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Strawberry Cake for My Sister’s Birthday

Posted By Alina On June 7, 2010 @ 18:35 In Pastry | 13 Comments

My sister turned 21 on Saturday. Isn’t this a lovely age? I remember I graduated from University at 21 and went to Denmark for an internship. There I met all my new colleagues, while back home I had my wonderful family, my fun-loving classmates, and friends from University. Plus I had 30 penpals all around the world – from Lithuania to Indonesia. That’s so many people to love and admire! It felt absolutely like the whole world was in front of me… 21 - that’s when you’re a grown-up and yet very young, and your own achievements are making you proud and happy, and if anything ever goes wrong, there’s always another chance. I think 21 is one of the very best ages ever!

Of course a lovely occasion like my sister’s 21st birthday required something super-lovely for dessert. Something sweet, festive, and fluffy. Something like whipped cream and fresh aromatic berries between layers of a light and sweet sponge cake. Something that would smell of freshness and summer and would be candy to the eye, and would make that tiny “shhhhh” sound when you cut it with a knife, because it’s airy and fluffy like a cloud.

We thought all this pointed clearly to a strawberry&whipped cream cake glazed with strawberry jelly and decorated with fresh lemon balm.

The whole concept of this cake belongs to my Mom. I mean, I know this is not the first strawberry cake in the world, we just didn’t stick to any particular recipe – just our intuition and inspiration. We made a pretty huge cake (28 cm in diameter), because you see, we had guests. I’m quite sure that half as large would be enough for a normal dessert. This strawberry cake somehow reminded me of that gigantic Walnut Meringue and Chocolate Mousse Cake [1] we made for New Year’s. When you make huge cakes like that one, at some point they start to live their own life – asking a pinch of this and a bit of that, more sugar here and less cream there, needing to be constantly under control, finally making you worry through the night – how will the frosting come out?! Haven’t you noticed this with your large cooking projects?..

Glazed Strawberry and Whipped Cream Sponge Cake

- Sponge Cake:
10 eggs, yolks and whites separated
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
¼ cup cold water
- Whipped cream:
1 l heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 packs whipping cream stabilizer
2 tsp vanilla sugar
- Strawberry filling and topping:
1kg strawberries, hulled
1 cup sugar
18-20 leaves fresh Lemon balm
- Jelly topping:
200-300g strawberries, hulled
Juice of ¼ lemon
500ml + 100ml water
15g gelatin
½ cup sugar

Makes a cake 28cm in diameter


-Making the sponge cake:

Blend egg yolks with sugar until pale and fluffy. Add flour and water, stir well.

Whisk egg whites and add them to the batter, stirring very gently.

Bake the sponge cake in a springform pan on a low heat for about 1 hour. Leave to cool when ready.

Cut the sponge cake into three layers. This is probably the hardest part, but even if your layers aren’t perfect, you’ll be able to compensate the imperfections later with whipped cream.

-Making the filling:

Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla sugar, and whisk until firm peaks form. Add stabilizer while whisking (according to manufacturer’s instructions). Divide whipped cream roughly into 5 parts.

Cut one third of the strawberries (that is about 300g) into neat slices and set aside. These we’re going to use for cake decoration.

Slice the remaining strawberries, add sugar and stir gently. Keep stirring until sugar starts to dissolve. Drain any excess liquid.

Assemble the cake in the following order: sponge-cream-strawberries-cream-sponge-cream-strawberries-cream-sponge-cream.

Arrange sliced strawberries (the 1/3 we reserved for decoration) in circles on top of the cake, pressing them gently into the whipped cream. Add leaves of lemon balm.

-Making the jelly glaze:

Puree the strawberries. Add 500ml hot, but not boiling water, stir well and put through a sieve. Add sugar and lemon juice to the hot strawberry cordial. Measure exactly 500ml cordial – that’s what you’ll need for the jelly.

Combine gelatin and 100ml cold water, wait for about 5 minutes and stir into your strawberry cordial. Heat the mixture on a low heat (do not bring to a boil!), stirring continuously until gelatin dissolves completely. Leave to cool.

Put the springform pan onto your cake so that the cake’s top part is enclosed in the pan (to prevent the jelly from leaking) and pour gelatin mix over your strawberry topping.

Refrigerate for about an hour.

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[1] Walnut Meringue and Chocolate Mousse Cake: http://www.russianseason.net/index.php/2010/01/new-year’s-walnut-meringue-chocolate-mousse-cake-with-drunken-plums/

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