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Thursday 2 September 2010

Baking For Beginners: Strawberry Mascarpone Cream Cake

For reasons best known to myself (i.e. I have No Idea Why), I'd been on a bit of a strawberry buying spree and had 3 large punnets in my fridge and no idea what to do with them. A quick scooch round the interwebs pulled up this recipe on She Simmers which sounded rather scrummy and a good way of using at least some of the strawberry horde.

The original recipe calls for the use of gelatin in the filling and a chilling time of 5-6 hours. I was a bit unsure why you'd need gelatin to firm up a mascarpone and cream filling if you were chilling it for that long so I've gone with my own measurements (well approximately - I didn't actually measure anything out...) which leaves out the need for gelatin and the very long chilling time. Of course, the longer it's in the fridge, the firmer the filling will be. I found 30 minutes to be enough though.

You will need:

For the sponge
3 large eggs
170g (6oz) self raising flour
170g (6oz) caster sugar
170g (6oz) butter or baking margarine

For the filling (approximate amounts as I forgot to measure anything!)
Approx 340g (12oz) mascarpone cheese
200ml whipping cream
2-3 tablespoons caster sugar
Approx 300g (10.5oz) strawberries, chopped
5-6 large strawberries, sliced

You'll also need a springform cake tin.

Make it!
  • First you'll need to make your sponge. Rather than creaming the sugar and fat then gradually mixing everything else in, dump it all in a bowl and mix until it's looking light and creamy. Not only is this much easier, it results in a slightly denser sponge which works better for this kind of cake. Pour the mix into your greased tin and bake until it's done (about 25 minutes on 200C should do it)
  • When the sponge is done, let it cool and set about making the filling. Whisk the cream until it starts thickening into peaks. Add the sugar and mascarpone and carry on whisking until it it's very thick and looking like a marshmallow cloud of yum that you want to stick your face in. Fold in the chopped strawberries and set to one side.
  • Now the sponge has cooled, carefully slice it in half and put the ring bit of the tin back on (if you took it off). Arrange the sliced strawberries around the edge, pushing them slightly into the sponge to help them stay upright. Spoon in the cream mixture and push it down so there's no gaps. Put the other half of the sponge on top and press it down firmly.
  • If you don't have long to chill the cake, place a couple of plates on top before you put it in the fridge. Otherwise, cover with foil and put it in the fridge for however long you like. Once it's chilled, remove the ring and marvel at how pretty the strawberries look. Seeing as I had more strawberries, I dusted the top with some icing sugar and used some cheating squirty cream to hold the strawberries in place - which also worked as a slice guide when it came to sharing. Which unfortunately I had to do.

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