Monday, March 28

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake

Because my work schedule varies so wildly (I either start work at 5:30 pm or 10 am or 1 or 2 pm), so does my sleep schedule.
And because of that, I feel like a zombie.

And zombies don't bake.
I think.

I'm pretty sure they prefer their brains raw.

But I digress.
With this recipe comes another side of excuses. It seems to be my MO lately, but such is life. I finally have enough money to properly bake, but of course I don't have the time to do it as often as I'd like.
Life, eh?

And starting at the end of May, I'll be in culinary school (yahoo!), so there's another obstacle.
But on the other hand, it'll teach me new things to do, though I won't be doing pastry for a while yet.

I kept looking for recipes to use, because I'd never made one of these before, but none of them /seemed/ right. So I just used my own sponge recipe, and my own stabilized whipped cream recipe. None of the recipes I saw for the whipped cream had enough gelatin, and I wanted it to set up really well, so it would slice cleanly.
Anyway, I think I got it, but next time, instead of just slicing the strawberries in half, I'll chop them up and mix them into the cream. It looks nicer sliced, but it's harder to get through them with your fork without smashing the cake to bits, haha.

I really really like this cake better than the American version. I much prefer the delicate sponge over a biscuit base. And the stiffer cream is nicer. And it's prettier. So Japan wins this one :)

Japanese Strawberry Shortcake:

Sponge cake:
3 eggs, separated
1 whole egg
50 g flour
50 g sugar
50 g oil
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Handful of strawberries, for assembly, later.

This is a super duper easy recipe to remember. 50/50/50, haha.
If you guys don't have a scale yet, get one. For things that are really delicate, it's indispensable.

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line an 8x8 pan, or a cake pan. (8 inches should be okay for that, but you'll probably have thinner layers)

Whip the egg whites until really frothy. Add in the sugar, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Beat the egg yolks, whole egg, flour, oil, salt, & vanilla until totally combined.
It should be yellow, and a very very thick and odd texture. If you pick up the spoon/whisk/beater and think "what the hell is this?", then it's right.

Mix a few spoonfuls of the egg whites into that mixture, just to make it lighter and easier to fold the rest of the whites into. Trust me, any time you have to fold egg whites into a really thick batter like this, do that trick.
Fold the rest of the egg whites into it, making sure to fully incorporate them. (I made this cake once and was very lazy and I had random spots of cooked meringue in my cake because I didn't mix it well.) So just make sure it's uniform in color, with no streaking.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. (It's better to slightly overbake this cake than underbake it)

Let the cake cool and get started on the whipped cream.

Stabilized whipped cream:
1 1/2 cups of whipping cream
1/2 cup of sugar (you can adjust this depending on your tastes. I tend to add a bit more because I am a sugar junkie >__> )
2 1/2 Tbsp gelatin (that's generally one packet)
1 Tbsp cold water

Put the cold water in a small dish and bloom the gelatin. (sprinkle it over the water and wait until it's absorbed all of it)
Microwave it for a few seconds, until it's liquid.
Set aside to cool.
Whip the cream and sugar to stiff peaks.
If your gelatin still hasn't cooled down enough (ie, it's still steaming, like mine was), pour a bit of the cold cream into it. Works like a charm.
Pour the gelatin into the whipped cream with the mixer going, making sure to get it all incorporated, but don't whip it so much it makes butter!

Level your cake, and split it into two layers.
put a very thin layer of whipped cream down, then place cut, sliced, or chopped strawberries down. (this helps to keep the strawberry juice from making the cake soggy).
Cover the strawberries completely with more cream.
Put the top layer on then ice the top with cream.
You can do the sides, but I think it looks fine with just the top done :)
Let chill in the fridge for at least a half an hour, so the gelatin can set up at least a little.
Slice into cute little rectangles and garnish with strawberries :)


Thursday, March 3

Chocolate, Banana & Caramel Entremet

I feel like whenever I open up the "create post" page on blogger, I have to find new words for apologies. My life really hasn't been conducive to posting, and so it's just hard to find the time/money. Also, I live in a basement apartment now, with no natural lighting (except for a tiny, high up window in my bedroom), so my photographs suffer.
I did buy a new lamp with some daylight CFL bulbs, and that greatly improved my photos!

Anyway, I finally decided that I would make something for the blog. Something pretty.
Unfortunately, my first attempt (a blood orange and pear entremet) didn't work as well as I'd hoped. It just didn't look as good as I wanted, and the cruddy lighting I had didn't help. It was sponge cake, mousse, and gelee. I wasn't a huge fan of the gelee, at least with that cake, so the next one I did was just mousse and cake.

And that brings me to what I'm going to show you guys today! A bit of warning: The following recipes are a result of some Frakensteining. But it's really really really good. Really good. REALLY. GOOD. Haha okay. If you're going to attempt it, make sure to read through the entire recipe. Certain things need to be finished in certain orders, because of the nature of the gelatin in the mousse and all of that. So even though all the recipes will come first, make sure to follow the order/timing of the assembly section :)

Chocolate, Banana, Caramel & Pecan Entremet:
(makes 1 8x8 entremet, will probably need to be trimmed)


Chocolate Sponge Cake and Pecan Sponge Layer:
3 eggs, separated
1 whole egg
50 g of oil
50 g flour
50 g sugar
3 tbs cocoa powder
1 c coarsely ground pecans
dash of cinnamon

3 mousses:
1 cup heavy cream
1 Tbs sugar
1 banana
1/2 cup of chocolate
3 Tbs butter
1/2 cup of caramel
2.5 tbs gelatin (one packet)

Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 c heavy cream
1 c chocolate (this will probably make more than you need, but store it in the fridge or something XD)


Sponge cake:
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whisk the egg whites until frothy. Add the sugar, and whip to stiff peaks.
Whisk together the egg yolks, whole egg, and oil. Sift in the flour, and mix until it's well incorporated.
Mix a couple of spoonfuls of the egg whites into the yolk mixture, to make it easier to fold in. Then fold the lightened yolk mixture into the whites, carefully.
Set aside 1/4 of the mixture, and carefully fold in the pecans and the cinnamon. Spread out that mixture on a covered sheet pan, in approximately the size of the pan you're going to assemble the whole cake in. (if you have multiples of the same size, go ahead and bake it in a pan. I'm just trying to save you washing dishes XD)
Bake it until it's lightly browned on top, and set it aside.
Carefully mix the cocoa powder into the rest of the batter, and bake it in an 8x8 pan for ~15 minutes, or until it's lightly browned on top. (you can also use the toothpick test, but be careful, it might fall)
Set that aside, but wash out your pan.

Bloom the gelatin over 2 tbs of cold water
Whip the cream to stiff peaks (but be careful not to make butter!)
Puree the banana, with the Tbs of sugar. Warm it up a little, and stir 1/3 of the gelatin into it, making sure it melts completely. Immediately fold into 1/3 of the whipped cream.
Melt the chocolate with the butter over low heat. add in 1/3 of the gelatin, mix, and fold into 1/3 of the whipped cream
Melt the caramel, mix in the remaining gelatin, and fold into the remaining whipped cream.

Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour over the chocolate, and stir until completely combined. Let cool before topping the entremet.


Place the pecan sponge in a lined 8x8 pan.
Make the banana mousse, spread it over the sponge, and level it off with an offset spatula (greatest invention ever)
Split the chocolate sponge into two layers. Place one layer on top of the mousse, pressing down slightly.
Make the chocolate mousse, apply, and level.
Place the second layer of chocolate sponge.
Make the caramel mousse, apply, and level.
If the ganache is already room temperature, go ahead and pour a thin layer on top. If not, put the whole entremet in the freezer for a bit, and then pour the ganache on top.

Let it sit in the fridge overnight, slice, and enjoy. (because you deserved it...that was a lot of work!)

If you guys want the recipe/instructions for the caramel corkscrew & the candied pecan, just ask in the comments, and I'll put them in another post. :)

I'm sleepy now...bye! Haha :)