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Vanilla Strawberry Cake

Strawberries are probably my top favorite fruit. It’s a little funny to think how I used to hate strawberries as a child, and today whenever I see it in the market it’s the first thing to take into my basket, no matter the price.

I love the sweetness and the red luscious look, and strawberries are definitely the most photogenic fruit there is. This following strawberry cake recipe combines them with vanilla mousse and meringue, and this strawberry cake is just perfect for birthdays and special occasions.

Vanilla Strawberry Cake

Photo: Natalie Levin



Vanilla Strawberry Cake

22 cm round cake pan

For pink vanilla Swiss roll:
3 large eggs
100 grams sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
A little red food coloring
100 grams all-purpose flour (see notes for gluten-free version)

For vanilla mousse:
6 grams gelatin powder
30 ml. water
180 ml. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
200 grams white chocolate, chopped
375 ml. heavy cream

For strawberry jam:
150 grams strawberries
60 grams sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon

For vanilla Swiss meringue:
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
100 grams sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Decoration:
300-400 grams fresh strawberries, cut into quarters

Vanilla Strawberry Cake

Photo: Natalie Levin

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 170c degrees and line 2 oven pans with lightly greased baking paper.
  2. In a bowl of mixer with a whipping attachment, whip eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla at high speed for 5-6 minutes until you get a very airy and bright cream. Towards the end of whipping add food coloring until you reach the desired shade. It is important to remember that the color fades slightly during baking, so it should be relatively bright at this stage.
  3. Add flour and fold with a spatula until blended.
  4. Divide the batter between the pans and flatten it to a thin layer.
  5. Bake for 6-7 minutes or until evenly golden and springy to the touch.
  6. Cool completely. Flip the roll oven a clean surface and gently extract from baking paper.
  7. Cut the first roll into long strips about 6.5 cm wide, and remove the edges.
  8. Cut 2 circles about 18-20 cm in diameter from the second roll.
  9. Strawberry jam: in a medium saucepan put sugar, diced strawberries and lemon juice and cook over medium-low heat until the strawberries are soft and mixture thickens slightly.
  10. Cool completely before using.
  11. Vanilla mousse: in a small bowl stir gelatin and water and set aside for about 10 minutes until the gelatin absorbs the liquid.
  12. In a small pot heat milk, vanilla and salt to a simmer.
  13. In a small separate bowl beat egg yolks until smooth.
  14. Pour about 1/3 amount of hot milk over the yolks while intense whisking.
  15. Add the remaining milk into the bowl and beat well.
  16. Return the mixture back into the pot and cook over medium-low heat, while stirring, until mixture thickens slightly and reached 82c degrees. If you don’t have a thermometer indication for mixture thickens enough is if it covers the back of a spoon.
  17. Dissolve the gelatin and add into the mixture while stirring.
  18. Strain the mixture into a bowl.
  19. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or over double-boiler.
  20. Add in the milk mixture and whisk until blended (the mixture is quite sparse and it’s fine).
  21. Allow mixture to cool to a temperature of about 30-40c degrees for a few minutes in the refrigerator.
  22. Whip cream until soft peaks form and gently fold into white chocolate mixture until a uniform and smooth mousse is formed.
  23. Assemble the cake: Arrange strips of pink roll in the sides of the pan so that it creates smooth edges. Trim the strips if needed.
  24. Place a round pink roll in the bottom of the pan. Pour over about 1/2 the amount of vanilla mousse and flatten with a spatula.
  25. Place the second round pink roll on top, and pout strawberry jam on top.
  26. Gently pour the remaining mousse and level the top.
  27. Cool the cake in the freezer for 3-4 hours at least, until it is completely frozen.
  28. Vanilla Swiss meringue: in a medium pot heat water until boiling.
  29. In a heat-proof bowl put egg whites, salt and sugar and place on top of the water pot (it is important to make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl).
  30. Gently cook the egg whites and sugar until the sugar dissolve completely and mixture is smooth.
  31. Transfer the mixture into a mixer bowl and whip on high speed for 10-12 minutes, or until stable, glossy meringue is formed. Towards the end of whipping, add in the vanilla.
  32. Remove the cake from the pan.
  33. Pour the meringue on top of the frozen mousse and flatten the top.
  34. Arrange quarters of strawberries at the top of the cake and defrost in the fridge for 3-4 hours before serving.

Notes:

  • Keep the strawberry cake in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Instead of strawberries you can use any other berry you like.
  • Gluten-free version: use cornstarch instead of flour.
Vanilla Strawberry Cake

Photo: Natalie Levin

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