The day when I made this cake was rainy and gloomy. But I was full of energy and positive feelings. The reason: there were lots of strawberries in my fridge and a good cake idea in my head.
Strawberries are probably the best fruit for desserts. Their taste is very nice, their texture and properties make them ideal for creams and their colour is the prettiest decoration for any cake. I haven’t made strawberry sweets for a long, long time, so it was a real pleasure for me to remember how much I love to work with this wonderful fruit.
There were times in my life when I mostly appreciated chocolate sweets. Chocolate ice-cream, chocolate cookies, chocolate truffles, chocolate cupcakes, Sacher cake… I still love chocolate and there has never been even a single day for the last 15 years (at least!) without having it in my house.
However recently I have started to appreciate highly the desserts made with fruits. They are usually lighter and more aromatic than the fruitless ones.
For the base of this cake I used citrus jam instead of sugar. There were 3 reasons for this swap: 1. I realized too late that the sugar left in my kitchen was exactly 170 g; 2. I had a jar of nice citrus jam which I wanted to use in a better way than eating with bread 3. I wanted to make this cake base somehow unusual.
For the citrus base:
170 g all-purpose flour
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon salt
50 ml olive oil
190 g citrus jam
30 g chocolate chips
For the strawberry cream and jelly:
400 g fresh strawberries (+ 300 g for decoration)
200 g heavy cream
1 vanilla bean
170 g sugar
5 g gelatin (+ 3 for the jelly)
Grease a 17 to 20 cm cake pan (depending on how tall you want your cake) and line it with a circle of baking paper. Preheat oven to 180°C.
In a bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.
In a separate large bowl combine olive oil and citrus jam and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the flour mixture and whisk until homogeneous. Add chocolate chips and stir very carefully until just absorbed in the batter.
Bake the cake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top becomes golden brown.
Allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before carefully running a knife around the edge. Remove it from the pan and let cool completely on a rack.
In a small bowl combine 5 g gelatin with 3 spoons cold water and set aside.
Clean and cut 400 g of the strawberries and puree them in a food processor. In a medium saucepan combine the strawberry puree with 100g sugar and the vanilla bean and heat until it starts simmering. Remove from heat. Pour about 30-40 ml of the sweetened puree into a small cup – this part will be used for the jelly.
In a large bowl beat eggs with the rest of the sugar until homogeneous. Add spoonfuls of the hot strawberry puree to the egg mixture, mixing well after each addition. When both mixtures are combined, pour everything back into the sauce pan and bring to boil. Keep mixing until the cream starts thickening. Remove it from the heat and add the soaked gelatin. Stir until the gelatin dissolves.
Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Little by little add the strawberry cream into the heavy cream, folding carefully after each edition. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge before assembling the cake.
Soak 3 g gelatin in 2 spoons water for 5-10 minutes.
Add 3-4 spoons water to the remaining strawberry puree and transfer to a small saucepan. Bring to boil and remove from heat. Add the soaked gelatin and stir until it is dissolved into the puree.
Assembling the cake:
Wash and slice the remaining 300 g strawberries.
When the cake base is completely cold, use a serrated knife to cut it horizontally in 2 equal layers. Place one layer on a serving plate or on a cake stand and fit a pastry ring tightly around it. Top with half of the strawberry cream and insert the cake in the freezer for 5-10 minutes so that the cream gets firmer. Cover with sliced strawberries and place the second layer on top. Spread the remaining strawberry cream and let cool for another 5 minutes in the freezer. Arrange nicely the rest of the strawberry slices on top of the cream. Use a kitchen brush to cover the strawberries with the still liquid jelly.
Leave the cake in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before serving.
Note: If you have leftovers (cream, jelly and cake trimmings) you can make also nice desserts in cups, like I did.