Oh birthdays, aren't they wonderful! Until recently they were the only thing driving my baking and blogging. But, when October hit, the cool weather just RUSHED in and my motivation to bake was back, just like that-it's absolutely magical. I have probably baked more this past week than I have all summer.
I made this cake for one of my work friends who requested strawberry cake for her birthday. She is the cutest, and sweetest girl EVER and I wanted to make something enchanting for her birthday.
I also wanted to challenge myself with a new recipe. *Actually, I think I have a problem repeating recipes unless they are UN-deniably really good!*
Anyway, I decided to go for this four layer strawberry mousse cake.
Making the cake itself went smoothly and according to plan. However, I am not sure that I was absolutely happy with how it came out. One, the cake had a slight bitter after taste. Two, it was a bit too heavy. And three, the color wasn't pink enough for me. I mean look in the top picture, it doesn't even look the slightest pink at all. To resolve the bitter taste issue I think cooking a strawberry jam-like puree to put in the cake may be better and not adding any lemon juice may help as well. To resolve the color issue, I guess I would just add a couple drops of food coloring at the end until I got a darker pink color. I love the learning process of trying new recipes, it's so much fun. :)
And the mousse turned out really good but it had me worried because the recipe said it would only take an hour to set when it actually took a sleep-over in the fridge.
I am pleased overall with this cake because I wanted to practice a layer cake and I think it turned out looking really nice. I WILL be doing another 4-layer cake at the end of the month and I can't wait. I think one of the keys to a successful layered cake is making sure the cake is airy and light otherwise it squishes the filling too much especially if it is a mousse filling like mine was.
Strawberry Cake Recipe
1 cup strawberry puree (about 8-10 hulled and cut strawberries in the food processor, strain seeds, heat with 2-3 Tbs sugar for 5 minutes)
1/4 cup milk
6 large egg whites, room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup cake flour
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat two 8 inch pans with butter and dust with flour.
- Whisk strawberry puree, milk, egg, vanilla in a small bowl. *Maybe the cake would turn out lighter and fluffier if you whip the egg whites into a fluff and then fold the rest of the wet ingredients in?)
-Divide batter evenly among your two 8 inch pans. Pound pan on counter a few times to get the big air bubbles out.
-Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in pan for about 10 minutes and turn out onto wax paper on wire racks to finish cooling completely.
-Once cakes are cool, slice each cake in half yielding four cake layers. In order to do this TORTING, I measure the cake height and calculate*high tech, I know* the half point. Then I mark the half point with toothpicks around the cake. With a long bread knife I cut the cake in half using the toothpicks to guide me in a straight horizontal cut. (OR, you can purchase a torting tool starting at $30.00). Reserve your two flattest layers: one should be the first layer at the bottom with it's flattest side facing down toward the cake board or plate. the other layer should have it's flattest side facing up and be the top layer (this will ensure a flat top surface of your cake and make it easy for you to get a flat frosting surface.
1 cup strawberry puree( I also made extra to have for the layering process of the cake)
8 ounces white chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbs powdered sugar
-Put 1/4 cup cool water into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over top; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes.
-Stir 1/4 cup cream and the powdered sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add gelatin mixture, and stir until gelatin has dissolved.
-Pour into bowl with the melted chocolate, and stir until smooth. Whisk in 1 cup strawberry puree.
-Put remaining 1 3/4 cups cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until medium peaks form.
-Whisk one-third of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream using a large rubber spatula.
-Refrigerate 12-plus hours or until ready to fill and frost cake.
Place a cake layer
place a cake layer on your cake plate
spread 1/2 cup of mousse evenly
place thinly sliced fresh strawberry
drizzle extra cooked strawberry puree over top
place cake layer over top
Then frost entire cake with the rest of the mousse.