Cakes are so celebratory, which is the perfect reason to make one to celebrate mother’s day. This cake is actually a shout-out to one of my first popular posts back in 2011, the Strawberry Shortcake: my version. It was a cake inspired by the popular Japanese style strawberry shortcake. Back in 2011, blogging was a means of just sharing what I made. I have been trying to find my voice as a blogger and baker since. Here I am, having become a full-time baker, my perspective on baking has different levels of meanings. My mother has always been more than supportive of my baking endeavours ever since I was young. She has never complained that there’s flour everywhere or how I constantly occupy the kitchen, baking away. She is the best. Anyway, I am sharing with you my twist on the strawberry shortcake that I made four years ago. Continuing my experiment in adding herbs to sweets, I chose to add basil to this dessert. Basil and strawberry just complement each other so exceptionally. Since we are celebrating mother’s day, how can we skip the flowers? Edible flowers are a great addition to any dessert, making them look so beautiful and elegant.
- 4 egg, separated
- 100 g / 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 95 g / 3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
- 50 g / basil olive oil* see instructions below
- 60 g / 1/4 cup water
- 1 - 2 drops green food colouring - optional
- *blend 15 g of basil with 65 g of extra-virgin olive oil, strain. Top with more oil if strained oil does not measure 50g / 1/4 cup.
- 250 g / 1 cup whipping cream
- 25 g / 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- vanilla seeds scraped from 1/2 of a bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 gelatin sheet or 1 tsp powdered gelatin
- 2 tbsp water
- 500 g / 1 lb fresh strawberries
- fresh basil
- fresh or sugared edible flowers, if you wish
- Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C. Line the bottom of a half sheet pan or jelly roll pan with parchment, set aside.
- In a mixer bowl or mixing bowl, whip egg whites until it reaches soft peaks, add egg yolks, whip until it is well incorporated. Add in sugar and whip on medium speed until it is light and pale.
- Fold in sifted flour lightly with a spatula just until flour is distributed. Lastly fold in basil oil, water, and food colour if using.
- Pour onto prepared pan, bake for about 10-12 minutes. Bake until it is just cooked, it does not need to colour much because we want it to stay moist. Cool until ready to use. Cut into two 7 inch rounds.
- Soak gelatin sheet in cold water until softened. Gently squeeze out water, heat with 2 tbsp of fresh water in a small pan. If using powdered gelatin, soak it with 2 tbsp cold water in a small pan for 2 minutes, heat until dissolved. Cool for 10 minutes before folding into cream.
- Whip cream, sugar, and vanilla until it reaches soft peaks. Add in gelatin and continue to whip just until it is incorporated.
- In a 7 inch cake ring, line the inside with 3 inch high acetate, or a strip of parchment.
- Place the first slice of cake. Line sides with strawberries sliced in halves, with the cut side touching the acetate or parchment. Spread a thin layer of cream on the inside and place some diced strawberries. Fill with the rest of the cream, reserving about 1/2 cup for the top. be sure to get in the gaps between the strawberries.
- Place the remaining cake on top, top with reserved 1/2 cup of cream, smooth off with a offset spatula. Set in the fridge for about 2 hours.
- Unmould the cake, remove the acetate or parchment. Decorate the top with more strawberries, fresh basil, and edible flowers, if using.
I love how the the cut sides of the fresh strawberries are shown around the cake, it is simple to make yet makes a very attractive presentation. (This is also the signature look for a classic fraisier, a French fresh strawberry cake with Bavarian cream.) The green creates a nice contrast to the red, as the basil flavour complements the strawberries. This cake is not very sweet nor heavy, which I know my mom would love. The basil flavour makes it very refreshing and light.