Strawberry-Elderflower Cake
Author: Inaki Aizpitarte
The génoise or Italian sponge cake is light and airy because it does not use a chemical leavening, relying instead upon air suspended in the egg batter through rapid mixing to provide volume. This version of a génoise cake with strawberry filling is sharpened with an elderflower or raspberry vinegar and decorated with delicate and edible elderflowers.
  • CAKE:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, allowing time to slightly cool, plus more at room temperature for pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for pan
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 lb. strawberries, hulled, quartered
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 3 TBSP elderflower or raspberry vinegar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 2½ cups powdered sugar
  • Elderflowers (optional; for serving)
  1. CAKE:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9"-diameter cake pan and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Whisk flour and salt in a small bowl; set aside.
  3. Whisk eggs and 1 cup granulated sugar in a heatproof bowl and place over saucepan of simmering water (bowl should not touch water.) heat, whisking constantly, until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm to touch, about 4 minutes. Remove bowl from heat, and using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg mixture until it is pale and tripled in volume, about 5 minutes,
  4. Gently fold reserved dry ingredients into egg mixture in 3 additions, then fold in melted butter. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake cake until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan before turning out.
  6. Bring strawberries, granulated sugar, and 2 TBSP vinegar to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Crush berries with a spoon to release more juices and simmer until berries are completely soft and mixture resembles a course jam, 5-8 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl; let cool.
  7. Using a long serrated knife, slice cake in half horizontally. Spread strawberry mixture over bottom layer of cake and place top layer over strawberry mixture.
  8. Whisk eggs whites, salt, and remaining 1 TBSP vinegar in a medium bowl until frothy. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar; thin icing with water as needed (it should be pourable.)
  9. Place cake on a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet and pour icing over cake. Spread with an offset spatula to smooth top and cover sides. Let stand at room temperature until set, at least 30 minutes. Decorate with elderflowers, or other edible flowers, if using, just before serving.
  10. DO AHEAD: Cake can me made 1 day ahead. Store covered at room temperature.
Recipe by Yvonne Cornell at