Bet that got your attention, eh? While I'll fill you in on the main event a little later, yesterday's birthday dinner was really all about the cake. I mean honestly - what birthday is worth its weight without CAKE and this particular version is well suited to celebration - especially a birthday bash.
First though, I apologize. We should be shot for not getting pictures of the birthday girl to post along with her cake but quite frankly we didn't even think about it. Believe you me, my MIL is an elegant and very beautiful 82 year old well worthy of a cover spot on AARP magazine and I promise I'll post a picture of her soon just to prove it!
Now, about the cake - this is a Dorie Greenspan recipe - her perfect party cake and believe me, it is just that. With a beautiful fine crumb and moist texture, it can be adjusted in the flavor department to suit whatever you're going to fill it with. I figure I've made enough changes to her recipe to allow me to post it, but please visit her site when you've a chance. This woman is a goddess in the kitchen! This particular cake recipe is very easy to make but I will caution, it is VERY important to make sure your ingredients are at room temperature before you start otherwise the cake will not rise - not one single bit! (BTDT) When I put this one together, rather than making it in individual cake pans I used one spring form pan and adjusted the baking time accordingly. It's just personal preference but I find it much easier to handle. Download Strawberry Mousse Cream Cake
The filling is my version of strawberry mousse - simple to make but very impressive and it has never failed me. It's great in a cake, or a charlotte or even just served in simple parfait glasses and can be varied by using peaches, apricots, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries - whatever your whim. It is light but rich and believe me, eat too much of it and this mousse will make a moose out of ya' in no time flat.
When I was putting the cake together, I built it back in the original springform pan so the cake would hold it's shape while the filling had a chance to firm up. Simply cut the cooled cake into 3 equal layers (or as close as you can), put the bottom back into the springform pan, and coat it evenly with a thin layer of seedless strawberry jam. Cover with one half of the prepared strawberry mousse, add another layer of cake, more strawberry jam, the rest of the mousse and finally the top layer of cake. You may need to build a collar for your springform pan if it is not high enough to accept all of the cake, but this is easily accomplished by cutting the bottom out of a round 9 inch disposable foil cake pan and using the sides to support the top of the cake. Cover and chill the cake overnight to firm up the filling and it'll be ready ready to frost and decorate with whipped cream.
Now, about the cream. If you're lucky, you may be able to find a cream stabilizer product called "Whipit" make by Oetkker (Cost World Market carries it here in the U.S.), otherwise be sure to use powdered sugar to sweeten your cream. The cornstarch present in the powdered sugar will help the cream stay aerated and hold longer. I simply frosted the cake with whipping cream, then use a star tip to decorate it along with a length of grosgrain ribbon and some perfectly beautiful pink roses that the big guy went all over town looking for yesterday. Placed into a flower pic filled with water, they are easily inserted into the cake and held beautifully in the fridge until serving time. I mean, Mother Nature makes a much prettier rose than I do. Fresh strawberries would have been lovely too, but unfortunately the ones I looked at the other day were kind of "woody", so I didn't bother.
In closing, the big guy's already got his order in for a chocolate raspberry version of this for his birthday, so don't be surprised if you see it all again. Happy Sunday everyone!