We found this beautiful place you can rent with a pastoral view, a pool and a hot tub - perfect for a surprise birthday weekend. My father told her he was taking her for a romantic weekend alone, little did she know that we would be waiting for her. We hung up a lot of balloons, I made loads of food and sweets and the minute she walked through the door we jumped at her with the traditional "SURPRISE!!". She couldn't stop hugging us.
However, this wasn't what made the weekend so wonderful ! A little after we got there SNOW started falling. Never before in my life have I seen snow falling. It was so exciting !! So we did what you should do when snow is falling - you go outside!
|Trying to catch snow flakes|
|A sweet and excited dog we came across. Here I realize in terror that she is about to make holes in my scarf!|
This is the kind of occasion that calls for a fancy cake. I wanted something white with strawberries (because they're everywhere now and I love them). So I came up with this white chocolate cream and strawberries cake. Aside from white chocolate, the cream also has a little bit of instant pudding, just to keep the pretty decorations standing nicely (No buttercream, thank you).
In this recipe I used a 20 cm diameter and 10 cm high cake mold. If you don't own a similar mold you can use a 24 cm diameter cake mold and only make one layer of strawberries (you will need to adjust strawberries and cream quantities as well). Make sure you read the entire recipe before making it for the first time.
Strawberries n White Chocolate Cake
5 eggs (L), separated
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 bag of baking powder (10g)
1 tbsp canola oil
500 g fresh strawberries + a few gorgeous ones for decoration
2 tbsp granulated sugar
600 g heavy cream
450 g white chocolate
45 g vanilla flavored instant pudding powder
Prepare the base for the cream a few hours, or even a day before you want to bake the cake. It has to be very cold for it to be successfully whipped into a delicious cream. Chop the white chocolate into very small pieces and place in a large bowl. Heat the heavy cream over medium heat, taking care to stir once in a while to prevent a skin from forming, until it is slightly boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand for 5 minutes. Stir thoroughly so that all the chocolate is completely melted and incorporated in the cream. Let it cool a little before placing it in the fridge to cool completely.
For the cake, Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Break the egg yolks a little with a fork and stir in the oil. In a separate bowl, sift the flour and mix in the baking powder. Whip the egg whites while slowly incorporating 2/3 of a cup of sugar inside, till firm peaks form (when you turn the whisk upside down, the peaks hold firmly but the very tips fold back on themselves).
Gently fold the egg yolks and flour into the egg white foam, until the mixture is fairly uniform. Transfer to a 20 cm diameter and 10 cm high cake mold. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let it cool completely.
Clean 200g of strawberries and cut them into small pieces. Cook them in a pan with 2 tbsp of sugar on medium heat. Cook them for about 10-15 minutes, meshing the fruit as you go alone. You need it to thicken a little, but not too much, so the texture is that of a thin jam. Cover the pan and let it cool. Clean the rest of the strawberries and cut into small pieces. Cut the cooled cake into 3 layers, I used a bread knife to do this.
Now you need to work efficiently as the chocolate cream sets quite fast because of the pudding. The cream mixture should be very cold by now. Incorporate 30g of instant pudding powder into 2/3 of the mixture (keep the rest in the fridge) and whip together to a firm, yet soft, cream. Divide the cream in two portions.
Assemble the cake: moisten the bottom layer of cake with half of the strawberry "jam", on top of this arrange half of the cut strawberries in a thin, uniform layer (see pictures above). Take one portion of the cream and divide it again in two, spreading one of the halves on top of the strawberries. Place the second layer of cake on the cream. Repeat the "jam", strawberries and cream layers and finally, lay the upper layer of cake on top. Use the second portion of cream to completely cover the cake.
Decorate: Now mix the remaining 1/3 of cream mixture (you have kept in the fridge) with 15g of instant pudding and whip to a firm cream. Use a closed star decorating tip to make large roses on the sides of the cake (this tutorial really helped me), and tiny stars on its top edge.
(Why not whip this with the rest of the cream before? Because, if you're a perfectionist like me, the cream will have set by the time you get to decorate, especially in cold weather).
It is good right after you finish making it but even better the day after, when it has absorbed some moisture.