You’ll Spring For These Desserts

With more daylight and warmer weather, you may have the energy to bake up a storm. Springtime means fresh ingredients, lots of inspiration and holidays ripe for desserts. Baking and pastry arts students, bust out your flour and eggs and try these seasonal sweets:

Chiffon cake

A light and delicate cake, this treat is a staple every baker eventually makes. More importantly, its texture is perfect for this time of year. It’s made by incorporating a meringue into the other ingredients, giving it that airy texture. However, chiffon differs from angel food in that it has fat in the form of egg yolks and vegetable oil. As it bakes, the top should puff up.

With a simple batter, a chiffon cake invites additional flavors. Alter your recipe by adding layers of seasonal strawberries. For more zesty flavors, choose orange or lime, which are also both in season this time of year.

Fruit tarts

Another light treat featuring fresh produce, fruit tarts are both delicious and visually striking – not to mention they give you the chance to practice your short crust. In the non-laminated pastry, you’ll need to cut butter into your dough. However, the trick is to ensure it doesn’t melt. Keeping your butter cool as the temperatures increase over spring can be tricky. As for the filling, balance your pastry cream with your fruit choices. Strawberries are a classic, but mangoes and honeydew are also in season. Make your tart a show-stopper by carefully slicing and arranging your produce for a picture-perfect effect.

Fruit tart on black and white background.Fruit tarts let you practice your pastry and enjoy refreshing fruits.

Carrot cake

Excited to start gardening? Bring your produce inside by making carrot cake. This well-loved treat can be tricky, as it requires you to evenly disperse fruit and nuts (try adding spring apricots for a twist) without letting them sink to the bottom of your pan. What’s more, the perfect cream-cheese frosting should be a balance between the dairy tang and sugar sweetness. Finally, bake each cake so they’re identical – this will help you achieve distinct layers in your final presentation.

Meringue cake

If you had fun with the meringue in your chiffon cake, why not make it the star of your pastry endeavors? Meringue cake features alternating layers of meringue, cream and, sometimes, fruit. Each layer must be level to prevent a sagging cake. This includes evenly dispersing your meringue before baking and carefully spreading your cream. Cutting a finished cake can be somewhat tricky, as meringue tends to break. Instead of leaving it room temperature, freeze your cake and use a serrated knife. As with other desserts, wait until your baked meringue is cooled before adding cream and accouterment. Lemons and strawberries are classic fruit additions, as they add a balancing tartness. However, if you want something a little stronger to finish out the remaining cool days, go for chocolate and nut flavors.

Eclairs

With two layers of choux pastry wrapped around cream, simple eclairs are a baking staple that you can elevate this spring. Mix spring fruit like strawberry and rhubarb to create a sweet and tart filling that will pair well with the delicate dessert. Choux requires you to heat milk and pipe the batter evenly – great skills to practice.

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