Ugh. I was so pissed off with myself yesterday. I was all set on making this loaf, and had all the necessary ingredients for it. I made the batter, and that’s where the first slip up happened. Instead of keeping the batter plain vanilla and then adding espresso and cocoa to the other half of the batter to get the marbled look, I added cocoa to the plain vanilla batter, and as a result spoiling the marble effect that the end loaf would have. Realizing my mistake, I let the batter be a little cocoa-ish and still divided the batter and added the espresso water to the other half. I managed to get a slight marble effect even if it wasn’t as distinct. The second slip up happened when, while baking I decided to check on the loaf. Since I was working with a new oven and my mom thought that the cake looked done, I took it out much before its baking time, and somehow managed to let the pan slip and fall on the ground batter side down (Murphy’s law at its best). I did scoop up the batter that was not touching the ground and baked it again. Of course the results are not spectacular. Or even close. I did add the glaze and somehow it is still edible. But the disaster has left me extremely irritated with my clumsy self. :(

Anyway. Coming to the recipe I am sharing today.

January 12th was my mom’s birthday. A woman who without a doubt is one of the nicest persons I know. And I do not say that because she is my mom. I know a lot of people who can vouch for her goodness. Committed to a fault to her work, even though she doesn’t get paid for it- it’s all volunteer work. Always there with a smile on her face. Amazing cook. Impeccable taste in interior decorating. Extremely creative and hard working. She is definitely the best in all that she does. And I love her a lot.

So of course for this special lady I had to make a cake on her birthday. On being asked, my mom requested for a fruit based cake and I decided that is what she will get.

I narrowed on a sponge layered cake with a strawberry filling. For the sponge cake I used a recipe from allrecipes.com, which had a high rating. Taking the advice of reviewers, I used almond extract and lemon juice in the recipe.

For the filling, I made homemade mascarpone cheese (since you don’t get commercially made here in Allahabad) and used it to make a cream filling based on the recipe here. In it I mixed some roasted strawberries, the recipe for which I adapted from here. Instead of using balsamic vinegar, I used wine and champagne oil that I had got from $250 chocoley Daring Bakers’ win.

What can I say about the cake. My mom loved it and devoured it and that should have been enough for me. And it was, but so did my dad love the cake. And the people who came over to wish my mom on her birthday shared the same opinion. It’s a light, moist cake with a light frosting and filling and a great strawberry taste. I would suggest making a double batch of the roasted strawberries because they are so good on their own that you might just eat the first batch, without leaving any for the filling. the champagne flavored oil gives the cake a celebratory feel- not that it needs it, it’s quite special on its own, but the champagne oil takes it up a notch.

To divide the work, I made the cake a day before and, nicely wrapped, let it sit in the refrigerator. I find that when the cake is a little cold, it’s easier to slice it into layers, as opposed to when it is at room temperature. I also made the mascarpone cheese a day before and let it strain for 24 hours. The strawberries too were roasted and kept in the refrigerator a day before. The day of my mom’s birthday I made the filling and frosting, assembled the cake and made the chocolate decorations. And still had enough time to go for a movie with my mom.

To make the chocolate decorations I used a design template. To make the template that I drew the desired design on an A4 sheet and placed it under parchment paper. I melted some chocolate, added a tsp of oil and transferred the melted chocolate to a piping bag. I piped the design on to the parchment paper, shifting the template underneath to make more decorations of the same pattern. Then I let the parchment paper sit in the refrigerator for a few minutes. After a few minutes the chocolate had set and the decorations could be removed easily from the paper and put on the cake.

Glorious Sponge Cake with Champagne Roasted Strawberry Whipped Cream
 
Recipe type: celebration cakes, birthday cakes, layer cakes, cake, baking, dessert
Ingredients
For the Cake (adapted from allrecipes.com)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar ( I used a little less because I find the sugar in India slightly sweeter)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup cake flour (I used all purpose flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
For the filling and frosting (adapted from chow.com)
  • 8 ounce mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup icing sugar
Lime sugar syrup
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • juice of 1 lime
For the roasted strawberries:
  • 450-500 gm strawberries, quartered
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1½ tbsp white wine
  • few drops of champagne flavored oil (optional)
To make home made mascarpone cheese:
  • 1 ltr cream ( I used 25% fat cream)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime/lemon juice
Instructions
For the Roasted Strawberries
  1. Place the strawberries in a glass baking dish.
  2. Sprinkle over the vanilla sugar, followed by the white wine and champagne flavored oil. Mix gently.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-40 minutes. Allow to cool. Resist to finish the whole thing off.
  4. Drain strawberries. Put the liquid into a sauce pan, and reduce to a thick concentrate. It will thicken a bit as it cools. Chill before use.
For the Mascarpone cheese
  1. Heat the cream over a waterbath/double boiler until it reaches 180ºF/82ºC
  2. Stir in the lime/lemon juice and keep at this temperature for a few moments longer until it starts to thicken.
  3. Remove from heat, cover, and let sit at room temperature until it is cooled down a bit.
  4. Refrigerate over night. The next day it will have thickened further.
  5. Pour it in a strainer lined with multiple layers of cheesecloth or clean towel. Refrigerate for about 24 hours to let the whey drain.
For the cake:
  1. Separate the eggs. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until very thick and lemon colored. Beat in sugar gradually. Add water, lemon juice and almond extract. Beat in flour.
  2. In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add ½ tsp of lemon juice and salt. Beat mixture until whites are stiff, but not until they are dry. Fold this whipped mixture into yolk mixture.
  3. Pour batter into an ungreased 9 inch tube pan. I used an 8 inch pan and a 6 inch pan since I was planning to make a 4 layer 6 inch cake. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for one hour, or until done.
Make the lime sugar syrup:
  1. Boil the sugar and water for 5 minutes till the sugar dissolves. Add lime juice. let cool.
Assembly:
  1. Beat the mascarpone cheese with powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla extract until smooth. Taste and adjust sugar if required.
  2. Whip the cream to soft peaks, and fold into the whipped quark cheese.
  3. Add the roasted balsamic strawberries {reserving ¼ cup for topping}, and gently fold in to mix through.
  4. Split the sponges horizontally to make 4 layers.
  5. On the plate you plan to serve the cake on, put the first layer of sponge on it. I always slide strips of parchment on the plate so that any extra frosting that leaves the cake does not touch the plate, giving a neat final presentation. Brush the sponge with the lime sugar syrup.
  6. Pour ¼ of the whipped frosting with mascarpone strawberry filling on the bottom layer. (If you like more frosting to cake ratio, you could use the entire filling in between the layers and for the top, frost with plain whipped cream. But since I am an average frosting to cake ratio, I did not whip any more cream and just used the filling to frost the top as well.)
  7. Sandwich with the second sponge layer. Brush the second layer with lime sugar syrup and repeat layering.
  8. Top with remaining ¼ cup roasted strawberries. You can lace the borders with chocolate decorations. Let chill for 2 hours for the cake to set.

3 Thoughts on “Glorious Sponge Cake with Champagne Roasted Strawberry Whipped Cream

  1. Stephanie on 17 January, 2013 at 12:24 pm said:

    For Step 2 of prepping the mascarpone cheese, how much lemon/lime juice do you use?

  2. this looks over the top of tops and soo gorgeously extravagant..happy birthday to your mom !!

    and what a beautiful attempt to get her smiling , Shumaila :)
    sulagna recently posted..History RepeatsMy Profile

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