I guess I owe you (my very loyal readers) a reason for my absence. No I have not gone on a holiday nor am I suffering writer or cooks block. Over the last 14 days I have been in the kitchen catering for two events. Anyone who has done a dessert table or catered of any kind would understand the pressure you feel when making the food. It has to be perfect.
The icing must not be smudged or over beaten. The sides have to be dead straight and every cupcake swirl must sit in a perfect circle. However the most important factor is that these cakes, desserts, cookies etc. are a reflection of you.
I might be a dramatic but I really care about what I give to others, even if it just out of blue. Embarrassing as this is, I am only one who would become angry and throw out a whole batch of macaron shells if they did not look perfect. I mean really little problems; they did not all rise the same or some of them are slightly out of shape. I blame pinterest and instagram for its filtered moody perfection and sweet immaculate cakes.
Another reason is that these two events were run by two people very close to me. The first was my middle’s sister daughter’s First birthday! She has cake like this birthday sprinkle ice cream cake, Up Up and away cake and this Blueberry chocolate masterpiece. So as you can see I had a lot to live up to. If you have noticed my instagram feed you would of have seen a sneak peak at the body of this cake. Yes that is two full layers but wait for it I have the photos ready for a post come up soon! I will report on everything the whole group of helpers did for her birthday; it was simply stunning.
After I was told of very sad news. During that week the neighbour of mine, who had become another member of the family, passed away. He had really supported us earlier this year, when I lost my dad. I knew he was old and his was in ill health but I held on to the hope that he might be able to get by for another few years.
None the less, knowing this does not make it easier when you are enlisted to cater for the wake two days away. In typical Belinda form, I got busy in the kitchen making, bread rolls, cheese scrolls, coconut raspberry cookie bars, scones, 4 types of finger sandwiches, mix sweet biscuits, gluten free banana bread, lamingtons and a lot of other small nibbles.
So I was both emotionally and physically drained after these two very close events. However I am back and I bring you cake as sorry gift. This was one I made a few months back in September for my Eldest sister’s birthday. Pop Rocking Balsamic strawberry mousse gateaux is fancy pants take on the normal mousse cake; however the extra steps of roasting berries is well worth the effort.
If you love really cakes that are show stopping one this is for you! The technique of roasted strawberries would change the way you eat them forever. If you get sub-par strawberries never fear! The oven is here. It is like strawberries got the Olivia Newton John makeover in “Grease”. From plain, sweet but boring to dark, sensuous and lustful. Pair it will light chocolate cake and you have a match made in pastry heaven. It is messy to eat but the taste is well worth it.
If you want to make it easier for yourself get any chocolate cake from the super market and just make the mousse; people will not notice the difference.
The decoration totally optional but the pop rock makes just a bit fun. Also who can resist a bit of chocolate loaded with sugar on a cake.
Pop Rocking Balsamic Strawberry Mousse Gateaux
500g strawberries (2 punnets), hulled and halved.
15ml balsamic Vinegar
30g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
700ml thicken cream
9g titanium gelatine (leaf) soaked in cold water.
Pot of boiling water
Adapted from Donna Hay
200g brown sugar
200g plain (all-purpose) flour
100g almond meal
6g teaspoon baking powder
50g cocoa powder
275ml full fat sour cream
250g dark chocolate, melted
200g dark chocolate, chopped
100ml pouring (single) cream
20g butter, softened
Decorations (All extra bits on my cake)
1 Punnet of strawberries
700g dark chocolate
50g strawberry pop rocks
Piece of clear plastic
Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F). Grease a 22cm cake tin. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well. Sift the flour, almond meal, baking powder and cocoa over the butter mixture, add the sour cream and chocolate, and mix until just combined.
Pour into 3 lined and greased 18 cm layer cake pan, making sure they are as even as possible. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until a wooden skewer cake tester comes clean. Cool in tin for ten minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack. Place in fridge to chill. You will only need two cakes. One is just for sampling 😉
Pre heat oven to 200C. Line a tray will foil. In medium bowl place all the strawberries in the mousse, vinegar and sugar. Toss and allow to sit for 20 minutes. Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool. Puree roasted strawberries in processor or blender until smooth. Place leaves in a small bowl of cold water and allow to soften for 10 minutes. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in small bowl over a simmering pot of water with electric mixer until pale and thick. While the bowl is still on the stove whisk in soften gelatine till combined. Fold in to strawberry mixture. Beat cream till whipped. Fold in to strawberry mixture.
Spread one of the cakes with a layer of ganache. This will be in the middle.
Line a 23cm spring form cake tin will plastic lining (acetate). Make sure it comes up 5cm above the top of the cake tin. Place the unganached cake layer in the base. Pour the mousse into the tin to cover the cake well. Place remaining cake layer in the pan. The ganched side facing down like the picture. Pour the mouse over this cake to cover the cake well to 1 cm below the plastic lining, you may not use all of the mousse mixture. Fridge overnight.
Make the pop rock chocolate shards. Melt chocolate. Chopped chocolate finely. Place in a steel bowl over a pot of simmering water. Melt chocolate. Line a tray with baking paper and pour 2/3 chocolate on the top. Spread with spatula to create an even surface. Sprinkle over pop rocks.
Ready to serve, remove collar and tin from the cake. Transfer to the freezer. To make chocolate collar cut a sheet of baking paper which higher than the top of your cake by 3cm and long enough to go around your cake. You just need a long strip of paper.
Take out the cake.
With your melted chocolate (this part is messy); drizzle chocolate over the collar. Once chocolate begins to set ( lose it shine) pick up the paper from each side. Wrap around the cake. I normally use the middle of the baking paper strip as the front of the cake and the join at the back of cake. If you want a picture guild I found onehere. Once it is one the cake, leave it to set and remove paper,
Serve with pop rock chocolates, cream and strawberries.