I had penned this post about a year and a half back and had even posted it online. However, a glitch in system erased this post from the blog.
So, here’s reposting this one again because it is actually a real good recipe. Forgive the extra excitement visible in the post as I had actually written it down when the cake was fresh in my mind.
“I have always had a thing for birthdays…Specially when they are mine ;). As a kid, I remember celebrating my birthday every month quiet religiously on the date of my birth. Now, my parents wouldn’t really go all out on the date every month but my mom would rustle up mock cakes to satisfy my enthusiasm (Yes..I did say mock cakes..These were simply bread slices topped with some cream and sprinkles)..In fact, I remember once when she didn’t make one, I sort of threw a tantrum at 12 in the night and she had to make up a “mock cake” to just shut up me up. The Mock cakes have stopped for years now but the love of cakes still prevails.
I celebrated my birthday last week and as always, cake was the first thing on my mind. For a while now, I have had this craving to get a cake designed specially for me..a cake that basically is “Me” on a plate. To give a brief look into me, I basically am a “cat loving human” with an equally crazy love for “flowers and plants”. Combining these loves into my third big love i.e. food was what I wanted. Now, after trying a couple of options for getting the cake made and nothing working out, I was sort of disappointed. I had been planning this cake for almost a year – ever since my birthday last year to be more precise. So, seeing the idea go downhill was a bit heart breaking and I was in no mood to wait for another year to check other potential options that could make me my cake. After pondering for a couple of weeks, I decided to follow the idea “If you want something done well, do it yourself”.
So, came the day and along with it, my baking trays and other stuff that was on the décor plan. This needed some pre-planning but I was a bit-strong headed about this project (which is nothing new as many people who know me would agree..In fact, they would probably call me stubborn). I hunted down some beautiful edible flowers from a speciality shop and some Sugar paste – the two key products that I needed for my cake.
Now came in my mother…I needed her to make me some Sugar paste cats…Of course, I hadn’t kept her in the loop of my plans and jumping on her with this stuff at the last minute wasn’t really a idea I was looking forward to. But I did pounce on her on the destined day nonetheless and pestered her to make me some cats..(She by the way is really good with the sugar paste stuff…I am not too bad too but I was pure lazy at that day :P)..After pleading to her and a bit of whining, she agreed to make me the cats (which I assume was to just get me off her case)..I got her to make five awesomely cute cats which I of course hijacked the moment they were done to paint them..(I wanted a bit of credit too for the cats).
At the end, however, the cake turned out beautiful and exactly what I wanted. It was completely “me” on a plate. The cats, the flowers, the filling and the simple sponge…One of the best cakes I have ever made.
While I am not sure if I will ever make the same cake again (Some things are special and making them a 2nd time takes away that special feeling), I decided to share the recipe on the blog. Feel free to change the décor or filling as you see fit. The cake is a Classic egg-free Victoria sponge with one of my favourite fillings of cream-cheese frosting and fresh strawberry sauce (I dislike using the butter-cream frosting as what is usually used in a Classic Victoria Sponge and hence the change in the filling but choose what you like)…There are absolutely no rules around a Birthday Cake.
Egg-free Victoria Sponge with Cream-cheese and Strawberry filling
For the cake
Plain flour – 1 cup
Baking soda- ½ teaspoon
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Melted butter – 100- 125GM
Condensed Milk – 200GM
Water – 100ML
Vanilla bean – 1 scraped (You can use some bit of Vanilla flavour if you cannot find the bean)
For the Cream-Cheese frosting
Cream Cheese – 100GM
Powdered sugar – 50 to 60 GM
Vanilla bean – 1 scraped
Lemon zest – ½ teaspoon
For the Strawberry Sauce
Fresh strawberries – 1 cup
Powdered sugar – 1 cup
Lemon juice – 1 teaspoon
For the decoration
1 handful colourful edible flowers (Make sure you the only the edible ones)
A few sugar paste cats
- Sieve all the dry ingredients together in a bowl.
- Add in the melted butter and condensed milk and fold in gently.
- Add the water as required (this may require some judgement) and the vanilla bean.
- Grease a cake tin with some butter and place a parchment paper to help ease out the cake after baked (its not absolutely necessary but then you need to make sure the moulds well greased else the cake will break). Dust the tin with a little flour too.
- Pour the batter in the tin and bake in a pre-heated oven (175 degrees C) for about 15-20 minutes or until a knife/skewer comes out clean when inserted in the cake.
- Upturn on a wired rack and pass a thin thread between the centres of the cake horizontally to make exact 2 layers. You can also use a knife but I find the thread better as its finer and results in less crumb wastage.
The Cream-Cheese frosting
- Mix the sugar, scraped vanilla and lemon zest into the cream cheese and beat until well homogenised.
- Leave aside until the final assembly.
The Strawberry Sauce
- Chop the strawberries roughly into pieces.
- Tip these into a pan along with the sugar and heat it up. Don’t put it on a high flame but a low simmer.
- Add the lemon juice to this mix.
- Squish the strawberries with a masher to get all the juices out and to enable them to mix with the sugar.
- Gradually, you will get a jammy sauce coming together as the sugar starts melting and the juices combine with it.
- This should take about 15 minutes.
- You don’t want to over cook the sauce as it will become too thick and non-spreadable but you don’t want it too thin as well as that will be a very runny sauce.
- Its pretty easy to make and not at all scary. You just need to keep an eye on it..thats all.
- Place the bottom layer of the cake on dish where you plan to serve it.
- Spread a layer of the cream cheese frosting. Keep it rustic. Don’t aim for perfection. That’s what the cake is all about (At least that was what I was aiming at..I love the sight of frosting oozing out from the layers of the cake..Gives me a chance to flick it off)
- Next, add a layer of the strawberry sauce on the cream cheese frosting.
- Place the second cake layer over this.
- Spread a layer of the cream cheese again.
- You don’t really need the strawberry later on top as it gets a bit messy and I didn’t want the beautiful strawberry sauce to steal the spotlight away from my edible flowers and cat but add it if you like.
- Top the cake with a handful of the edible flowers. Place the flowers keeping colour contrasts in mind..Dont place pinks and reds together..you need a bit of yellow and purples too.
- The final addition was the Cat..and I sort of created this scene where the cat was sniffing the flowers on the cake and was hiding amidst it.
- Feel free to play around with your imagination. This was mine J