What’s Cooking – Gateau – My Very Special Birthday Cake

A few years back I forgot about Mark’s birthdays. I was stuck in the house, with no car and no gift. I wasn’t a happy puppy. Mark was working late, so I thought to myself “Lets bake a Special Birthday Cake”. I still had lots of time, as he was not due to return for another 5 hours. I took some cookbooks and started my search. Unfortunately all the recipes which I liked where either to hard for me to make or they required ingredients which I did not have. I went with option B. I took a basic recipe for a sponge cake, which I learnt ages ago while in elementary school and decided to make a twist on it. This was the result.

 

Gateau
Gateau – My very special birthday cake

FOR THE WHITE CAKE

4 eggs, separated

1 tbsp caster sugar

5 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

FOR THE DARK CAKE

4 eggs, separated

1 tbsp caster sugar

5 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp cocoa powder or drinking chocolate

FOR THE DRIZZLING SYRUP

50ml boiling water

2 tsp caster sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

A good dash of vodka – can be flavoured (I am Polish after all)

FOR THE FILLING

1 60g pack of Vanilla Budyn* (Polish confectioner’s custard) or make your own, making sure it is set and not runny

Half 450g jar of strawberry conserve

FOR DECORATION

500g strawberries cut into slices

1-2 kiwi fruits, sliced

2 x 135g packs of strawberry jelly

*Vanilla Budyn is available from most supermarkets in the Polish food section.

1 Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4 and grease 2 (23cm / 9”) cake tins

2 Make the dark and the white cakes. Whisk the egg whites (using an electric mixer and/or hand mixer) until peaks form and slowly add the sugar while still beating. Then add the egg yokes still beating, but on slow.

3 Add the flour and baking powder and fold in gently (for the dark cake add the cocoa or chocolate here).

4 Pour the mixture into the prepared baking tins and bake for about 40 minutes or until firm and springy to the touch.

5 While the cake is cooking make the syrup. Place the boiling water into a jug and add the caster sugar, stir until dissolved. Add the lemon juice, a good dash of vodka and stir. Set aside to cool down

6 To make the filling, follow the instructions on the pack of the custard (Vanila Budyn), put aside and allow to set.

7 Once the cakes are baked and have cooled completely with a large knife cut off the peaks so you are left with flat tops on both cakes which will be easy to stack. Cut each cake into 2 thin cakes so that you have 4 pieces of flat cake. You will only need 3 pieces to build your final cake so if you break one during trimming or cutting you can still make the cake!

Drizzle each piece with the syrup and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes.

9 Now start assembling your cake. Place the first piece of cake back into the baking tin, spread a generous layer of strawberry conserve on top and lay the middle cake, in a different colour, on top of that. Put a layer of custard over the top, followed by a layer of sliced strawberries and top with the final piece of cake. Once you have finished assembling, you can arrange the fruits on top.

10 Finally prepare 2 packs of strawberry jelly as per instructions. Allow to cool, but not set – the jelly needs to be pourable! When cool, pour all over the cake until the cake tin is full. Place in fridge for a few hours to fully set.

Mark loved it and my forgetting his birthday went without notice, good rescue hey!

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