Birthdays are one of the few times I’m allowed to get a little fancy with the cakes I make for the family. Now with this cake, I’ve wanted to try it out for some time now so when my own birthday swung round on the 28th, I thought, ‘LET’S DO THIS!!’ And now, here you have it! Yay!
Seriously, this cake is like, next level wow, in terms of texture and taste, especially. This cake isn’t heavy on the stomach but it is full of flavour and texture. The rum syrup that is brushed onto the layers of sponge really gives the cake a special taste, so don’t leave it out!!
What made me most nervous about making this cake? The fact that I wasn’t meant to line my pans with baking paper or grease it. The thought of not doing either terrified the bejesus out of me. What if after I had run a knife around the pan the sponge still didn’t come out? Or that if I used too much force to get the sponge out, the sponge would just give up on life as a whole sponge and just tear in two?
But I did it. I took the leap of faith and went sans baking paper (I did still line the bottom of the pan though, because I wasn’t using springform). And my sponges were perfection. I was spinning around the room with one of the sponges in mittened hands when my parents walked into the kitchen and asked me what the hell was happening. I kept doing my lunatic dance because I was feeling glorious, and my parents knew then, I could not be helped.
There are a few places within making this cake where you should be careful:
-The egg yolks and sugar must be whisked until the colour is a pale yellow and the mixture is thick. Don’t try to cut this part short!
-Not overmixing is important when adding the flour to the batter, but that is a usual rule of thumb, so then your cake doesn’t turn out tough.
-Be gentle when folding in the egg whites- too vigorous stirring will deflate all that air originally beaten in.
While I have given up trying to simultaneously bake and take pictures, you will find that Jonathan Melendez from ‘The Candid Appetite’ (where this fab recipe actually came from) has some really instructive accompanying pictures, so if you’re stuck, refer to his pictures as guides! 🙂
I should tell you that the two pans that I used were actually a little smaller than 9 inches, at 20cm. My two sponges were actually very much done at the 35 minute mark, colour-wise and with sticking a skewer into the middle to check the done-ness.
I’m not sure about others, but cake flour is not as common to come by where I live. To make up for that though, I ‘make’ my own, following Joy the Baker’s method 🙂 She’s another favourite baker of mine!
So this is how the inside of my cake turned out:
My family really enjoyed this cake, and I enjoyed making it on top of everything 🙂 So, another year older, and a fear overcome!
And there you have it!
I hope you enjoy making and eating the cake as much as I did 🙂 If you have any questions, feel free to contact me on the comments section or send me an email.
Slightly adapted from: The Candid Appetite
Makes: Two nine-inch layer cakes
Yield: two 9 inch layer cakes
For the sponge cake:
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, stemmed and sliced, reserving 9 whole berries for the top (with or without stalks)
2 cups sliced almonds
Separate the eggs into two mixing bowls. Start by beating the egg yolks and sugar until very thick and lemon coloured. Add water and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour, careful not to overmix.
In another bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Then add cream of tartar and salt. Beat mixture until whites are stiff, but not until they are dry. Carefully fold the whipped egg whites mixture into yolk mixture, so as to not deflate the egg whites.
Pour the batter into two ungreased 9 inch pans. If using a non spring-form pan, line the bottom to make it easier to remove the cake after baking. Bake at 325°F/ 163°C for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Rotate the pans halfway through, to ensure even baking.
Allow the cakes to cool on a cooling rack. Invert the cakes.
Place one of the layers on a serving plate or stand, or where you will decorate it. Brush on rum simple syrup (recipe follows) evenly and heavily onto the first layer. Proceed to dollop a spoonful of the whipped cream (recipe follows) and spread evenly over the cake layer. Arrange the strawberry slices over the cream. Top with another spoonful of cream and spread once again.
Top with the second layer of sponge cake, and brush with more of the rum simple syrup. Place a large dollop, multiple spoonfuls, of the whipped cream. Spread out evenly over the top and allowing the cream to fall down the sides. Using an offset spatula cover the cake completely with the whipped cream. Smooth it out, removing any excess cream.
Cover the sides of the cake with the sliced almonds. Shake off any loose nuts. Using a pastry bag, fitted with a star tip, make 8 rosettes on the edge of the cake. Making one final rosette in the middle. Place the reserved strawberries on each of the rosettes. Slice and serve. Store any leftover cake, covered, in the fridge. Enjoy!
Rum Simple Syrup
Yield: Makes about 1 cup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup rum
In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and the water over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture reaches a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes more.
Remove pan from heat, and stir in rum. Let cool to room temperature. Once it has cooled completely, the syrup can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
Yield: about 3 cups of frosting. Enough to frost a 9-inch, two layer cake.
3 cups very cold heavy cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large mixing bowl, pour the heavy cream and mix on low-medium speed for several minutes. Once the cream has frothed and slightly thickened, add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip on medium-high until soft peaks form. Be careful not to over mix the cream, as it could turn into butter rather fast.