Saturday, 22 June 2013

Strawberry Mousse Cake

Being a classroom assistant occasionally gives me the opportunity to do things I might not otherwise choose to do.  On Wednesday I was told I would be accompanying the P4/P5 trip to Cairnie Fruit Farm that was happening on Friday.  I will admit, I was dreading it.  I heard the word 'farm' and could only think of mud.  I hate mud.  I will avoid walking through it whenever I can, even in boots worn specifically for walking through mud.  If I do have to go through it, I do so on tiptoe and try and do it in the fewest steps possible.  I probably sound a bit mad, don't I, but I've been that way since I was a small child.  You would never have caught little me playing in the mud and I can't understand why any of the kids I work with can stand to.  It's just yucky.

When Friday rolled around, my dread had lessened slightly upon looking up exactly what the place we were going was and discovering that part of it would be fruit picking.  That sounded quite cool and I could come away with fresh fruit to bake with.  There didn't seem to be much else to be concerned about in terms of mud but due to paranoia I had the fiancé's Mum's wellington boots in a bag over my shoulder anyway.  Really I should try to be less paranoid because I ended up carrying them around in said bag all day.  Ah well.

Strawberry picking was fun!  And I learnt several things I didn't know about strawberries.  Like how the fruit grows from the flower on the plant.  So each flower you see on a strawberry plant turns into a strawberry.  They're also called strawberries because they grow best in straw, since it helps to insulate them.  And if they're not pollinated in the right way the strawberries will grow into funny shapes.  It was all really cool.  I came away with a punnet filled to the brim with beautiful red strawberries.  Sonata strawberries I believe they are, which are the second most popular kind in Britain after Elsanta.  They are the preferred strawberry for jam since they are apparently quite sweet.  Can't say that's a bad thing, especially when baking is concerned.  They were all so gorgeous and perfect and ripe and I got so many compared to what I would get at the supermarket.  Plus the punnet was built into the trip fee so I didn't even have to pay for it.  I did fork out for an extra punnet for the fiancé's Mum though, since she'd asked me to get her some.  I also bought raspberry jam for the fiancé and a lovely canvas bag for me (I like souvenirs that last and remind me of where I've been).

So I had a punnet of strawberries that I wanted to bake with but exactly what I should bake took a little bit of thinking.  As much as I love sweet things, I am very picky about them and hence I don't end up eating most of what I bake.  This time I really wanted to make something that I wanted to eat too.  I don't like fruit in cakes so just baking the strawberries into something was not really an option.  However, I like things that taste like fruit and I love strawberry flavoured things.  I figured I could probably think of something I could flavour with the strawberries and once I was on that line of thinking it didn't take long to decide on strawberry mousse.  I could certainly do with more practice with the stuff and mousse cakes can look so pretty. 

I've made chocolate mousse before but this would be my first time attempting it with fruit.  So my first instinct was to go looking for strawberry mousse cake recipes.  I found plenty but a number of them produced quite big cakes and required a lot of ingredients.  I only really wanted to make something small, around 6 inches in diameter since that would be a nice size for myself and the fiancé.  I was also slightly limited by what I had in my cupboard.  The shopping wasn't coming until later that day and I hadn't ordered anything special for baking anyway.  Really, reducing my favourite vanilla sponge cake recipe should provide plenty for the cake base.  So I changed tact in searching and just went looking for a simple mousse recipe instead; preferably one that used white chocolate in it because that sounded yummy.  And I did, though I halved it for my recipe and chose to leave out the chopped fruit. I also decided on a white chocolate border, since the chocolate border I made on the last mousse cake looked rather nice and I didn't have many other options for supporting the mousse.  At some point I will try the acetate ring thing.  The pink stripes were a last minute decision after I remembered I still had some strawberry chocolate buttons and thought a striped pattern would be pretty.  It did turn out to be quite effective so I was rather pleased.

It is a delicious cake.  A nice sponge accompanied by a very light mousse with an obvious strawberry taste but nothing overpowering.  The chocolate is lovely with it.  It was quite enjoyable to eat something I'd baked and actually like the taste.  I've not done it in a long while.  I really wish I wasn't so fussy sometimes.

Recipe - makes a 6 inch cake

Cake - adapted from the Good Food Channel:
  • 1 large egg
  • Caster sugar - weight equal to that of the 1 egg in its shell
  • Unsalted butter - weight equal to that of the 1 egg in its shell
  • Self raising flour - weight equal to that of the 1 egg in its shell
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and grease and line one 15cm/6inch round cake tin.
  2. Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until fluffy and pale.
  3. Separate the egg and whisk the yolk and vanilla together in a jug and add to the butter mix a little at a time, folding it in to add air to the mixture.
  4. Sift in the flour and fold that in also.
  5. Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks and then fold those into the batter until you cannot see any white in the mixture.
  6. Spoon into the cake tin and smooth evenly.  Make a dip in the centre of the mixture with a spoon so the cake bakes flat.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until risen and springy and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  8. Allow to cool in its tin before removing and plating it. 
Chocolate Collar:
  • 60g/2oz white chocolate chips
  • 20g/0.7oz strawberry chocolate buttons
  1. Melt the chocolate in two heatproof bowls over saucepans of gently simmering water.
  2. Meanwhile, use a piece of string or a measuring tape to measure the circumference of the cake (should be about 48cm/19inches).
  3. Cut out a strip of greaseproof paper which is 1cm/0.5inches longer than the length you measured and 7.5cm/3inches tall.
  4. Use pastry brushes to coat the paper with the chocolate, creating thick stripes with the white chocolate and thin ones with the strawberry, trying to space them evenly.  Be sure to make the coating as thick as possible and use all the chocolate.  Paint right to the edge of one short side and both long sides.  Leave 1cm/0.5inches uncoated on the other short side.
  5. Allow to firm up slightly, so that the chocolate has thickened and is no longer runny.
  6. Carefully place the strip around the cake.  Make sure the base of the strip touches the plate and the two short ends match up.  Press against the cake to make sure there are no gaps between it and the chocolate collar or the filling will escape.
  7. Chill in the fridge. 
Strawberry mousse - adapted from Simon Rimmer, via BBC Food 
  • 125g/4.5oz strawberries, plus 7 for decorating
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 115g/4oz white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 tbsp gelatin
  • 25ml/1fl.oz warm water
  • 225ml/8fl.oz double cream
  • 15g/0.5oz icing sugar 
  • Pink food colouring (optional)
  1. Cut the tops off the strawberries and then blend into a purée in a food processor or using a stick blender.
  2. Pass the purée through a fine meshed sieve into a clean bowl to remove any excess pulp and seeds.
  3. Add the lemon juice and mix in.
  4. Melt the chocolate chips in a large, heatproof bowl placed over a pan of lightly simmering water.  Set aside.
  5. Add the gelatin to the water and leave for a few minutes.
  6. Put 65ml/2fl.oz into a saucepan with the icing sugar and sit over a gentle heat until it is warm.
  7. Add the gelatin and stir continuously over the low heat for 5 minutes so the gelatin dissolves.  DO NOT LET IT BOIL.
  8. Pour the cream/gelatin mix into the white chocolate and beat until it is smooth.
  9. Add the purée and mix in.  At this stage you can add a couple of drops of pink colouring if you wish to brighten up the colour.
  10. Whip the remaining cream into soft peaks and then fold into the chocolate mix until incorporated.
  11. Pour on top of the cake.  If you want, drop five drops of food colouring at random points on the mousse and use a toothpick/skewer to swirl them into a pattern.
  12. Return to the fridge and leave to set for about 3 hours.
  13. Carefully remove the greaseproof paper from the chocolate collar.  It should come away easily if the chocolate is thick enough.
  14. Cut the tops off the remaining strawberries.  Place six of them around the outside of the cake.  Cut the last one into six pieces lengthwise and arrange into a star pattern in the centre of the cake.


  1. I tried your recipe!! It worked out great. I used a nine inch pan and doubled the cake recipe. I also gave you credit in my blog! Beautiful cake!

    -Feel free to check my blog out:

    1. Oooh, it's always so exciting to hear someone had success with a recipe I posted. I'm glad it turned out so well. I went and had a look and it looks great.