Daylight saving time has happened. Yesterday we made the switch and, even though I love the result of it and the long warm days that are coming our way, today I feel bummed out. My poor body is just not meant for waking up at 6:30 AM. It is not even meant for waking up at 7:30 AM, but some how I’ve found the way to persuade it to do it. But not today, obviously 6:30 is not negotiable. The good thing is that today is almost over, and hopefully tomorrow I will enjoy a new fresh start of the new time, because summer is coming and a little sleep deprivation can’t ruin this for me.
This cake was for a very special person and a very special occasion. My Dad turned fifty last week. What he wanted was a light cake, with blueberries if possible, and with a lot of gelatin on top. So my journey for blueberries began, and let me give you some precious intel: if you ever need blueberries in Sofia, March is the worst possible time – the fresh blueberries are still far away and the frozen are exhausted or something else happened to them, but I checked at least 5 large stores, and every single one of them was out of blueberries. So I went home with one can of blueberries and a lot of fresh strawberries, which are just starting to appear on the markets right now.
A few notes on the recipe:
- It consists of four main components: sponge, white chocolate panna cotta, lemon scented cream filling and a blueberry/strawberry gellee. In addition you will need some syrup to moisten the cake and some whipped cream for decoration;
- The sponge is better to be prepared one day, or at least 4-5 hours ahead so it can cool completely;
- The lemon cream is better to be prepared right before assembling the cake, because it sets a lot after being refrigerated;
- Even though the different elements are easy to execute, the cake needs time for the assembly, in order everything to set properly, so you better make it 1 day in advance;
Blueberry/Strawberry Birthday Cake
/recipe adapted from here/
- 8 eggs, separated;
- Pinch of salt
- 120 gr. (1/2 cup) sugar, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 110 gr. (1 scant cup) all purpose flour
- 16 gr. (4 teaspoons) baking powder
- Preheat your oven to 170°C/340°F and line the bottom of a 26 cm/10 inch spingform pan with baking paper.
- Place the egg whites and salt in a large bowl and start whipping on high speed until they become foamy. Start adding half of the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time while whipping. Beat in all the sugar and whip until firm peaks form.
- In another bowl place the egg yolks with the remaining sugar and start whipping with a mixer on high speed. Beat the egg yolks until they are pale and thick, and when you lift the beater, the falling mixture forms a ribbon. Beat in the vanilla extract.
- In a different bowl whisk together the flour and the baking powder. Sift 1/3 of the flour mixture over the beaten egg yolks and gently fold it in, using a silicone spatula. Add the remaining flour in 2 additions and fold until thoroughly mixed.
- Fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter, taking care not to deflate the mixture. Add the remaining egg whites in two additions, mixing until just incorporated..
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when gently pressed in the center.
- Place on a wire rack and let cool in the pan, then release from the pan and let cool completely.
Lemon Cream Filling:
- 1 liter (4 cups+3 tablespoons) milk
- Finely grated zest of two small lemons
- 400 gr. (2 cups) white sugar
- 180 gr. (1 cup + 5 tablespoons) all purpose flour
- 50 gr. (5 tablespoons ) cornstarch
- 200 gr. (3/4 cup + tablespoons) butter, cubed and at room temperature
- In a heavy-bottom saucepan bring the milk and lemon zest to a boil.
- In a separate bowl combine the sugar, flour and cornstarch.
- Whisking with a wire whisk constantly, start adding the milk to the flour, two tablespoons at a time to avoid forming lumps. Continue until all milk is added.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat.
- Whisk constantly until bubble start to appear. Turn down the heat and continue cooking and whisking for 5 more minutes, to assure that the flour is cooked through. The cream will thicken significantly.
- Transfer the cooked cream to a clean bowl and cover the surface with plastic foil. Let it cool.
- With a mixer start beating the cool cream and add the butter 2 tablespoons at a time, until incorporated. Add all the butter and beat for 2 more minutes.
- Cover the cream with plastic foil and keep at room temperature until needed.
White Chocolate Panna Cotta
- 10 gr. (2 ½ teaspoons) gelatin
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 400 ml. (1 2/3 cups) heavy cream
- 100 gr. (3.5 oz.) white chocolate
- 45 gr. (3 teaspoons) sugar
- Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water and set aside.
- In a heavy-bottom saucepanat the cream until it reaches the scalding point. Meanwhile chop the chocolate in a bowl.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 1 minute.
- Mix the cream and chocolate with a wire whisk until the chocolate is fully melted and incorporated with the cream.
- Add the bloomed gelatin to the hot mixture and mix until fully dissolved.
- 1 800 gr./28 oz. can blueberries in light syrup
- 30 gr. (2 tablespoons) sugar
- 120 ml. (1/2 cup) champagne
- 20 gr. (5 teaspoons) gelatin
- 3 tablespoons cold water
- 15 strawberries
- Strain the can and set the fruit aside. Pour the juice in a saucepan, add the sugar and the champagne.
- Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes until slightly reduced.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin.
- Cut the strawberries into thin pieces.
- 120 gr. (1/2 cup) sugar
- 240 ml. (1 cup) water
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil, remove from the heat and stir in the rum.
/it is better to be made after right before decorating the cake/
- 360 ml. (1/2 cups) heavy cream
- 60 gr. (4 tablespoons) sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Chopped toasted almonds for decoration
- In a large bowl whip the cream, sugar and vanilla extract with a mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form.
- Line the sides of the springform pan with baking or acetate paper, crating a collar 5 cm./2 inches taller than the pan, or you can use a 12 cm/5 inch tall and 26 cm. /10 inch wide cake ring.
- With a large serrated knife cut the cake horizontally into three even layers.
- Place the top layer on the bottom of the prepared pan. Using a pastry brush soak the cake with 1/3 of the syrup.
- Spread a little less than a half of the lemon cream over the sponge and even it with an offset spatula. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and pour the panna cotta over the harden cream. Return to the freezer for 30 more minutes. If the panna cotta has set too much before using it, very gently over low heat, stirring constantly until just loosen.
- After the panna cotta is set, remove the pan from the freezer and place the middle layer of the sponge. Moisten with half of the remaining syrup and spread almost all of the remaining cream, leaving approximately 4 tablespoons for later.
- Place the last sponge layer with the bottom faced up and moisten with the remaining syrup. Evenly spread the left cream on top of it and arrange the strawberries and blueberries. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the freezer and pour the blueberry gellee over the fruits. Place in the refrigerator for minimum 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- When the cake is completely set, remove from the fridge and gently release from the pan.
- Spread the whipped cream over the sides of the cake and decorate with the almonds.
And that’s what is left of it: