March 31, 2019 02:20 PM
This strawberry shortcake includes a sponge cake base, white
chocolate chantilly, and popping strawberry spheres. It is sure to
impress your guests!
This recipe involves sodium alginate and calcium chloride, two
food-safe compounds that help form the popping spheres. Mine came
with a molecular gastronomy kit, but they can also be purchased
online or in specialty food stores.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
(Makes 3 servings)
For alginate bath:
2 cups of water
5g of sodium alginate
For strawberry puree:
1 1/2 cups of strawberries
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp of sugar plus more to taste
1/2 tsp calcium chloride
For microwave sponge cake:
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp milk
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter, melted
For white chocolate whipped cream:
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp melted white chocolate
1 tbsp powdered sugar, plus more to taste
Step 2: A Bit of a Scientific Explanation
The spherification technique used here can be used in a wide variety
of savory and sweet applications, not just strawberry puree. This
recipe is intended to be an introduction to the technique so it can also
be used in later recipes.
How does it work?
Sodium alginate is a gelling agent derived in various types of algae.
When it comes in contact with certain ions, such as calcium, it forms a
cross-linked gel polymer. Because the strawberry puree contains
calcium chloride, when the mixture is submerged in the alginate
solution, the alginate reacts with the surface of the puree and forms a
thin membrane. This gel membrane surrounds the still-liquid puree,
which causes the popping sensation when the membrane is broken.
Step 3: Puree Strawberries
Using a blender or hand blender, puree the strawberries, sugar,
vanilla, and calcium chloride until completely smooth.
Step 4: Mold and Freeze Strawberries
Pour the puree into an ice cube tray, preferably one with round
sections. These don't have to be exactly spherical, though, because
once melted, the final spheres will take on a more rounded shape.
Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
While some recipes do not use this extra molding and freezing step, I
find that it makes the spherification process much easier. The cube
tray ensures that the spheres are each a uniform shape, and the puree
is easier to work with as a solid.
Step 5: Prepare Alginate Bath
Using a blender, food processor, or hand blender, mix the alginate and
water until completely dispersed. The liquid will look cloudy and
bubbly at first, so place in fridge to chill for at least 20 minutes to let it
Step 6: Make Sponge Cake Base
For small disks, I find a microwave mug cake to be the fastest and
easiest way to make the base. This is my favorite recipe, adapted
In a mug, whisk together the dry ingredients, then add milk, vanilla,
and butter until there are no more lumps.
Microwave on high for two minutes.
One cooled, remove from the mug and carefully divide into three
disks. These will be covered with whipped cream later, so don't worry
if they look uneven.
Step 7: Make White Chocolate Chantilly
In a cold bowl, whisk together the cream, vanilla, and sugar until the
mixture begins to thicken and resemble whipped cream. Then,
carefully stir in white chocolate.
Step 8: Spherify Strawberries
Prepare the alginate bath and a bowl of water for rinsing.
Unmold frozen strawberry cubes and let thaw slightly. Using a spoon,
lower each cube into the sodium alginate solution. Make sure they are
not able to touch each other to prevent clumping. After about ten
seconds, carefully remove each one from the solution and rinse in the
The longer they are in the alginate solution, the more durable the
spheres will be, but they will have a thicker membrane, which makes
them less juicy/poppable.
Step 9: Assemble and Serve
Spread the whipped cream onto each of the cake discs and place
strawberry spheres on the top or on the sides
Updated: March 31, 2019 02:20 PM
Created: March 31, 2019 10:23 AM
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