The thing is, I don’t really bake fruit desserts and I am not sure why, its not that I don’t like them. Maybe because I really like fruit and prefer eating it on its own but then again, maybe not. And yet here I am with another fruit dessert, a strawberry cake this time. Gotta use strawberries while they are in season!
The cake was inspired by my favorite cake in a patisserie called Zvezda stationed here in Ljubljana where I live. It has a golden sponge filled with vanilla pastry cream, strawberry jam and pineapple. I made mine not with strawberry jam but rather with chopped strawberries and I like it better that way. In this recipe I used canned pineapple just because I wanted to add the juice from the can to the simple syrup. If you are using fresh pineapple just make the simple syrup without the pineapple juice. Love those two fruits and they are an amazing combination in this cake. The cake is light, summery and the fruit just completes it with the tartness.
Now I think you understand why I didn’t just want to go there and buy myself a piece, which is not cheap, I wanted to have a whole cake. For myself. And maybe share some… Because I’m nice like that.
I decorated the top of the cake with some fruit and pastry cream (be sure to cover the fruit with some apricot or any other jam so that the fruit stays fresh longer). On the picture you can see I covered the sides with toasted sliced almonds but once I replaced them with chocolate shavings and I prefer that version, you decide for yourself.
125 g sugar
125 g flour
25 g butter
500 ml milk
1 vanilla bean
5 egg yolks
100 g sugar
20 g flour
25 g corn starch
pinch of salt
5 g powdered gelatin
50 g butter
100 g double cream
190 g chopped strawberries
160 g canned chopped pineapple
+ some more fruit for decoration
180 ml water
90 g sugar
2 tbsp rum (optional)
5 tbsp pineapple juice from canned pineapple
In a heat proof bowl combine yolks, sugar, corn starch, flour, salt and a little milk to make a smooth texture. In a pan heat the rest of the milk with scraped vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean just until boil. You can also add the vanilla bean to milk and strain it after you boil the milk or save it to make vanilla extract or vanilla sugar. For more vanilla flavor you can also add a little vanilla extract to the mixture. Slowly pour hot milk over the egg yolk mixture while whisking to prevent curdling. Pour the mixture back into the pan and cook it, whisking constantly, for about 2 min or until it thickens.
Remove from heat, mix in gelatin (that you prepared according to their instruction) and butter until they are fully incorporated and melted in the cream, then cover with a plastic wrap in a way that the plastic touches the pastry cream so it does not form a skin and let it cool. At this point go work on the sponge. When the pastry cream is cooled, put it in a mixer and mix in lightly beaten double cream.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and dust a 25 cm round cake tin with flour.
Beat the sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl sitting over a pan with simmering water until the mixture gets hot. Then remove it from the heat and continue to mix it until it doubles in volume, about 10 min.
Melt the butter and add it to the egg mixture while whisking it. Sieve the flour and gently fold it in the egg mixture with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Fold just until the flour is incorporated, be careful not to over-mix so the sponge can rise properly. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for around 25 min. Check if the sponge is baked by inserting a toothpick or a clean knife in the middle of the sponge, if it comes out clean with no wet batter on, its done. Let the sponge cool and then cut it into 3 even layers.
Place all the ingredients into a pan and heat it until sugar is dissolved.
Soak the first layer of sponge cake with 1/3 of simple syrup then spread on 1/3 of the pastry cream and layer half of the strawberries and pineapple on top then cover with second sponge layer. Repeat the process. Soak the third layer of sponge and cover the whole cake with remaining pastry cream (leave some if you want to decorate the top of the cake with piped pastry cream as I did). There has to be just enough cream on the sides so that silvered almonds or chocolate shavings can stick to it.
Decorate the top with fruit and piped pastry cream and cover the sides of the cake with chocolate shavings or toasted sliced almonds. Put in the fridge and enjoy after few hours.