A Sisters Birthday! Strawberry and Lemon Chiffon Cake

I have been constantly thinking of this blog lately, even cooking and taking pictures but just not managing to sit down and upload a post. Unfortunately it seems to be the priority on the list that doesn’t quite happen. I’m determined to break my dry spell.
Today we had a family breaky birthday celebration. Its Alice’s birthday tomorrow but she’s off to LA to style a book so we celebrated today. I made this delicious Strawberry-Lemon Chiffon Cake from my new favourite cake book, Bake It Like You Mean It. ( I was given this book for my birthday this year and so far have only made 2 of the cakes but they have both been fabulous, there are so many more recipes I’m dying to try.)

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I made a few changes to the original recipe in book, purely for taste preferences, here’s my version of the recipe:

Strawberry-Lemon Chiffon Cake with Maple Bavarian Cream:

For the cakes:
1/3 cup canola oil
4 eggs separated
1 tblsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
11/2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 tspns of baking powder
1 tspn salt

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Butter the bottoms but not the sides of 3 x 20cm round cake pans. Line each wiht a round of baking paper. (The cakes need to be cooled upside down in the pans so you don’t want them to slip out too easily.)
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, egg yolks, lemon zest, and lemon juice and stir just to combine the ingredients.

Sift the flour, one third of the sugar, baking powder and salt over the egg yolk mixture and whisk the ingredients until well combined. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add the egg whites and whisk until white and foamy. Slowly add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff, glossy white peaks form.
Gently stir one third of the meringue into the egg yolk-flour mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the remaining meringue into the batter.
Divide the batter evenly among the three prepared pans, smooth the tops and bake for 20 minutes. Invert the pans on a cooling rack but don’t unmould until the cakes are completely cool.

For the cream:

500g fresh strawberries
3 tblspns granulated sugar
1 tspn powdered gelatin
3 tblspns lemon juice
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup mascarpone
2 tblspns maple syrup

Don’t start to make this cream until all the elements of the cake are ready and you are going to assemble.
Reserve about 10 strawberries to finish the cake. Hull and halve the remaining strawberries. In a bowl, toss the strawberry halves with the sugar to macerate.
In a small microwave bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the lemon juice in an even layer. Allow to bloom until all the gelatin granules are saturated and look soggy.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, combine the cream, mascarpone and syrup until stiff peaks form.
Microwave the gelatin mixture in 5 second intervals, swirling in between, until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Allow the mixture to cool for 1 minute.

Stir a heaped spoonful of the cream mixture into the gelatin mixture and stir to temper. Working quickly, fold the gelatin mix into the remaining whipped cream. Use immediately.

To Assemble:

Place one layer of the cake onto a platter. Brush with the juice from the macerated strawberries. Cover the cake with half of the cut strawberries. Spread half of the Bavarian cream over the strawberry lined cake.

Place a second layer of cake over the cream. Press gently to adhere. Brush the layer with the remaining strawberry juice and line with remaining cut strawberries. Spread the remaining cream over the cake and top with the remaining cake layer.

Place the cake in the freezer to set, at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

The Buttercream:

5 egg whites
11/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
3/4 cups fresh lemon juice, divided
455g unsalted butter

Place the egg whites and 1 cup of the granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup of the lemon juice and 1/3 cup water. Stir constantly over a medium heat until the sugar is completely melted. Attach a candy thermometer. As the temperature reaches 107°C start whisking the egg whites so they are foamy before you add the syrup in the next step. Continue heating the syrup until it reaches 116°C.
Once the syrup has reached 116°C, reduce the mixer speed to medium and slowly pour the syrup down the side of the bowl into the whisking egg whites. Once all the syrup is added, increase the mixer speed to high and whisk until the egg whites form stiff, shiny white peaks and the bowl is cool to touch.

With the mixer on medium speed, add the butter a few cubes at a time. When the buttercream starts to look like its curdling, add just one more cube of butter and continue to whisk for a few more minutes until the texture becomes smooth and creamy. Add the remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and whisk until mixed through.

To complete the cake:
Remove the cake from the freezer and ice it with the buttercream. Place the reserved strawberries on top for decoration. Place the cake in the refrigerator to defrost for at least 2 hours. Then allow the cake to sit at room temperature to soften for at least 20 minutes before serving.

It may seem like a long recipe but it is quite simple and will turn out beautifully. Its also handy splitting up the prep and allowing some freeze time for the cake.

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