Strawberry Sponge Cake

Ripe summer strawberries are a great way to add character and a subtle sweetness to desserts. Strawberry shortcake is a perennial favorite, but the heaviness of the biscuit can be a bit much when warm weather may be better paired with a lighter treat. Fat-free angel food cake is the opposite extreme, remaining light, but still quite sweet. Sponge cake has a similar texture, but the inclusion of egg yolks along with egg whites (and sometimes a bit of oil or butter) proves to be a nice balance. Here, I took cues from a New York Times recipe, which pairs a sponge cane with a whipped topping made from a combination of cream and mascarpone and, of course, plenty of strawberries. The original recipe is a two-layer affair and includes the addition of a strawberry syrup, but my one layer version with only fresh strawberries fit my goal of a lighter summer dessert. While one might expect mascarpone and heavy cream mixture would be weighty, it’s whipped to a cloud-like texture and applied sparingly. A springform pan is unnecessary as well – the recipe did fine in an ungreased cake pan with circle of parchment on the bottom to prevent sticking.

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