10 February 2011

Birthday: The Cake!

Is it bad that I had to make my own birthday cake?

That's an exaggeration - I didn't have to. Tom offered, but I declined. My 21st birthday cake had to be good (no offence, Tom!), and given that I'm not particularly passionate about any kind of cake (except cheesecake), my recipe was going to have to be special somehow.

I combined a strawberry sponge cake recipe with a white chocolate ganache and a few ideas of my own. Some of those never came to fruition - I wanted a narrow, tall, three-layer cake, but ended up with a wide flat one instead, but oh well - and the final cake was awesome. My last three birthday cakes have been provided by a very good friend who invariably went overboard on the frosting, and I'm glad to announce that this is a tradition I have carried on.

White Chocolate and Strawberry Birthday Cake
Makes a 2 layer, 20cm cake with excess frosting

For the sponge:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder

For the filling:
2 cups frozen strawberries
1 cup strawberry jam

For the frosting:
340g white chocolate chips
2 and 3/4 cups cream, separated
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together.

Add the eggs and continue beating.

Fold in the flour and baking powder. Keep stirring until you have a pliable, viscous cake batter.

Butter the inside of a 20cm cake tin and pour in half the batter. Cook at 180 degrees (360 Fahrenheit) for ten minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Repeat with the other half of the batter.

Covered in clingfilm, the cakes kept well in the fridge for a day. They were slightly hard when they came out to be filled and iced, but were absolutely fine to eat.

Fill the cake:
Put the two cups of strawberries into a blender and pulse until they have become strawberry crumbs. Spread on top of one of the sponge layers. I did this because the strawberries were quite sour and I wanted to balance out the extreme, decadent creaminess of the ganache.

Spread the jam on top of the crushed strawberries, and balance the other cake layer on top.

Make the frosting:
Heat 3/4 cup of cream on the stove until bubbles begin to pop up at the edges and the cream is steaming.

Put the chocolate chips into a heat-proof bowl, or tupperware, and pour the hot cream over this. Stir to melt as many of the chips as possible. Some will not melt, and as such you'll have a few lumps of white chocolate in the frosting. I liked this, but feel free to microwave the white chocolate cream on a low heat if you don't.

Beat the remaining two cups of cream with vanilla until lightly whipped, and then fold into the white chocolate cream. Stir together but don't over-beat.

Frost the cake. (As you can see, I wasn't very good at this.)

And then celebrate your 21st.