A snack cake, also often called a snacking cake, is probably my favorite type of cake. It is the kind of cake that you make for yourself, not to be shared with anyone outside your household. It’s meant to be eaten as a snack, without any fuss (or for breakfast.) My ideal snack cake is easy to make: one layer, baked in an 8 X 8 inch pan. It should be dense rather than fluffy, and decorated with a simple frosting or topping.
Notes on Ingredients
All-Purpose Flour – I used unsifted all-purpose flour to make a denser cake. If you would like a fluffier cake, substitute cake flour.
Oil – Use an oil that has a very light taste. My favorite oil to use when baking is sunflower seed oil. Oil has less flavor than butter, but since this cake needs to be stored in the refrigerator, I used oil in this cake. Oil solidifies much less than butter when refrigerated, so it will help the cake keep a softer texture for a longer time.
Egg Whites – You can substitute 2 whole eggs if you don’t like to only use the whites. You can use leftover egg yolks in lemon curd, pudding or pastry creme, to thicken sauces like bernaise and hollandaise, or to make pasta. Some cookie recipes also call for yolks only.
Fresh Strawberries – Using fresh strawberries in this cake will give it the best flavor. You can substitute frozen strawberries in the cake, but fresh strawberries will look and taste much better in the topping.
Notes on Technique
- I wanted this cake to be a little dense, so I didn’t sift the flour. If you prefer fluffier cakes, using cake flour or sifting the flour will help to lighten the cake.
- If you want the cake to cool faster, line the pan with parchment paper. After taking it out of the oven, let it cool for 5 minutes. Then, holding onto the edges of the parchment, lift the cake out of the pan and transfer it to a wire rack.
- To ensure that the topping is very fluffy, and that it has no lumps, you will need to whip the heavy cream and the cream cheese in separate bowls, and then combine them. If you whip the cream first, you can move on to the cream cheese without washing the beaters. If you whip the cream second, however, any cream cheese on the beaters may prevent the heavy cream from whipping properly.
- The topping will turn out fluffier if you add the whipped cream to the cream cheese, rather than the other way around. Make sure to fold only until the whipped cream is fully incorporated, meaning there are no longer any visible clumps of whipped cream. Continuing to stir after this point will make the topping thinner and less fluffy.
Strawberries and Cream Snack Cake
For the Cake:
- 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (225 g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup sugar (150 g)
- 1/3 cup oil (80 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 cup milk (120 ml)
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced (170 g)
For the Topping:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (180 ml)
- 6 ounces cream cheese (170 g)
- 3/4 cup confectioner's sugar (90 g)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 10-12 fresh strawberries, halved
Make the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C) and line an 8 X 8 inch (20 cm) baking pan with parchement paper or spray with baking spray. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, vanilla, and egg whites for about 1-2 minutes, until the ingredients are fully combined and the mixture looks a little foamy. Whisk in the milk. Next, add the flour and whisk gently, until nearly all of the flour is mixed in. Add the strawberry slices and switch to a spoon, continuing to fold the batter gently until all of the flour and strawberries are mixed in.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F (180° C) for about 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when touched. Allow the cake to cool for about 1 hour before adding the topping.
Make the Topping:
- In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, whip the heavy cream on medium speed until it forms peaks of medium stiffness. In a separate large bowl, with the electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until it becomes fluffy.
- To the cream cheese, add the confectioner's sugar, salt, and vanilla, and mix until all ingredients are well combined. Add half of the whipped cream to the cream cheese and fold it in gently with a rubber spatula. Add the remaining whipped cream and continue to fold carefuly, stopping as soon as the whipped cream is incorporated.
- Spread the topping over the cake and decorate with the halved strawberries. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.