Lemon Strawberry Cake

If you are lazing around with too much free time and looking for a nice gift for someone. You may want to consider a making a cake. Now, I always buy cakes and send them but that’s the upside of working at Bake Me A Wish. For those of you who want to spend time making cake, though, may I suggest this Lemon Strawberry Cake.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Lemon Strawberry Cake

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Finally, here’s the cake I promised you a few weeks ago! I made it for yet another birthday party, this one for Titus and his little friends that we’ve been hanging out with all year. It was a big hit – it’s really a crowd-pleaser and perfect on a warm summer day.

It’s not difficult, but sure, it does have a few steps. You can make it several days in advance and keep it in the freezer. Thaw it in the fridge before serving – to fully thaw it takes at least 4-5 hours, but it’s delicious slightly frozen as well. Decorate with fresh strawberries just before serving.

You need two cake pans. One to bake the cake layers (they are by the way wonderful – so simple, so tasty, and really easy to cut into layers), that’s about 24 cm in diameter, and one slightly bigger springform pan. Mine is 26 cm. That one also needs to be lined with sturdy plastic strips. (I use plastic sheets meant for overhead presentations – remember those, before Powerpoint came along? – and cut the in half.)

Lemon Strawberry Cake

Basic Cake Layers
4 eggs
375 ml sugar (1 1/2 cup)
400 ml flour (1 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp + 1 tsp)
2,5 tsp baking powder
120 ml boiling water (just under 1/2 cup)

Beat eggs and sugar until very fluffy. Fold together flour and baking powder in a bowl. Add this, along with the water, to the egg mixture. Stir in a little at a time – first flour, then water, more flour and so on until everything is added and folded into a smooth batter.

Butter and flour a 24-cm springform pan. Pour in the batter and bake at 175°C for 35-40 minutes. Leave to cool in the pan. When it’s completely cool, turn out the cake and divide it lengthwise into three (or even four) cake layers. (It’s easy – use a serrated knife and cut while turning the cake, that way it’ll come out really even.)

Filling
300 ml lemon curd (about one jar. And store-bought is perfectly fine. Otherwise, make about 1 1/2 batch of this.)

Lemon mousse
5 egg yolks
3 lemons (preferably organic and unwaxed)
4 gelatin sheets
600 ml cream (full-fat)
210 g sugar
85 g water
600 g kesella (quark)

Clean the lemons. Zest the peel, and juice them. Set aside 3 tbsp of the juice. Mix the rest, along with the zest, with the quark.

Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water. Beat the cream into soft and foamy peaks. Beat the egg yolks until foamy, preferably in a stand mixer.

Mix sugar and water (those 85 g) in a small saucepan and heat until it’s exactly 122°C. Pour this hot sugar syrup over the foamy egg yolks, while still beating them, and keep beating on medium speed until the mixture is at room temperature.

Remove the gelatin from the water and place in a small bowl with the 3 tbsp of lemon juice that you set aside earlier. Heat on low effect in the microwave – for just a few seconds – until the sheets have melted. Add this to all the other ingredients – the egg yolk mix, the cream and the quark.

To decorate
1 litre fresh strawberries (about 2 pints), quartered

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A closer look at the decoration

Assembly:

Start by lining your 26 cm springform pan with plastic. You want strips to go above the edge of the pan. (Here’s a picture of the cake in the pan.)

Spread the first cake layer with lemon curd. Place in the cake pan, and add enough mousse to cover completely. Make sure you cover the edges as well, as the cake layer is smaller than the pan. Spread lemon on the next cake layer, and place on top of the mousse. Again, add mousse to cover well. Spread the third cake layer with lemon curd (it should now be used up) and place, curd-side down. Add the rest of the mousse and spread evenly over the cake and make sure the edges are well covered. Tap the pan gently on the counter to help the mousse spread.

(You don’t have to add all of the mousse – if you have leftovers, pour it into small cups and leave in the fridge for a few hours. It’s a delicious dessert on its own, especially with berries.)

Place the cake in the freezer, overnight or at least for 3-4 hours.

On the day of serving, remove from the freezer. Remove the springform pan (you might have to heat it gently with a hair dryer) and remove the plastic strips. Move the cake to a serving platter, and let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours. Decorate as close to serving as possible.

My decoration was very simple – I started from the other edge and placed quartered strawberries in a circle pattern, letting each inner circle slightly overlap. It’s strikingly beautiful, but the whole thing took about ten minutes at the most.

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A closer look at the layers.

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