I've always wanted to make a birthday cake. But I was always too daunted by the task and the responsibility it meant... But when we were discussing what cake to get for my friend, we were calling out suggestions when I heard myself nearly shout our of enthusiasm- I'LL MAKE IT! They knew I was really into baking and as much as I'd love to, I never really get much chance to make them things so they were really happy and supportive and surprisingly, placed alot, like ALOT of trust in me. And I surely, did not want to disappoint. So began serious planning...
I knew already that strawberries must be the star of this cake since the birthday girl is a strawberry lover plus it's in season! And after seeing this, I wanted so badly to imitate the amazing line details on the sponge... So the design came about.
So anyway, of course, I was not going to jump in the deep end by attempting my first birthday cake without practice! So i did my practice and was so thankful of it because I learnt a lot of useful things with my first trial batch. 1st was that the piping jam on the joconde did not work for me but I was prepared for that so I also made one with pipings from coloured batter. It turned out nice except a little too pale- but I kept in mind that the next time I'd simply just add a little more food colouring... Also adjusted the amount of gelatin as it was a little on the soft side when I first attempted it. So here it is: my grand first attempt:
After the practice, my confidence grew and I thought alright! Just gotta add a little tweaks with the biscuit base and glaze and it'll turn out perfect but in reality, quite a number of problem arose... There were such problems such as my agar agar glaze that it was set before i could evenly spread it out on the mousse, resulting in an ugly mound of clear jelly glaze. Fortunately, it was so hard that i could just pick it up with my hands, leaving a little ugly patch where it made contact with the mousse but that could be fixed with another attempt at the glaze- this time, paying close attention to the water- agar agar powder ratio!
All my efforts were wasted....
I had also slightly undercooked my joconde but i was not prepared to put it back in the oven for fear that it might turn too crisp and would crack and crumble when I would have to curl them in strips around the sides of the tins. This made it difficult to cut as it was a little sticky but it was easy to bend around which was a plus. However, when I unmoulded,shock horror- all my coloured strips of batter disappeared and alas I panicked! This happened in the early morning of the day I was meant to present the cake so I improvised and did a simple strawberry jam, pink buttercream frosting and piped it around the cake. Phew for improvisation but ugh for undercooked batter.
But anyway, everyone thoroughly enjoyed the cake and were even having seconds and thirds!! It was a big success and makes me more confident to try out other birthday cake projects- the next probably being my sister- which would be less scary because you know- it's just your sister, she wouldn't mind a cake that's a tad dodgy now would she? Let's get on to the recipe- it is quite an impressive cake that would receive 'oohs' and 'aahs' with alot of components, but when you break it down, it actually isn't all that difficult so I'd encourage anyone to try it!
Strawberry, White Chocolate Mousse Cake
makes six 6.5cm diameter individual mousse rings or large 21cm diameter round cake tin
NOTE: Before commencing, line the sides of the mousse ring with some parchment paper. I also recommend reading through the recipe thoroughly beforehand
For the biscuit base:
200g plain biscuits (I used digestives)
50g melted butter (adjust accordingly based on biscuit used)
1. Place biscuits in food processor and process till fine. Alternatively, put in a freezer bag and use rolling pin to crush till fine.
2. Stir in melted butter and mix thoroughly
3. Fill bases of tin or ring with biscuit and press firmly and evenly with spoon
4. Bake for around 6 minutes at 170 C and let cool
For the biscuit joconde (Recipe Adapted from here)
50g ground almonds
50g powdered sugar
40g egg yolks
30g egg whites
30g egg whites
45g cake flour (I used a mix of plain and cornflour)
100g egg whites
60g caster sugar
1. Combine powdered sugar and ground almonds in a bowl. add in egg yolks, egg whites and whisk until thick and fluffy. Fold in flour
2. Beat egg whites and caster sugar together until stiff peaks then fold into the yolk mixture.
3. Spread a thin layer of mixture on baking tray lined with silpat with spatula and bake on 230C for 5-6 mins until golden. Leave to cool.
4. Slice sponge into six 2.25cm x 20cm long strips (or 3 long strips that will fit the large tin, trim as you go) that will fit the mousse rings and cut out 6 rounds or one large round to fit the bases of the mousse rings. Dust the long strips with powdered sugar to prevent sticking to sides.
For the White Chocolate Layer
130g good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons thickened cream
2. Add chocolate and let stand for one minute
3. Whisk until smooth
For the Strawberry Mousse (Recipe Adapted from here)
600g mix of raspberries and strawberries (frozen is fine)
40ml lemon juice
5 teaspoons powdered gelatin or 12g gelatin leaf
360g yogurt (I used low fat natural yogurt)
340ml thickened cream
2. Put the strawberry and lemon juice in a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Pour the mixture into a saucepan add the sugar and heat until the sugar melt.
4. Put the gelatin into the strawberry and stir until smooth; let the mixture cool to room temperature.
5. Whisk in yogurt
6. Whip up cream till soft peaks and spoon 1/3 of the whipped cream into strawberry mixture and fold the strawberry mixture lightly back into whipped cream
For the Glaze:
1/4 packet of agar agar powder
1. See instructions on the agar agar powder sachet and follow the ratio for water and sugar and instructions
2. Use immediately
6 strawberries if making individual mousse rings or 400g for the large tin
Extra fruits to decorate
3. Pour melted chocolate mixture onto the biscuit base
4. Place the joconde rounds firmly on top of the chocolate mixture
5. Arrange strawberries on top of the joconde (or place one in the middle for individual ones)
6. Pour mousse on top of the strawberries, going above the joconde strips
7. Refrigerate for 4 hours
8. Place fruits on top of mousse for decoration
9. Brush glaze on top of fruits and pour evenly to make a nice thin layer on top of the mousse
10. Chill until set
|The final product. Tranportation killed the presentation abit though as when I got to the restaurant, bits of buttercream were smeared all over and there were some crackage on the glaze yet again....|
|The strawberries used in the cake.... Large amounts are needed- but the results are just amazing!|