I am guessing you have noticed it too. Red velvet recipes on blogs, cute bears holding big ass hearts and heart filled boxes of candy have just landed. There is no question that Valentine’s Day is on the mind of people everywhere. Like most people I think it is a bit early to start with it but hey, the stores need to make money right?
It is so cliché to be anti-valentine’s day these days (when did having haters make you more “cool”).
“The selling of love is so terrible”, “You do not need a bit statement to show you care” etc. etc.
This is why I love doing arts course at University; I am always proven wrong. It is has been enlightening to do a course that studies the history of romance and our ideas around the future of it. A few modern names like Sherry Turkle might ring a few bells; but in general there is a bleak outlook on love.
If you read back at my last year post for valentines day, I held a similar perspective to the anti-commercialisation folk. To be honest I was telling a teeny weeny lie when I said that. After doing the course I found that main reason why Valentine’s Day is not my favourite day of the year is because my idea of romance makes me want to crawl up into a ball of angst. Yes this is the tale of the girl with a scorned heart, weird idea of romance and a long held grudge against all that is typically romance related.
My idea of romance is not flowers, sweet, music and fancy outings. It actually has nothing to do with positive emotions either. Like Romeo and Juliet, my idea of what true romance is incredibly counterproductive (well if you are thinking of ever wanting to get married anyway). Even though I have only had a minimal amount of success in long term relationship field, the one that have causes me post break up heartache is the one that are “star crossed”.
Yep I am a relationship masochist. Come to think of it I am setting myself up to fail every time.
Now I consider myself a pretty levelled headed person but I cannot shake this romance ideal off. I blaming it on not having a teenager rebellion stage; I did not pass this normal milestone thus stuck for eternity with a teenage mind set. The worst part about it is that every time I hear the instrumental versions to songs, in particular ones string instruments; I develop a black haze around me and run to the nearest corner. So no I will not being going out to eat this Valentine’s day.
This a post for you romantic types. If you are fan of Japanese love culture; you would know the idea of pocky, strawberries and sponge cake is widely thought of as cute and erotic. Who would ever thought those things would go together and be accepted in culture?
Sponge cake normally overlooked but if you are in my family sponge cake is king. Airy, light but still slightly moist which leaves bits of crumb on your lips after taking that first bite. Yep this is my recipe adaption for getting that texture without having to whip egg yolks and whites into different bowls then fold in whites afterwards.
The benefit of using Victoria sponge is that it is almost no fail due to the fact you use self-rising flour. No measuring out baking agents here. I would recommend you make the sponge in advance and leave it tightly wrapped in cling film. Like aging your cookie dough, sponge cake needs the same time. This mean your cake will stay beautifully moist for days after without the hassle of sugar syrup.
The mousse part is simple as, you do not even need eggs or gelatine to help it set. All you need for this simple mouse is marshmallows to help it set. From Nigella’s recipe for her chocolate mousse this is the best way getting an egg-less mousse when you are sort on time that has “body”. Also you need this firmness as the cake is in cased in the mousse.
-This is well worth the effort and it also mean that you so not have perfect with the sides as the pocky and strawberries cover up any lumps and bumps.
While might be relating this to valentine’s day I made this cake for a cake order; so this is my festive bakes 4! The last one which is the quickest and easiest to prepare. Who said good looking cake needs to be hard?
Triple Choc mousse pocky cake
Sponge adapted from AWW classic cakes
Mousse from Nigella express.
Concept of the cake from Japan.
Double choc sponge
Fills 3 18cm spring form tins
170g butter soften
170g raw caster sugar
50g black/onyx cocoa shifted
150g self-raising flour, shifted
50g shaved dark chocolate
Pre heat oven to 180C. Grease, line and flour 3x18cm cake tins so that the sides come up 2cm above the rim of the tin.
Shift in a medium bowl your cocoa and flour. Set saide.
In a stand mixer cream your butter than sugar on high until light and fluffy (5 minutes). Reduce the power to low medium and beat in each egg one at a time. Make sure it returns to the fluffy texture you had prior to adding eggs before adding the next one.
Fold in the flour and cocoa in 3 batches. Fold in the shaved chocolate.
Smooth into your prepared tins and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer comes clean and springy.
Cool in tin for 10 minutes then turn out on to wire racks to cool completely.
Level off your cake domes when cool. Wrap in Cling film and fridge for 1 day.
Depending on how much mousse you want to cover your cakes you can go for a 24cm but double the recipe. I used a 20cm tin here.
50 grams mini marshmallows
50 grams soft butter
250 grams good dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), shaved
60 ml hot water (from a recently boiled kettle)
284 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat the marshmallows, butter, chocolate and water in a heavy-based saucepan.
On low heats melt the ingredients, stirring occasionally to help melting. Remove from the heat.
After whip the cream with the vanilla extract until thick. Fold into the cooling chocolate mixture until glossy.
One 20cm tin, lined with clear acetate on the sides and a baking paper base.
One recipe for cake
One recipe for mousse
5-6 packets of pocky
Two punnets of strawberries. Hulled.
Sugar glaze (twice the amount of sugar to water melted over the stove then cooled)
Place on leveled cake base the base of the tin. Pour over one third of the mix. Repeat with next two layers. You may smooth out the top. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up.
When you are ready to eat place hulled strawberries on top. Lined the side with pocky sticks. Brush with sugar glaze on the berries.