Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday!

It’s my husband’s birthday. He’s coming home late, but when he does, he’ll get some cake.  This is our traditional homemade birthday cake. It’s light and fluffy, perfect for good fillings like fresh berries and whipped cream or pudding. It’s quick to make, easy as pie … err, cake! Let me show you how.

You’ll need: 4 eggs, 2 dl sugar, 1 dl all-purpose wheat flour, ¾ dl potato or corn starch, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, butter and bread crumbs for the pan, springform pan 9” /22 cm

Start by bringing the eggs into room temperature. It works with cold eggs too, but room temperatured eggs work better. Turn on the oven, 350 F/175C. Prepare the pan by properly buttering it. Then add bread crumbs and swirl them around so they cover all the butter. Measure dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them. Crack the eggs into a bowl and add the sugar. Whip until the batter is light and fluffy. Way back in my grandmother’s kitchen, she taught me to swirl with a stick a number eight on top of the egg-sugar mixture. If you could finish the number before it disappeared, the whipping was done. Add the dry ingredients. I add them through a sieve and carefully turn the batter with a scraper. (Note to self: wipe off hands before picking up the camera! =P) Pour the batter into the pan. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, or until it’s golden brown. Try with a stick if you’re uncertain. Let cool a bit, then turn it over onto a platter. Or remove the side of the pan and with a spatula lift the cake up onto a platter. It doesn’t matter much which side is up. I turned my over. The bottom is often more flat and a bit thicker, this makes it a better foundation for the topping. Let the cake cool completely until you cut and fill.

And then what? What to use for the fillings?

Our all-time favorite is to fill it with whipped cream and fresh strawberries, cover the whole thing generously with more whipped cream and add strawberries on top and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. The local strawberries are out of season so I had to do something else. This is what I found in the pantry: Canned peaches and pineapple, fresh grapes, bananas and one kiwi fruit. Chocolates, of course, there’s always chocolates hiding in our pantry.

This is what to do:

Cut the cake into two or three layers. It’s a bit tricky to get three layers because the cake is so light and porous. If a layer breaks, just fit the pieces together on top of the cake. Like laying a puzzle. Moisten the cake. Spread the liquid over the cake layers as you build the cake. You can use so many things for this, here’s some examples: Water and sugar, as sweet as you like Water, sugar and a flavoring like cognac, a liqueur, or your favorite essence. I like to use Raspberry liqueur Milk Juice, juice mixed with water, juice from canned fruit (not if it’s sugar syrup!), maybe sugar and flavoring Filling Whipped cream that you have whipped, ready whipped cream won’t work. To whip the cream, add whipping cream or heavy cream to a bowl, add some sugar, then beat until it’s firm with soft peaks. Be careful not to over-whip it, if you do, you’ll get butter and buttermilk! Add vanilla if you like. Pudding Fresh or canned fruit or berries or jam Topping Whipped cream that you whipped, same fruit or berries as inside, chocolate shavings or sprinkles Homemade caramel on top, whipped cream on the sides Fruits and berries covered with a jelly, whipped cream or almond paste on the sides

Here’s what I did today:

I cut the cake twice into three layers. I made a cocktail of the juice from the canned pineapple slices, mixed fruit juice, water and cognac. I first moistened the bottom layer, paying attention to moisten the crust. Do not over-do this because the cake is so light and fluffy. You do not want to turn it into a mush. I spread on a layer of vanilla flavored whipped cream, topped with canned peaches cut into thin slices and some chocolate shavings. Then I placed the next cake layer on top and moistened it. Again, I spread whipped cream first, then a layer of banana slices and more chocolate. The last layer I put on with the crust side up and moistened it. I could now have covered the whole cake with whipped cream and it would have been done. But I decided to cover it with fruit and berries and add some jelly glaze on top. My husband likes that! =) He’s home soon. Time to light the candle … Marina