Monday, January 6, 2014

Of Whipping Cream and Sponge Cake: The Classic Fruit Birthday Cake

Kids like me who grew up eating the stereotypical Asian fruit birthday cake would feel nostalgic about it. I remember envying other kids who got a chocolate cake or a cake full of buttercream icing for their birthday, I told myself that I would get that one day. And when it happened, well, things have changed! Thereafter, never again, I envied those kids. I started to have a strong liking for that typical American Asian birthday cake.

The recipe itself contains 2 parts, one is a sponge cake and the other is the whipped cream.

I completely forgot to take a picture of a slice of cake, but I'm sure you can imagine how it looks, or at least, try to do it to see how it looks! For your information, it has two layers of sponge cake with a filling of fruits and whipping cream in between.


For sponge cake:
120 g all-purpose flour
2 g baking powder
2 g vanilla sugar
4 large eggs (separated into egg white and egg yolks)
130 g granulated sugar (separated into 45 g and 85g)
50g milk
25g vegetable oil
1 g cream of tartar

For whipping cream:
500 mL heavy cream
100 mL granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine the all-purpose flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar and sift them.

2. Then prepare a meringue: separate the egg white from the egg yolk. With a mixer, start beating the egg white. In a bowl, combine 85 g of granulated sugar with the cream of tartar. When the egg white starts to turn white, gradually add in the mixture of sugar and cream of tartar. Do not add it at once, add it in 3 or 4 times to let the dried ingredients mix well with the egg white. This will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes, until the meringue reaches stiff peak. Let it aside.

3. Now beat the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar (45 g). When it is well mixed, add in the vegetable oil. Let it beat for several minutes until the egg yolk mix becomes pale yellow and fluffy.

4. Preheat the oven at 375°F.

5. Add the milk and lightly beat it. Then by hand, mix the dried ingredients from step 1. When the batter is well mixed, add some meringue. The meringue must be added in at least 3 times. Gently fold in one direction. This step is very delicate, changing directions of folds or overdoing the mixing could cause the sponge cake to lose its volume while baking. Once the batter is mixed well, pour it in a 12 inches cake pan.

6. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top becomes golden brown. Once you take it out, do not forget to tap it from the bottom so that the hot air can escape and prevent the cake from flattening. Let it cool for an hour before manipulating it.

7. Meanwhile, wash some strawberries and kiwis and wipe them dry. You can use other fruits than strawberries and kiwis, it is all up to your taste. Select the best looking strawberries to decorate them on top. Slice the rest of the strawberries and the kiwi. Take some paper towel and tap on the sliced fruits to remove the extra moisture.

8. Now, let’s prepare the whipping cream. Pour the heavy cream in a mixer to beat it. Add in some vanilla extract and start adding sugar when the heavy cream gradually thickens. Add the sugar in several times. Beat until the whipping cream reaches the consistency that you desire and put it in the fridge until the cake is completely cool.

9. When the cake is cool, slice it horizontally. Spread a thin layer of whipping cream on the top of the bottom slice of cake. Then place the sliced strawberries. Then before placing the other slice of cake, spread some more whipping cream. When placing the second slice, gently pat to make it even. Now spread the rest of the whipping cream and decorate it with the rest of the fruits on top. To make it even better looking, sprinkle some powdered sugar and cocoa powder.

Good luck and enjoy! 

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