Paula's birthday cake
My daughters and I have discussions about their birthday parties where they express their wishes – the party’s theme, which foods to serve, and, as I already mentioned, what kind of cake they desire. Paula chose this type of cake – pastry with vanilla, pink and white, and romantic. And so I make this – mild, girlish, light, and juicy – all in one.
6 medium eggs, separated
100 ml neutral oil, such as grape seed
180 ml water
250 g fine brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla seeds
1 lemon zest, finely grated
4 tbsp lemon juice
310 g fine wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
300 g raspberries
6 gelatin sheets
350 ml sweet cream
150 g white chocolate, in pieces
750 g mascarpone
100 g light brown sugar
1 vanilla bean, just the seeds
Prepare the cake base. Heat the oven to 160°. Line a 23‒25 cm pan with removable sides with parchment paper.
In one bowl, add the egg yolks with the oil, water, 2/3 of the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, half the lemon juice, and mix with a whisk. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour to the egg mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites until firm, but soft. Add the remaining sugar and lemon juice, and beat until the egg whites are firm and shiny, but not dry. Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the egg yolks and fold in gently until uniform. Repeat with another 1/3 of the egg whites and then the final 1/3. Pour the batter into the pan and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and cool in the pan until just warm. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack, removing the sides, and cool completely.
While the cake base is baking, prepare the cream. Process the raspberries in a blender and then push through a sieve. In a bowl, soften the gelatin sheets according to the instructions on the package. Heat the cream in a pot, add the chocolate, let sit for 2 minutes, and stir. Cool in the fridge.
When the white chocolate mass has cooled, whip the mascarpone with sugar and vanilla seeds until creamy. While the mixer is running, add the white chocolate and whip. When it is fully incorporated, turn the mixer on high and add the cream. Whip until the cream is firm, but creamy. Melt the gelatin in a water bath and add 4/5 of the gelatin to the mass.
Separate the cream in two bowls. In one, add the raspberries and remaining gelatin**; leave the other as is. Cover the cream in the bowls with cling film so a skin does not form on top, and chill in the fridge for several hours until firm.
Cut the cake base horizontally into four layers. Smooth the pink cream on the bottom layer, the white cream on the second layer, repeat with the pink, and top with the white. Spread the pink cream halfway up the sides and spread the white cream up the remaining half, merging the pink and white. Place in the fridge for 12 hours for the flavours to meld. Before serving, decorate as you wish. For instance, a birthday cake can be decorated with fresh flowers, but be sure they are not sprayed with chemicals. Serve.
Recipe: Signe Meriane, from book "Time to cook"
Photo: Armands Meirans