I would like to believe that summer has arrived…. but I am not convinced. Today seemed to be pretty sunny and warm (although I saw little of it being stuck in an airless office), but the forecast for tomorrow is for yet more rain.
Sunshine or not, the annual gorging of strawberries and other warm-weather berries is now well under way……. and whether you are a Wimbledon watcher or not, you need no excuse to find creative ways to join the feast.
I have been wanting to attempt a gluten free Genoise sponge for some time. Being light in texture, it seemed the ideal base for a summery mousse cake made with some of those bright red seasonal jewels….. A celebratory cake fit to adorn the dessert table and perfect to round off a balmy afternoon barbecue or garden party. Okay…… the prospect of ‘balmy’ temperatures may be a little over-optimistic, but this dessert is a show-stopper served at the usual indoor dining table too and guaranteed to impress your guests.
It would also be a splendid offering for a Strawberry Tea in aid of Breast Cancer Care this month.
The beauty of this cake is that it looks way more complicated to make than it is. The strawberries placed round the side look as inviting as they do dramatic with their eye-catching bright red richness, yet they take no effort at all to place.
Genoise sponge originates in Italy and is characterised by the particular method in which it is made. It uses no chemical leavening, instead relying on air being whisked into and held in the batter to give volume and rise.
Having tried to find a decent recipe on the internet for a gluten free version of Genoise, I quickly realised that the very limited number of options was an indication of its potential difficulty……. Time to grab a traditional wheat recipe and go for gluten free trial and error!
This is my first attempt and I will be honest, that while it isn’t a bad effort, I am not entirely happy with it. It isn’t that the process to make it is difficult, but I think it needs a little more work to get a better rise and slightly more moisture…… The basic principles are now in place however for me to build and improve. I also think that next time I will use a smaller tin, to ensure a slightly thicker base.
On the other hand, as a base to a mousse cake, the sponge worked well and provided a good foundation. Besides……. the cake was too pretty not to blog and I felt my efforts should nonetheless be shared as a positive first stab. After all, gluten free baking is for most of us, a creative and experimental journey.
The mousse is rich and creamy and being a combination of whipped cream and mascarpone, it set around the pureed strawberries with a beautifully soft, mallowy texture.
I have added the swirls of chocolate ganache primarily as decoration, but they do add an extra dimension of decadence, flavour and colour and are definitely to be recommended.
I am sharing this perfectly summery Strawberry Mousse Cake with the following linkies for July :
A newly revamped #TheFoodCalendar with Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen. This Strawberry Mousse cake is ideal for a Breast Cancer Care Strawberry Tea.
Love Cake with Ness at Jibber Jabber, who’s theme for the month is ‘garden party’.
Free From Fridays with the Free From Farmhouse.
Simple & in Season with Feeding Boys.
Strawberry Mousse Cake
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/gas 4
- Base-line a deep 8 to 9 inch (20 to 23 cm) round springform baking tin with baking paper.
- Weigh and mix together the flours and cocoa powder. Set aside.
- Put the eggs and sugar in a glass bowl over (but not touching) lightly simmering water. Whisk with an electric whisk until thick, pale, moussey and doubled in volume (it should hold a trail when you lift the beaters).
- Remove from the heat and gently fold in the melted butter.
- Sift the flour-cocoa mix into the batter and quickly, but gently fold in.
- Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until risen and ‘golden’.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely before removing from the tin.
- When cold, remove and wash the tin. Reline both the base and sides of the tin with clean baking paper, ready to assemble the mousse cake.
- Place the sponge back into the base of the tin.
- Whisk together the cream for the mousse with 2 tablespoons of the icing sugar until it holds soft peaks. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the mascarpone, pureed strawberries, vanilla and remaining icing sugar until well-blended and smooth.
- Gently fold the cream into the strawberry mixture.
- Place a line of halved strawberries around the sides of the cake tin, sitting on top of the sponge base and facing cut side outwards.
- Spoon the mousse onto the sponge base and spread evenly to the strawberry-lined sides.
- Place in the fridge to set for at least 2 to 4 hours until set.
- When ready, make the ganache : Place the chopped chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat the cream over a low heat until just starting to simmer. Do not let it come to the boil, but remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
- Leave to stand for a couple of minutes to allow the chocolate to begin to melt and then stir through until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.
- Allow to cool until it reaches a good consistency for drizzling. Drizzle in circles over the mousse cake to decorate.
- Top with an extra couple of strawberries and serve.