Finding Balance: Strawberry Cake filled with Sweet Vanilla Mascarpone Cream

June 9, 2011

in American,Cakes,Recipes

Strawberry Cake

These past few weeks seem to be running on an endless-loop of “When it rains, it pours.” type-of-events. The month started off relatively normal during the fist two weeks, attending music recitals and an end of year High School Band banquet. There was also an anticipated 15th birthday however, it wouldn’t take place until the end of the month and luckily, when the birthday boy was asked if he wanted a party; he said he would much rather receive cash so he could buy a new electric guitar and amp instead. (Score!) I also had made it a point a few months ago to ask him what type of cake he would like to have on his birthday, he answered with a simple. “I don’t know… something with strawberries and white chocolate.”

The Birthday Boy

I also knew I needed to schedule my mom’s MVD surgery to correct her trigeminal neuralgia; which she’s been living with for the past three years. As was expected, the status-quo type days seized to exist the day I took her in for surgery. After all, her type of MVD surgery was considered brain surgery and, at a ripe age of 81 you can just imagine what recovery would be like.

Grandma's Surgery

Surgery went extremely well. She was sent home with nothing but Tylenol for the pain which seemed a bit strange to me since she was being given morphine via her IV while at the hospital . But who was I to question, after all my name isn’t followed by the coveted “PhD” title.

Once we got home and the effects of the morphine wore off, she had to endure very strong migraine headaches; The couple of pills of Tylenol and/or Motrin every few hours were doing absolutely nothing for her. The image of the notepad in the above collage is where she would keep track of every post-surgery medication dosage she would take. She started jotting these down as soon as she got home.

Well, since the migraine headaches wouldn’t subside and a mild fever was starting to develop. I decided to take her into the ER to make sure everything was OK and she wasn’t developing an infection.

After a few shots of morphine to help ease the pain and a slue of tests including an MRI. There were no signs of an infection, so we were given the green light to go home.

Graduating with Honors

As faith would have it that particular day I took my mom into the ER was the day Joseph (my oldest) would graduate High School and with Honors!

Needless to say I missed Joseph’s graduation. However, I was relived to find out my mom was infection-free.

Baking/cooking usually bring me balance. However, during these few weeks I found it hard to motivate myself to go into the kitchen, it was practically the last thing on my mind. Nonetheless, I had a request, a very special event to celebrate, and I did not want to let anybody down.

The more I thought of how happy Josh would be once he saw “his” special cake the more I got pumped, and off into the kitchen I went, on a birthday cake mission. (Disclosure: A couple of glasses of red may have been consumed during the baking of said birthday cake)

Somewhat magically -all turmoil seemed to completely disappear as soon as I saw the big smile on the birthday boy’s face just as he was about to make his birthday wish and blow out those birthday candles.

Strawberry Cake

After everything was said and done; I’m happy to report we all enjoyed a slice of this nicely “balanced” strawberry cake.

Fluffy, yet packed with a bold strawberry flavor, thanks to the strawberry puree; this cake was able to find it’s balance with the help of a creamy sweet-vanilla mascarpone filling, freshly sliced strawberries, and thin layer of white chocolate ganache.

We all need a support system sometimes…

5.0 from 1 reviews
Strawberry Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1¾ cup superfine sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup strawberry puree
  • 1 tablespoon strawberry liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 16 ounces mascarpone cheese
  • 2 gelatin sheets, bloomed
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 batch of sweet vanilla mascarpone cream (see below)
  • 4 or 5 fresh large strawberries, sliced
  • 12 ounce white chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • additional fresh strawberries and/or a french macaron for garnish (optional)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper sprayed with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer; place the paddle attachment on the stand mixer and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, and mix on medium-low speed just until incorporated.
  4. Combine strawberry puree, strawberry liqueur, vanilla extract, and milk into a bowl or large mesuring cup. Sift flour and baking powder into another bowl.
  5. Alternate adding flour mixture and liquid mixture to the creamed butter, beat on low until just incorporated. Be careful not to over-mix.
  6. Pour cake batter into the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester come out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes the carefully transfer to a wire rack until completely cooled. Once cool place in the refrigerator while you prepare the Sweet Vanilla Mascarpone Cream.
  7. Remove cake from refrigerator and slice in half so you end up with two 9" x 13" pieces.

 
5.0 from 1 reviews
Sweet Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 16 ounce mascarpone cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 gelatin sheets, bloomed
Directions
  1. Combine mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, confectioners' sugar, and bloomed gelatin sheets over a double boiler. Stir with a whisk until gelatin is dissolved and you have a smooth cream. Transfer to the refrigerator for 1-2 hours to allow cream to thicken.

 

Strawberry CakeStrawberry Cake topped with Sweet Vanilla Mascarpone and sliced StrawberriesThe Birthday Cake is ready...Time for a slice

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