Light Vanilla Cakes with Quick Berry Marmalade
From Café Boulud Cookbook by Daniel Boulud (Simon & Schuster, Scribner, 1998)
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 8 Servings

The recipe for the berry marmalade will make more than you'll need for the vanilla cakes, but it keeps well and is scrumptious stirred into yogurt or spread on toast.


    Berry marmalade:
  • 1 cups strawberries, hulled
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • cup blackberries, halved
  • cup blueberries, halved
  • cup sugar
  • teaspoon powdered pectin
  • moist, plump vanilla bean
  • Grated zest and juice of lime
    Vanilla cakes:
  • cup all-purpose flour
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pulp scraped from moist, plump vanilla bean (scraped as above; reserve the pod for another use, if desired)
  • cup sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For berry marmalade:
Dice cup of the strawberries. Cut cup of the raspberries in half. Gently mix these berries with the blackberries and blueberries, and set aside.

Slice each of the remaining strawberries into 8 to 12 pieces, depending on their size, and toss the slices along with the remaining cup raspberries, the sugar, pectin and lime zest and juice into a medium saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise in half and, using the back of the knife, scrape the pulp out of the pod; toss the pulp and the pod into the pot. Gently stir, then set aside for 5 minutes.

Place the saucepan over low heat and cook, gently stirring occasionally, just until the berries begin to render their juices, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and continue to cook and stir until the raspberries lose their shape and the strawberry slices are soft but still intact, about 8 minutes. Turn the marmalade into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and cool to room temperature.

When the marmalade is cool, remove and discard the vanilla bean and fold in the reserved fresh berries. (The marmalade can be made up to 2 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Use it at room temperature or slightly chilled.)

For vanilla cakes:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the insides of six 2- by 1-inch-high ring molds, 4-ounce disposable aluminum cups, or 4-ounce muffin tins, dust them with flour, and tap out the excess. Place the molds or cups on a baking sheet (line the sheet with parchment if you're using the ring molds) and keep close at hand.

Sift the flour and baking powder together and reserve.

Put the egg whites and vanilla bean pulp in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the whites on low speed until they are broken up and foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue to whip until the whites form soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar and whip until the whites form firm, glossy peaks.

Spoon out a little of the whipped whites into a small bowl and fold the butter into the whites; reserve. Using a large flexible rubber spatula, fold the flour into the whites in two to three additions. When the flour is incorporated, fold in the egg white and butter mixture. Immediately spoon the batter into the prepared molds.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until a knife plunged into the center of the cakes comes out clean. The cakes should be golden brown and springy to the touch, and they should pull away just a bit from the sides of the molds. Lift off the ring molds, or unmold the cakes, and transfer them to a rack to cool to room temperature.

To serve:
For each portion, spoon a circle of marmalade onto the center of a dinner plate. Place a cake on top of the marmalade, then, with a spoon, gently form a shallow hollow in the center of the cake and fill with marmalade.

Wine Pairing
A light, sparkling Moscato d'Asti


Updated: October 2004