Monday, 28 May 2012

Strawberry season

Beginning of June marks the opening of strawberry season. First strawberries come from the south of Poland, quite expensive at first ( the ones I bought cost 8PLN, which means about $2.5 or  £1.5 per kilo), then when our local, Kashubian best strawberries in the world ripen I go mad about them and eat everything strawberry.

This weekend I made a Malibu layered cake (my own exclusive recipe) for my father-in-law's birthday but I simply couldn't resist decorating it with strawberries, even though the tastes don't really match.

Here's the recipe
For the sponge:
6 eggs
1.5 cup caster sugar
1cup starch
1/2 cup flour
1tsp baking powder
1tbsp plain vinegar or lemon juice

Beat egg whites until they form soft peeks add the sugar and beat until glossy.
Mix the yolks with vinegar and baking powder, add to the whites and stir.
Fold in the starch and the flour, bake in pre-heated oven (170-180 degrees) in a non-greased baking tin (dia
for about 35 mins. Remove from the tin when cold. Cut into 3 layers.

For the cream
500g mascarpone
2 tbsp dessicated coconut, soaked in some Malibu
a splash of buttermilk
icing sugar

In a mixer beat the mascarpone together with the coconut and as much sugar as you wish (just taste if the cream is sweet enough for your liking). If the consistency is too hard or thick add some buttermilk to soften the cream so that it resembles whipped cream.

To soak
approx. 30 ml  Malibu + equal measure of water

To decorate
dessicated coconut, strawberries

To finally make the cake soak the first layer with Malibu dissolved in water (we don't want the smell of alcohol to dominate the cake but we want the coconut aroma), spread the mascarpone cream over it, cover with another sponge layer, soak etc. Spread the cream on the top and the sides evenly, coat the cake in coconut and arrange the strawberries on the top.

You may invent as many combinations as you wish, the sponge is always high and, well, spongey. Mascarpone is a perfect alternative for whipped cream, tastes almost the same but it's effortless to prepare  and maintains its shape longer. I've tried adding blended strawberries, cocoa powder, chololate flakes, instant coffee and countless other things, each time the cream was delicious and well-appreciated by my family members.

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