♪Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday, dear Anna,
Happy birthday to me!♪
Wednesday just past was my 682nd-ish birthday, and we celebrated this weekend with a family gathering. I was in college in Galway, and the family is all in Limerick, so a weekday gathering wasn't really possible. My brother came up on my actual birthday to see me, and my companion got me a little muffin with a candle on the day before because he couldn't see me on the day.
So, in order to properly celebrate, this weekend the clan gathered for a meal, followed by cake. I make my own birthday cakes usually, only because I enjoy baking. Last year for my big birthday bash, I made a strawberry cream gateau, because I particularly like that kind of cake and have had that one for a few years. But this year I thought I'd shake it up a big with some raspberries and almonds instead!
I really love cream gateaux: the combination of fluffy cake, rich cream, and fresh fruits is really pleasing. Of course, you can use any kind of berry for this, and any kind of jam. This time, I used raspberries.
I used a light and fluffy cake recipe, using the recipe I used to make the fondant fancies, but you can use any kind of plain sponge cake you like.
- Two 8 inch (22 centimetre) vanilla sponge cakes
- 9 fluid ounces (250 millilitres) fresh whipping cream
- 2 to 3 tablespoons (40 to 60 grammes) icing sugar, to taste
- 1 or 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 millilitres) vanilla essence, to taste
- 4 ounces (115 grammes) raspberry jam, seeded or strained
- About 4 ounces (115 grammes) flaked almonds
- 12 fresh raspberries
- Cake board or serving platter
- Palette knife, or table knife
- Piping bag with a closed star nozzle, or a round nozzle
- Long serrated knife, if needed
- Balloon whisk
- Whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla until firm peaks. You can use an electric whisk if you like, but I strongly recommend doing it by hand to avoid overwhipping.
- If the cakes have tall domes, level them using the serrated knife. Place one cake, cut side up, onto the board or plate.
- Spread the jam on the cake layer, then about a third of the whipping cream.
- Place the second cake on top, cut side down, and press gently to fix in place. Use half the remaining cream to coat the top and sides of the cake.
- Press the flaked almonds into the sides of the cake until completely covered. Sweep away any excess for snacking.
- Fit the piping bag with a star or round nozzle, to your preference, then fill with the remaining cream. Decorate the top edge with a border of your liking—I used a shell border—and pipe a rosette in the middle if you like.
- Decorate the top with raspberries
As with anything that uses fresh cream, this cake won't really last longer than 3 days in the fridge, and is best enjoyed on the day it is made.
THIS TIME IN 2016: Happy Birthday Sweetie Pie! 25 Today!
THIS TIME IN 2015: Strawberry Cream Gâteau (Wheat Free)
THIS TIME IN 2014: Lemon Ice-Cream (Egg- and Wheat Free)