Yesterday was my birthday! I was about 284 years old, give or take. Yes; I'm well preserved. And for the party we had a strawberry and cream gâteau!
I remember when I was a teenager, my mother bought a lovely strawberry and cream gâteau from the Baker's Café in Miltown Malbay, which is the nearest town to the field in which I was raised, and it was absolutely lovely: light, fluffy fatless sponge sandwiched with cream and strawberry jam, decorated with cream and crushed digestives around the sides, with rosettes of cream and sliced strawberries on top. There is something absolutely delightful about the squidgy cream and jam in the cloudy soft sponge, and also the classic style of the gâteau, that is utterly satisfying. Over the years, I have remembered it as my favourite birthday cake.
For this I used a slightly different sponge recipe: I usually use this recipe, which is sort of like a chiffon cake or a Genoise, but this is a little lighter because it has more eggs and sugar and less flour and oil. It makes it incredibly delicate and light.
I will admit, there is quite a bit of making in this cake, but there's always a good bit of making in a layered cake or a gâteau like this, as with black forest gâteau. It doesn't require any complex techniques or finicky recipes, just fiddling around with layers and spreading jam and cream. But here is how I made it.
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Refined sugar products
For two 8 inch (20 centimetre) sandwich cakes
- 5 medium eggs
- 6 ounces (170 grammes) caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 millilitres) vanilla essence, or almond essence
- 5 tablespoons (75 millilitres) sunflower oil
- 4 ounces (115 grammes) white spelt flour
- 1 ounce (30 grammes) cornflour
- Pinch of salt
For the decoration:
- 1/2 a jar (225 grammes) strawberry jam
- 3/4 pint (425 millilitres) whipping cream
- 5 ounces (170 grammes) cream cheese
- 2 ounces (55 grammes) icing sugar
- 7 strawberries
- For the sides: grated chocolate, crushed digestives (or shortbread), or sprinkles
- Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F, Gas Mk.5, or moderate). Grease and flour the bottom of each sandwich tin, but not the sides.
- Sieve the flour, cornflour and salt onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until thick, pale, and puffed up to double in size.
- Gradually beat the sunflower oil into the eggs, followed by the essence.
- Gently fold the flour mixture into the eggs, making sure to keep it light and fluffy. Divide the mixture between the tins.
- Bake the cakes in the centre of the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until springy to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and loosen the sides with a knife; allow to cool completely before turning out onto a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream, cream cheese, and icing sugar until it reaches soft peaks. Divide into two: one half for filling, one half for decorating.
- Slice each cake in half horizontally, and put the bottom layer on the serving platter. Spread with a third of the jam, then spread a third of your filling cream in. Place the top of the cake on top.
- Spread jam and a third of the cream on top of this layer, as before, then place the top half of the second cake on top, but upside-down. Spread the jam and cream on top again as before, and top off with the bottom of the second cake, but upside again. This means the top will be nice and flat.
- Now, take the half of the cream you saved for decorating. Spread a third of this on top, swirling with the knife. Spread a third around the sides, too.
- If you like, at this point you can press some grated chocolate, crushed biscuits, or sprinkles onto the sides of the cake, as pictured. The best way to do this is to fill a wide roasting dish with the grated chocolate or sprinkles, then hover the serving plate over the dish while patting the decorations onto the sides.
- Once you have decorated the sides, fit a piping bag with a closed star nozzle, and fill with the last third of the cream. Pipe rosette decorations on the top, and around the bottom, as shown.
- Slice six of the strawberries in half, and arrange them on the top, resting them on the cream rosettes.
- Slice the last strawberry six times, making sure not to cut all the way through the top. Fan out the strawberry, and rest in the centre of the cake. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour to fully set.
- Remove from the fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it can come to room temperature before eating.
I was very pleased with this cake, and it went down an absolute treat! I also made some mini Black Forest Cheesecakes, which were also a success. Although, I will discuss those in greater detail in another post.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR: Lemon Ice-Cream (Egg- and Wheat Free)