Strawberry Ladyfinger Cake
From Dessert Circus at Home by Jacques Torres
William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1999
Adapted by StarChefs

Pastry Chef Jacques Torres


March 2003

Philosophy on cooking:
Never work in a place where people don't use the best ingredients. Always work with a good chef, someone who can give you direction, inspiration and can set an example. You need to work with a leader — a person who will teach you how. The restaurant has to use good ingredients. You can become a good chef if you work in a place that provides you with excellent ingredients and good equipment. Don't settle for what you think is not the best place.

Formerly of:
Le Cirque 2000, Ritz-Carlton New York

- Recipient of gold medal of the Japanese Pastry Chef Association

- Winner of the 1986 Meilleur Ouvrier de France Pâtissier

- 1994 James Beard Foundation Pastry Chef of the Year Award

- Chefs of America Pastry Chef of the Year Award

Tools you can't live without:
- Kitchen Aid standing mixer
- Convection oven
- Commercial grade blender
- Electronic scale (I take my scale everywhere!)

Favorite ingredients:
Chocolate and all kinds of fruit-you can play around with these two ingredients and develop anything. Then there are flour, sugar, eggs and butter. These four ingredients really form the base for a lot of desserts.

Three tips for dessert success:
1. Before you start the recipe, read it through 2-3 times so you understand the steps and why you are doing them.

2. Be sure you have all ingredients on hand and the best ingredients you can afford.

3. Pastry is something you plan in advance and have to think about. It's like building. It will take some time to make the dessert. You have to plan for this time. This is a commitment. Allow yourself the entire afternoon to bake so you can do it right.

Store info:
Jacques Torres Chocolate
66 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tel. (718) 875-9772
Fax. (718) 875-2167
More on J. Torres

Strawberry Ladyfinger Cake from Dessert Circus at Home by J. Torres
On 8-inch cake; 8 to 10 servings

    Chocolate Ladyfingers
  • cup plus 2 Tablespoons cake flour
  • cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 large egg whites
  • cup sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks, beaten
  • cup powdered sugar
    Strawberry Bavarian
  • 2 cups fresh large strawberries
  • 1 cups heavy cream
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 3 sheets gelatin or 1 envelope powdered
  • cup Strawberry flavored vodka or water


For the Chocolate Ladyfingers:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sift the flour and cocoa powder in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl and whip with an electric mixer set on medium speed until foamy. Add the granulated sugar slowly. Increase the mixer speed o medium-high and whip to stiff but not dry peaks, about 5 minutes.

Very gently fold the egg yolks into the whipped egg whites with a rubber spatula until they are partially incorporated. Carefully fold the sifted mixture into the egg mixture. It is important to fold as gently as possible to avoid deflating the batter.

Place the batter in a pastry bag fitted with a " plain tip. Pipe evenly shaped ladyfingers about 2 " long on a parchment paper-covered baking sheet. Space them about " apart to allow them room to spread as they bake.

Bake the ladyfingers until light and evenly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the sheet from the oven and immediately remove them to a wire rack to prevent heat of the pan from continuing to bake the ladyfingers. Set them aside until ready to use. When cooled, the lady fingers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, or in the freezer, well wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 2 weeks.

For the Strawberry Bavarian:

Clean and hull the strawberries and place them in a large container. Use a hand-immersion blender, food processor, or blender to puree the strawberries until smooth. Reserve.

Place the heavy cream and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whip to soft peaks with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed. Refrigerate until use.

If you are using gelatin sheets, place them in a medium size bowl with enough cold water to cover them. Let stand for about 5 minutes to allow the gelatin to soften and hydrate. Remove the gelatin leaves and squeeze out the excess water. If you are using gelatin powder, sprinkle it over cup of cold water.

Place the hydrated gelatin and the strawberry vodka (or water) in a 1-quart, heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat until the gelatin dissolves. Pour it into the cold strawberry puree and mix immediately. Carefully fold the puree mixture into the whipped cream with a rubber spatula.

To assemble:

Place an 8" cake pan on a parchment covered baking sheet. Place the ladyfingers, flat side in, around the inside of the cake ring. Press them tightly next to one another, but do not overlap. Cover the bottom of the cake ring with some of the remaining ladyfingers. Gently press down to make an even layer.

Fill the cake ring halfway with the strawberry Bavarian cream. Add another layer of ladyfingers, covering the Bavarian as completely as possible. Press down gently. Soak this layer with the remaining flavored simple syrup. Fill the cake mold to the top with the remaining Bavarian. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for several hours to set the Bavarian. Unmold the cake by simply lifting off the cake ring. Decorate the top with some strawberries and ladyfingers. Serve.