This last week we celebrated Festa delle Donne-International Women’s Day, and I didn’t make these Tortine Soffice-Whipped Cream Mini Cakes for any ladies that I know. They were made just because.
Just because my kids want a little snack after school and besides my usual something fast and easy with ripe bananas or apples, I decided to go a little different. Let’s face it, my kids never turn down freshly whipped cream. I really don’t know anyone that turns it down!
In Italy, merenda time is such an important part of the day. The merenda is the snack that you have in between your very large lunch in the afternoon and the dinner that usually happens very late in the evening. In the summertime, dinner sometimes happens around 9PM. If I’m home and back on my schedule, that’s when I’d like everyone to be already asleep (even in the summertime). So that in between lunch and dinner time is when everyone has some sort of a merenda. Usually it’s something savory. Occasionally my mother-in-law will have a freshly baked cake or sweet and the kids will enjoy a little bit of that.
But most of the times, the merenda is some fabulous bread that Teresa just baked and some freshly sliced mortadella or prosciutto (crudo or cotto)and that will hold off the gang until dinner is finally ready. When we first get back to Italy in the summer time, it takes a week or so for my stomach to adjust to the new schedule again. I normally don’t eat quite a large meal when I’m alone at home. And I really don’t ever eat right before bed. But you get used to it and you walk so much more than you do back at home, so it all works out.
Some notes on the recipe:
This cake was something I put together pretty quickly with ingredients I had here and it was decadent enough with the whipped cream for the kids to think we were celebrating something. Make your own whipped cream. It takes minutes to do and there is nothing strange added to it. You could flavor the whipped cream as you like it. I only added a touch of vanilla, but you could add more if you like a stronger flavor.
TORTINE SOFFICI-WHIPPED CREAM MINI CAKES
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- for the whipped cream:
- pint of heavy whipping cream I used organic
- 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour (or spray with baking spray) a rectangular cake pan (I used a 9x13).
- Beat the eggs all at one time with the sugar on high speed until it is nice and frothy. Beat in the vanilla.
- Beat in the sifted flour on medium speed in small doses.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake the Pan di Spagna for 30 to 40 minutes, until it is well risen and feels firm when pressed gently with the palm of the hand. Use a skewer to make sure the center is no longer wet if you have doubts about it not being ready.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the whipped cream.
- Chill a medium sized metal bowl in the freezer. Remove bowl from the freezer and add the heavy whipping cream to the bowl. Using a hand mixer on high speed, whip the cream until soft peaks begin to form; gradually add in the 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. Continue to beat the whipped cream until it is thick and velvety. (about 1-2 minutes). Don’t over beat or you will have butter. Keep in the refrigerator while the cake is baking.
- Check the cake after the first 20 minutes of baking to make sure it isn't getting too brown. Every oven is different. If needed, lower the temperature to 325 for the rest of the baking time. Let the cake cool on a rack. When the cake is cooled, cut the cake in half and spread the freshly whipped cream onto one layer. Top with the next layer. Carefully cut into the individual pieces and with dust confectioner’s sugar on top.