People always say "Make hay while the sun shines", in my case a more appropriate saying would be "bake cake before the sun sets" (so that my photos won't be dull and dreary), or "bake cake before the baby cries". :)
It's a struggle to bake cake nowadays with a 2 month-old baby wailing every few minutes for feeding, for burping, for nappy change, and for lack of company. She doesn't allow me to leave her for a single second, not even to go to the toilet, seriously. If I disappear just 1 metre outside her radar, the alarm will go off, wahhhhh, and she will cry as if there is no tomorrow. :S
Anyway, yesterday was a relatively quiet day for me, my little princess was snoring, so I assumed that she wouldn't wake up so easily and I thought of baking a special cake, one that I have never done before. Now this is my maiden attempt at baking a mousse cake and also my very first strawberry cake. So two double firsts. I was on my way to Delhaize for my annual stockup on cheap orchids. I saw strawberries on discount there so I bought half a kilo at 1.99 euro. What a steal! Later I realised that there was a newspaper promotion for strawberries at Delhaize, one pack of 500g cost 1.50 euro each if you buy at least 2 packs. Being the "kiasu" Singaporean, I was itching to go back and grab a few kilos but then I realised that strawberries don't keep very well. So let me first finish up these strawberries, and see how it goes. :)
Here is my berry easy strawberry mousse cake, not too bad, isn't it? I left it in the fridge overnight as the sun had already set and I could only take pictures the next day (now you know why I only bake while the sun shines). But actually it only requires 3-4 hours in the fridge for the mousse to set.
The sponge cake recipe is from Alex Goh's Baking Code and the strawberry mousse recipe is from Aunty Yochana's blog. Adaptations have been made to suit a 8 inch round cake pan.
This sponge cake recipe uses 5 egg yolks and 5 egg whites and is originally intended for a 23 cm (9 inch) round cake pan. But I used a 20 cm (8 inch) round cake pan instead to achieve a higher height. This is a very good sponge cake recipe, a fail-proof and a very forgiving one. I don't say that without a reason. You know what, I actually forgot to add in the flour before adding in the corn oil, when the baby started crying all of a sudden. It was only when the sponge cake was already in the oven for 2 minutes, that I turned my back and saw the bowl of flour sitting pretty on the table. Luckily I managed to salvage the cake in time. I quickly took the batter out of the cake pan, pour it into a mixing bowl, fold in the flour, pour it back into the cake pan and put it back into the oven. Phew!!!
So here is the adapted recipe:
ALEX GOH SPONGE CAKE RECIPE
5 egg yolks + 20g sugar + 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
5 egg whites
60g corn oil
1. Using a cake-mixer, whip ingredients A (egg yolks, sugar and vanilla essence) until light and fluffy.
2. Using a cake-mixer, whip ingredients B (egg whites) until soft peak. Add in ingredients C (120g sugar) and continue whipping until stiff peak.
3. Mix the egg-white mixture with the egg-yolk mixture until well-blended. You should scoop 1/3 of the egg-white mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, mix it gently using a spatula, then pour the combined batter into the rest of the egg-white mixture and mix it well.
4. Using a spatula, fold in ingredients D (flour) , mix well until well-combined. Add in ingredients E (corn oil) and use a spatula to mix until well-incorporated.
5. Pour it into a greased and lined round mould (8 inch springform).
6. Bake at 180 degrees celsius for about 30 min. Remove the cake and quickly invert it on a cooling rack to let it cool. Then use a sharp serrate knife to loosen the sides and unmould the cake.
STRAWBERRY MOUSSE RECIPE
The original recipe is meant for a 9-inch round cake pan but I have reduced the ingredients proportionately by 3/4 to suit a 8-inch round cake pan.
300ml whipping cream (whipped using cake-mixer)
280 to 300g fresh strawberry puree (blended in a food blender)
90g fine sugar
**4 tsp gelatine powder mixed with 70g water
1. If you buy 500g of strawberries, you should use 300g to be blended into puree and set aside 200g for decoration later.
2. Add strawberry puree and sugar into a saucepan and warm it over low heat to melt the sugar. Add in the gelatine solution and mix it well. Remove from heat and allow to cool before adding the whipped cream (otherwise the whipped cream will melt in the next step).
3. Fold in the whipped cream using a spatula and divide the strawberry mousse into 2 portions.
**Note that according to the instructions of the gelatine powder, we should use 3 tsp of gelatine powder for every 500ml of liquid to be set.
HOW TO ASSEMBLE THE CAKE STEP BY STEP
1. First cut the sponge cake into 2 layers using a sharp serrated knife. Place the bottom layer of the sponge cake into a cake ring or the springform cake pan that you used to bake the cake (must be cleaned and greased with oil). Cut strawberries into halves and arrange them side by side around the sides of the cake pan.
2. Pour in the first 1/2 of the strawberry mousse and level the surface using a spatula. Make sure the sides of the cake are also filled with the mousse.
3. Place the top layer of the sponge cake on top of the mousse layer.
4. Pour in the second 1/2 of the strawberry mousse and again level the surface using a spatula.
5. Leave the finished cake in the fridge for about 3 to 4 hours to allow the mousse to set. Tie any itchy hands with a rope and DO NOT touch the cake until the mousse layer is firm!!!
6. Once the mousse is set, remove from the fridge and use a sharp serrated knife to run through and loosen the sides of the cake pan, then slowly (and steadily) open the springform or the cake ring.
I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #18: Layers of Love (April 2012), hosted by Sam of Sweet Samsations.