I don't know about you, but I use cookbooks less and less frequently to look for foodie inspiration. I love my cookbooks, I have a huge and colourful pile. I love the glossy pictures, the feel of it and the smell of it. But if I'm looking for something in particular I mainly browse the internet for inspiration--probably because I'm lazy and its quick, and the mind is instantly injected with a million and one ideas.
I pore over my cookbooks when I'm sitting back and relaxing with a cuppa, but they're more occasionally used than internet recipes, sadly.
I love seeing a cookbook pried open in my shabby chic cookbook stand on my kitchen buffet, it always makes me want to bake and bake and bake. Every time I come into the kitchen I look at it and think of my next creation. There's always something in that stand waiting to be made. At the moment it's Margun Carless' cookbook Love Menu, spread at a page sporting gorgeous poached pears in champagne. I can't wait to make that on Wednesday night for hubby and our late dinner dessert.
But sometimes I want to make something that is an original of sorts. Something different and experimental and that has arisen from me. And then I come up with some sort of concoction. As I previously mentioned, this is the month of strawberries. I actually had a dream about this cake I came up with. On later research I saw similar cakes, sort of a combination between a strawberry charlotte, and also those gorgeous pink mousse cakes with the jelly layer on top (Mirror cakes, I think they're called)
Anyway, I ignored all recipes and just went into the kitchen and started banging around. I had no idea how it was all going to work out, and actually thought I'd made a big fat flop while it was all setting...until I cut a slice out of that cake.
Oh my. It was delicious and visually as I had imagined it to be--layers of strawberry mousse, buttercake and a thick line of bright red jelly in the centre, topped with grilled crumble and roasted strawberries. Delicious!
You will need two different sized round pans for this recipe, the larger being a springform pan. The cake and the jelly layer are made in a smaller pan in order that the mousse sits around the cake and the jelly layer.
STRAWBERRY MOUSSE JELLY CAKE WITH CRUMBLE TOPPING (A Lick the Spoon Original)
1 buttercake, made in an 18x18cm round pan
85g packet strawberry jelly (jello) crystals
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup cold water
800g strawberries, hulled
1 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
6 1/2 tsp gelatin powder
1/4 cup lemon juice
500ml thickened cream
4 tbsp. sugar, extra
85g strawberry jelly (jello) crystals, extra
1 cup boiling water, extra
3/4 cup cold water, extra
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup plain flour
1/4 cup toasted muesli
1 tbsp butter or margarine
To begin with, take one 85g packet of strawberry jelly crystals and combine it with 1 cup of boiling water in a medium sized bowl. Stir until the crystals dissolve, then add 3/4 cup cold water. Grease a 18cm x18cm round pan and line with plastic wrap, ensuring there is an overhang of 2 inches. Pour the liquid jelly mixture into this and place in the refrigerator to set.
Puree the strawberries in a food blender until fine and no lumps remain. Push puree through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds, discard residue.
Place the lemon juice in a small bowl. Evenly shower the gelatin over the top and set aside to soften for a few minutes.
Place puree and white granulated sugar in a medium saucepan and place on low heat, stirring occasionally, until small bubbles start appearing around the edges of the pan. Add the lemon gelatin mixture and stir until well incorporated into the puree and dissolves. Remove from heat and set aside, to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, whip the cream and extra sugar in a medium bowl, until firm peaks appear.
Take a 20x20cm round springform pan and grease the sides. Line the bottom and the sides with baking paper.
Cut the buttercake down the centre horizontally. Place the bottom half in the centre of the springform pan. Remove the jelly from the refrigerator, using the plastic wrap overhang to lift it from the pan. Gently position the jelly layer on the bottom layer of the cake. Place the top layer of the cake over the jelly layer.
Gently fold the strawberry puree mixture through the whipped cream until well combined. Pour this cream mixture over the top of the cake. (If you were like me and were too hasty and didn't let the strawberry puree cool down enough and it melted the cream, do not fret! It will be liquidy and the cake will "float" but it will still work just fine!) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to set, for two or more hours. When the mousse layer has set, take the extra jelly crystals in a medium bowl and pour the extra cup of boiling water over them. Stir until well dissolved and then add the extra 3/4 cup of cold water. Set aside until this mixture reaches room temperature, then pour over the top of the cake for the final layer of jelly. Place in refrigerator to set.
To make the crumble to top the cake, combine brown sugar, flour and toasted muesli in a bowl. Rub the butter into this mixture using your fingers until a crumbly dough forms. Lay this mixture on a lined baking tray under the grill on high for a minute, or until golden brown. Remove and cool, then add roasted strawberries.
When the final jelly layer has set on the cake, remove the side of the springform pan very gently. Carefully peal back the sides of the baking paper from the mousse. Serve chilled with a sprinkling of the strawberry crumble mix.