Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Birthday cake (recipe)

This is a cake I made for my mum's birthday in March. It came out really well so I thought I'd share the recipe with you! 

We'll start with the base which is just a plain sponge. It's made with different eggs to flour ratio, to make it high and light, and potato flour* to stabilise all the eggs.


5 eggs
300 ml sugar
150 ml plain flour
150 ml potato flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Here's how you do it:

Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Line, grease and flour a 25cm spring form tin. Make a collar for the tin and grease and flour this as well. The cake will rise quite a bit and the collar will stop it spilling over the edge (which would be a terrible waste of good cake batter and also a pain to clean).
Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract until pale and very fluffy. Its important to beat for a long time as you want as much air as possible in the mixture.
Sieve the flour, potato flour and baking powder and carefully fold in to the egg mixture.
Bake on the bottom oven shelf for 40-50 minutes, checking with a skewer towards the end of the cooking time. You might like to cover the top with a sheet of greaseproof paper for the last 5 minutes or so to stop it getting to crispy.
Leave to cool in the tin, covered with a clean towel.
If possible, make the cake a few days in advance and freeze it. Take it out, in the morning, the day you want to serve it and divide it before it's completely defrosted as that makes it easier to cut.

I divided mine into three layers but you should be able to get four 9maybe more if you're handy with a knife).

Traditional Swedish birthday/celebration usually have a layer with vanilla custard and are covered with whipped cream and fresh fruit and/or berries. I decided to go for a raspberry theme so for the non-custard layer I made a raspberry mousse.

For the mousse you need:

200 g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
100 ml icing sugar
100 g cream cheese
4 leaves of gelatin
200 ml whipping cream

Bring the raspberries to a boil (if using fresh, add a splash of water) and heat for a couple of minutes.
Whip the cream.
Pass the strawberries through a sieve to make a puree.
Place the gelatin leaves in cold water to soak for a few minutes.
Mix about half of the raspberry puree with the cream cheese along with the icing sugar.
Squeeze the water from the gelatin leaves and dissolve in the other half of the raspberry puree.
(You may need to reheat it quickly and if it's quite thick, adding a splash of boiling water will help to dissolve the gelatin.)
Leave to cool for a few minutes then stir into the cream cheese mixture.
Finally, fold in the whipped cream.
Let the mousse set in the fridge for a while before using it to fill you cake.

For my cake I used the mousse for the bottom layer and custard for the second layer. I then covered the cake (just a thin layer on the sides) with whipped cream and decorated it with piped whipped cream, fresh raspberries and heart-shaped sugar sprinkles. The writing says Happy Birthday (actually congratulations because that's what we say in Sweden) in case you were wondering! It was done by my sister using some writing gel I bought because I couldn't be arsed to make anything...

So there, go forth and bake! And remember to beat those eggs...

This is where I found the original recipes: cake and mousse. They are in Swedish and all I've done is translate them and possibly re-write them slightly to make more sense in English

* Whilst browsing the amazing Internet I have found several forums/websites/blogs/people who say there is a difference between potato flour and potato starch. Same as there is apparently a difference between corn flour and corn starch. I call it potato flour because that's what it's called in Sweden and that's the only kind I've ever come across. It's white, "dry" and makes a squeaky, crunching sound like walking on fresh snow. That's the kind you want. In England you can buy it in health food shops (Holland & Barret and suchlike) and they also call it potato flour. I guess if there is a choice between -flour and -starch, buy starch. My sister's bf made it with corn flour/starch (same thing again!) I hear, and that worked fine as far as I know. I can't tell you to do that since I've never tried it and don't feel comfortable recommending ti.

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