Strawberry Crunch Cake

There’s a dessert that my mom makes – or used to make – back in the days when she had dinner parties that’s called Tortoni. I’m not quite sure how to describe it – it’s a frozen concoction of (I think) eggs, cream, and almonds. She would pour it into a metal pan, and cut it into little squares for presentation. It was always topped with cardinal sauce – which she cooked up with strawberries, raspberries, and I believe a little cornstarch for thickening. Whenever we (meaning my brothers and I) saw her making it, we knew a dinner party was imminent. If we were lucky, there would be leftovers that we could split up amongst the three of us. Ultimately, my middle brother won out because it was his absolute favoritest dessert.

Yes, favoritest. It’s my new word. Don’t judge.

Side note: I tried making Tortoni once a few years ago – in honor of my brother – and my mother took one look at my version of it and said, “What is that and what did you do it”?

Ummmmm, I tried? Some things are best left to the master – and that would be her. 🙂

If you Google the name Tortoni, you will find endless variations of it – my only experience, though, is her version. It’s not something I would go out of my way to make, not because I mangled it the first time, but because Sabrina can’t eat it due to the almonds.

Anyway, where I’m going with this whole story is that this crunch cake reminded me of Tortoni. The filling is light and ethereal – but so hard to describe – refreshing, unique, and oh so delicious. I can’t wait for her (and you too, Dad) to try it.


Note: Since I used Sabrina’s homemade granola bars, I left out the brown sugar, flour and butter. I broke the bars up and toasted them until they were crunchy. I’m not sure even boxed granola bars would require that much sugar, but that’s my opinion….

Strawberry Crunch Cake – adapted from sugar and charm

  • 1 box Nature Valley Granola Bars
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 6 tbs. melted butter
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1  lemon
  • 4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly chopped strawberries

Put the Nature Valley granola bars in a food processor and process until you achieve a course crumb.

In a large bowl, add the crumbs, brown sugar, flour and melted butter and mix together. Then spread onto a baking pan that has been covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool. Then divide in half and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine eggs whites and sugar and mix on high. Add the heavy cream and continue mixing for another five minutes. Add the lemon juice and softened cream cheese. Mix on low speed until incorporated. Fold the fresh strawberries into the cream mixture.
In a buttered glass cake pan, press half of the crumb crust mixture on the bottom. Top with strawberry mix and then add the remaining crumbs to the top. Cover and freeze for three hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before serving.

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