As you get older, there is one question that gets harder and harder to answer. It gets asked year after year, “What do you want for your birthday?” When I was a little girl, it was all about the dolls. A new outfit for Barbie and I was happy. A Barbie dream house that could open and close, complete with a handle to carry it around, and I was ecstatic.
After the Barbie stage, I became interested in books in a big way. It was a giant, slimy, squishy, green Bookworm material kind of way. All I wanted was a new book to feast my eyes on. When I found a new series of magic and fantasy books, I’d read for hours on end, revelling in the made up worlds and super powers of people blessed with the amazing ability to chant spells or read minds or travel on a flying chair.
If you asked me what I wanted for Christmas this year, it would be a very vague response. Something like “time with friends” or something corny like, “to see that smile on your face more often” (so smooth, Jen). Although there are always a few things on my consumerism driven wish list, I have learnt that the thing that makes me the most happy is having friends that make me feel safe and loved, and friends who I can hug and care about too.
So, to celebrate Ash’s 25th Birthday, I wanted to share with him all those things I love about life and the things we both have a soft spot for. A celebration is never complete without friends, so we went to Red Spice Road for dinner, then in true ice-cream addicted fashion went to Spring St Grocer for dessert in the cold Melbourne twilight. We then wandered around Big W looking for a hot water bottle and tennis balls for Merv. It was a relaxed night, without any frills or decorations, but it had all the elements that we needed; good company, good food and good will for the future.
At the end of the day, you are most influenced by the people you surround yourselves with. Life is not a journey we take alone, and it is not determined by our own actions. It is influenced and changed by everyone we meet and so getting to know your friends, the people you choose to spend your time with, is the best way to learn about yourself. I am so glad that I get to share my journey with such amazing people, especially Ash.
Whatever things I have, and whatever I achieve in life don’t really mean much unless I have friends to laugh and share them with, and I hope I can always be there for the people I care about too. Sometimes, it’s just nice to know that you’re not alone.
- This cake is best eaten on the day it is made, after it has set in the fridge for three to four hours. The cake is still spongy and the filling in nice and fluffy and soft.
- I think any jam that you have in your fridge can be used in place of the raspberry jam that I have used below in my version. It depends on your own personal taste.
- I used frozen strawberries and they worked really well, just remember to thaw them out a little bit to make it easier to puree. I made this cake just at the end of strawberry season so all the strawberries at the farmers market and the supermarket were a little bit past their prime. Hopefully next season I’ll remember to buy a whole box to freeze myself while their cheap and fresh.
- Recipe -
Strawberry Mousse Cake
Adapted from Taste click Here
Makes one 22cm cake
3/4 cup (165g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
150g almond meal
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour, sifted
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
5 regular gelatine leaves
600ml thickened cream
180g white chocolate, chopped
350g strawberries, plus extra to serve
3 tablespoons raspberry Jam
1 1/3 cups (100g) flaked almonds
Icing sugar, to dust
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease and line the base and sides of two 22 cm spring form cake pans.
- Whisk the eggwhites in the bowl of an electric mixer to soft peaks, then, still whisking, add the caster sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is stiff and glossy. Fold in the vanilla
- In a separate bowl, combine the almond meal, flour and orange zest and gently fold the dry ingredients into the eggwhite mixture, being careful not to over mix. Divide the batter into the two pans and bake for 18 minutes or until they are pale golden. Cool the cakes completely in their pans.
- Soak the gelatine a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, bring 250ml of the cream to a simmer over medium high heat and then pour over the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for a little bit before mixing the chocolate and cream to form a smooth ganache. Gently squeeze your pre-soaked gelatine and stir it into the ganache until it has all dissolved.
- Blend the strawberries in a food processor (yes, you can use a blender for this) with the jam to form a puree and add it to the ganache.
- Whisk the rest of the cream to soft peaks and fold HALF of this into the ganache and strawberry mixture. You have now completed the filling. Do a little celebratory dance.
- Pour this filling over one of the cakes in the pan. Take the other cake out of its pan and place this on top of the filling. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours or until set.
- Remove the cake from the pan once it has set. Use the remainder of the cream to cover the sides of the cake and use it as glue to stick on the flaked almonds. Dust the whole cake in icing sugar and garnish with the extra strawberries.
Thanks so much for reading this.