Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Cream and Strawberry Cake

Once again dear readers I have not written for a while. I put this down to two things: 1- most of my students are preparing for exams and therefore I have been up to my ears in practice papers and all sorts of very boring grammar and vocabulary stuff. And 2- it has been FREAKING HOT. All of a sudden we have been catapulted into the mid-thirties (not the era, the temperature...) and this Brit is doing her fair share of sweating (ew). But never fear, because I am back with a ridiculously good birthday cake recipe. If you're counting calories, I'd look away now...

Torta di crema e fragola

First, let's start with the sponge cake. You will need:

Either some ready made sponge cakes (cheater!) or the following:
6 eggs
2 egg whites
250g sugar
250g plain flour
raising agent (I used a small sachet and a half)

Mix the eggs and sugar (it will seem oh-so-eggy, but don't worry- it tastes great in the end) before sifting in the flour and raising agent. I put the mixture into one large tin, but you can divide it into two if you like. After about 30 minutes (approx- keep checking it but be careful when opening the oven door so as not to make the cake sink) at around 180°C (if you have a fan oven don't use it- 'normal' oven will do), take it out and check it's cooked through by using a skewer. If it comes out clean and minus gloopy cake mixture, it's done! I left my cake to cool before carefully slicing it in half to create two 'levels'.

For the rest you will need:
A punnet of strawberries
a big lemon
some sugar
a splash of limoncello
white chocolate
whipping cream (about 500ml)
creama pasticcera
crema chantilly (see below for how to make these)

Then you will need to 'wet the cake'- Italians say 'bagnare la torta', and this is often done with some kind of alcohol. I cleaned and chopped half the punnet of strawberries (small pieces) and put them in  bowl with some sugar (taste test to how sweet you want the strawberries), and the juice of one big lemon. I added a little cold water too. I actually left these overnight in the fridge, and the next day, they had produced the most delicious 'strawberry juice'- perfect for 'wetting' the cake! I added a cheeky drop of limoncello too...

I evenly distributed the juice and the small pieces of strawberry over the bottom layer of sponge and then on the top layer. At this point the two halves were on separate plates; I hadn't yet put them together. After doing this, I spread some crema pasticcera thickly on the bottom layer (see below) and then popped the other half of the sponge on top.

I covered the entire cake with whipped cream (which I whipped to within an inch of its life to ensure it stayed put on the cake) and dollops of crema chantilly (again, see below- this is just a variation on the crema pasticera). I used the other half of the punnet of strawberries to decorate the cake, and I also grated some white chocolate on top too.

This may be stating the obvious, but make sure you keep the cake in the fridge until it's ready to be eaten.

Creama Pasticcera

The recipe and instructions to make this sweet, custard-like filling that Italians use in all sorts of cakes and biscuits was given to me by an Italian friend of mine and was therefore written in Italian. To prevent any translation errors (of which there would be several) here is a link to a great little blog which carefully describes the crema pasticcera process. With pictures and all!

Creama Chantilly

 Creama Chantilly, for those of you who don't know (until a very short time ago I was amongst you),  is actually just another name for sweetened, whipped cream. I whipped up some cream and added a few dollops of crema pasticcera to sweeten it more. Whether I was doing this correctly I'm not sure; but what I do know, is that it tasted delicious.

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