten-free and ADORE the food photography! July 21st is the end of my Crazy Sexy Diet adventure cleanse. This may have to be my celebration cake! :)

    1. Thanks for the reblog. We always love to hear that our humble attempts at food photography are appreciated. The recipe itself turned out really well and tastes fabulous. Would love to hear how your celebration cake turns out. :-)

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