Believe it or not my husband doesn’t like chocolate based desserts that much (rolling eyes!!). I’ve been wanting to make this appealing Swedish Summer Cake for a very long time. The prospect of a three layered cake with cream, custard, and strawberry sounded inviting. I decided that this would be his birthday cake. The only hurdle was where would I find strawberries in September! Frozen ones were the only option. After all, there is a reason why this is a “summer” cake! I bought frozen strawberries from INA market and on D-day realised that they were sour as tamarind. I could have easily made a strawberry rasam.
I deliberately showed Mahesh the picture of the cake so that he wouldn’t accuse me of doing a sloppy job! The cake is meant to look sloppy 🙂 This cake is very easy to put together. But, next time only with fresh strawberries. The cake would taste and look a lot better with fresh ones.
Here is the recipe as it appears in Nigella’s book Kitchen. Red Panda who blogs at http://redpandabakes.blogspot.in/ saved me the effort of typing the recipe.
Swedish Summer Cake
2 egg yolks
2 x 15ml tablespoons caster sugar
2 teaspoons cornflour or potato flour
250ml full-fat milk
½ vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
If using the vanilla pod, put everything in a pot over a low to medium heat, stirring non-stop, until it starts to thicken. Do not let it boil. If using the vanilla extract, put everything in except the extract and proceed as above.
When it starts to thicken – just over 3 minutes at medium heat, but just under 5 if you keep the flame cautiously low – take it off the heat. Remove the vanilla pod, if using.
Transfer to a cold bowl, mix in the vanilla extract, if using, and continue stirring until it is a little cooler, then cover with clingfilm – touching the surface of the custard – to stop the custard getting a skin when it’s cold. Or wet a piece of baking parchment and place that right on top of the custard. I had to whisk in a few teaspoons of sugar before assembling the cake to make up for the sour strawberries.
250g caster sugar
90ml hot water from a recently boiled kettle
1½ teaspoons baking powder
150g plain flour
butter, for greasing
1 x 23cm spring-form or other round cake tin
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line the bottom of the cake tin with baking parchment and butter the sides.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together briskly until pale and moussy and more than double in volume, then, still whisking but slightly more gently, add the hot water.
Mix the baking powder and flour in a separate bowl and gradually whisk these in, making sure there are no lumps. You may need to stop once or twice for a scrape-down.
Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until it is golden, well-risen and a cake tester comes out clean.
Let the cake stand in the tin on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before – carefully – unmoulding and leaving it to cool on the rack.
To assemble the cake
750g strawberries (I used 600 gms)
2-3 teaspoons caster sugar, depending on sweetness of berries (Used a lot more :()
500ml double cream* (Used about 250-300 gms)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract*
Put 250g strawberries to one side, and start preparing the remaining 500g. Hull these, halve the smaller berries and quarter the larger ones, dropping them into a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar – how much depends on how tart or sweet the berries – shake and leave until they glisten: 10 minutes will be just fine, though 1 hour would make them juicier and glossier.
Whisk the double cream and vanilla extract until it holds its peaked shape when the beaters are lifted out.
Fold a third of the whisked cream into the fully cooked vanilla custard you made earlier.
When the cake, too, is thoroughly cool, take out a bread knife and, courageously, slice the cake horizontally into 3 layers. I used toothpicks to mark the points and then proceeded to slice two layers.
The layers weren’t too bad.
Put on cake layer on its serving platter or stand, and top with half the vanilla-custard-cream, then arrange half the macerating strawberries on top, concentrating more on the outer edges of the cake than the center. Top with the second layer of sponge and repeat as before with the rest of the custard-cream and cut berries.