Thursday, April 19, 2012

Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake with White Chocolate Flakes

Last weekend, we had a little celebration for Z's birthday at home. Upon special request, G made his "famous" Hainanese chicken rice (scroll down to the end to see photo) which we all enjoyed for lunch. For his birthday cake, I made a simple vanilla sponge filled with fresh strawberries and chantilly cream, and covered it with more cream and plenty of white chocolate flakes. Z said he loved the cake, mostly because of the marshmallows, and the strawberries too. The sponge itself turned out fine, thankfully. I actually made a "test" sponge the day before using a slightly different recipe and it turned out really "spongey" and rubbery - it reminded me of loofah! After that experience, I decided to play it safe and stick to a recipe I've used for making Swiss Roll. I simply couldn't afford to get Z's birthday cake wrong, although I was prepared to just buy one from the cake shop if I really needed to.

I adapted the recipe to make a larger cake, using a 9 inch round pan, and used 5 eggs instead of 4, and increased the quantities for the other ingredients proportionately. As it was baking in the oven, I stood by the oven door and peered through the glass, waiting to see if the cake rose. I wanted to be sure it wasn't going to turn out flat, dense and rubbery like the first one. What a relief (and joy!) it was to see it slowly rising and turning golden brown on top. Phew! With that out of the way, I started to think about how to make the chocolate flakes.

I wasn't quite sure what the best way to make chocolate flakes was. Somehow, using a grater didn't really work for me, so I skipped that idea. Instead, I decided to melt the white chocolate (which I did in a microwave in 30 second spurts) and spread it thinly across a large piece of non-stick baking paper (or parchment paper). The weather was quite cool, so I let it sit out on the table for 15 minutes or so until it set. Then, with an offset spatula, I slowly scraped the chocolate off the paper. I found that I could easily do this without a spatula by gently "crumpling" the paper and let the chocolate flakes fall off. I crushed the flakes into smaller pieces before letting them set in the fridge so that they firmed up into crisp little flakes. I was happy with how they turned out, and they tasted wonderful with the cake too, adding a bit of sweetness and texture to it. I also think it made the cake look quite pretty (besides helping to cover up the not-so-professional-looking frosting).

I was so busy cutting the cake on the day that I forgot to take proper pictures of it. The ones I posted above and below happen to be the last slice of cake, which looks like a mangled mess with strawberries barely clinging onto the frosting. Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised that the cake tasted quite good, although next time, I would probably slice the cake into three layers instead of two, and fill it with more cream and strawberries. And if raspberries are in season, I would definitely add those too!

Delicious poached chicken, with cucumbers, coriander and spring onions

A snapshot of our little chicken rice feast!


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

What a beautiful cake! I love it!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Thanks Katrina!

Mel said...

Hello Fern,
It is a beautiful cake!! I know this must be yummy too. And, your Hainanese Chicken Rice looks so perfectly boiled and chopped up nicely. And also, not missing that plate of beansprouts; "Nga Choi Kai". Real yummy and delicious! what a feast.

Janine said...

that sure is a huge chicken rice feast! and not forgetting the delicious looking cake - loved what you did with the white choc shards :) totally makes it much more sophisticated!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@Mel: Thanks, chicken rice isn't complete without the beansprouts right? :)
@Janine: A big feast but we managed to finish it all! :p

Anh said...

beautiful cake! I like how sweet it looks!

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Happy Birthday to Z! My son is turning 6 next month, so our kids are so close in age! Another reason why I wish to live near you (main reason to eat your food. Haha!).

Beautiful cake Fern! I can't imagine myself baking for my kids' birthdays anytime soon. Practice makes perfect but who's going to eat the failure desserts... I need someone like you to help me bake. ^_^

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

@Nami: I've seen the cakes and desserts you make and they look great, I'm sure your son's face will light up if he sees that you've made him a cake for his birthday. It's all from the heart! Otherwise just use boxed cake mix which are not bad....and anyway kids can't tell the difference! :)

Natalie Atick said...

Oh my goodness!!! This looks so heavenly! I love the decorations. Job well done

Reem | Simply Reem said...

Beautiful cake!!!!
A very happy belated birthday to Z!!
Also that chicken rice feast looks delicious!!!

Fern @ To Food With Love said...

Thanks Natalie and Reem :)