Made this birthday cake for one of my extended family members. It's her birthday today. It's gonna be a very special day, since it's 07-07-07 today!
Well, this is only the 3rd birthday cake I've made since I started my baking journey last August, and it's the very first time I made this for someone outside my immediate family. I didn't inform the birthday girl that I'll be making her a cake until the very last minute...just before the cake was ready to pack and go...as I wasn't very confident how the cake would turn out, I thought, if it's not too presentable, I will have to keep it for our own consumption ;)
This is actually a simple 3-layer sponge cake. I used whipped cream and fresh mango as fillings, and decorated the cake top with strawberries. Don't ask me how could strawberries go well with mango?? The true is, I don't know how to decorate a cake with mango slices, haha! Since I am also not good at frosting a cake, the best way is to use the strawberries to cover up the entire cake top and those ready-made sponge fingers (or ladies fingers) are great to hide the uneven frosting at the sides ;)
Here's how the cake came about:
I used the same sponge cake recipe which I have been using where 4 eggs are beaten with sugar & some salt. It is important to leave the eggs at room temperature before beating. I'm not sure why, but I think the eggs are easier to whip at room temperature. By the way, this photo was taken with my left hand holding the mixer and the right hand holding the camera.
Beat the egg mixture at the highest speed of your electric mixer...and it'll probably take about 8 ~ 10 mins to reach the ribbon-like stage. Can you see the "ribbon" formed on the batter?
Fold-in the sieved flour gently...do this by lifting the batter with a spatula from the bottom of the bowl and turning the bowl at the same time...it's kind of hard to describe this part...just make sure not to deflate the batter too much. The batter will look a little lumpy at this stage.
Pour out about a third of the batter and mix it in a separate bowl with the salad oil. Then combine the mixture with the remaining batter. This method helps to prevent the batter from being deflated too much when you mix a denser liquid like oil with the batter. This is how the batter looks like when the salad oil and then milk are added. The mixture should look smooth now.
Pour batter into an 8-inch prepared pan (lined with parchment paper) and it should be about 70% full. Slightly lift up the pan and gently give it a few "bangs" on the table. This will help to release some of the air bubbles trapped in the batter.
It's so interesting to see how the cake bakes in the oven. If you stand in front of the oven long enough, you will notice that there are actually 3 distinct stages of the baking cycle. During the initial baking time, the batter will appear to sink in the middle of the cake pan. Subsequently, it will inflate and rise up above the baking pan (as shown in this photo). Eventually, when the cake is almost done, it will shrink back to the height of the cake pan. Interesting, isn't it??
Here's the sponge cake that was baked to a nice golden brown.
I read from somewhere that the cake should be cooled inverted. This way, the top of the cake will be very even.
It's so satisfying to look at a nice, evenly baked sponge cake. I thought it looks good enough to be eaten plain.
Here's how I filled up the layers with non-dairy whipping cream and fresh mango slices. This was done quite haphazardly...as I knew I could cover up whatever mess with the sponge fingers ;p
Finally, after lining-up the ring of sponge fingers, I covered the top with strawberries. These strawberries are quite huge...as a result, the cake was a little too tall for the cake box I bought...I couldn't even close it properly :( I got to secure the sponge fingers with a ribbon as I was quite sure they would fall apart during the delivery. Fortunately, the cake was delivered to the birthday gal in good condition.
As I won't get a chance to have a piece of this cake, it sets me wondering how this 'strange' combination will taste like?! I just hope it will not taste too odd to have strawberries, mango, sponge layer and the ladies fingers all in one slice of cake =)