Strawberry Mousse Cake

Last weekend, disaster struck.

My laptop (beautiful, Macbook which I love so much (god, that’s super shallow and materialistic, ah well…)) was in my bag, my bag was on my shoulder. And then I dropped it! My heart sank. So I peeked inside the laptop- and it was fine! Nothing was cracked, everything seemed to be in order. Phew!

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But then I got home, opened it, and it started beeping! It wouldn’t turn on, and something was going ‘beeeep beeeeep beeeeep.’ I seriously panicked. I mean, really freaked out. You see, I wasn’t JUST sad that my beautiful laptop was broken- my dissertation was due in two days. And stupidly, I hadn’t backed it up anywhere. (Cardinal rule of, well, anything really- always back it up!)

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I ran to the Apple Store on Regent Street and had a little mini hissy fit at one the incredibly chilled out ‘geniuses,’ and, after a long, nervous five minute wait, it was returned to me, good as new. Totally fine.

This is sort of how it goes any time I bake anything. I always have a few moments of blind panic or I drop something or something beeps. But then everything works out in the end.

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This cake was one such occasion. It took me hours and there were a few minutes of blind panic. But its delish and summery, and just what I need on these cold, blustery May days (what?)

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Strawberry Moussey Cake 

this cake takes quite a long time to make, and requires a lot of freezing/cooling time, but its definitely worth it if you have the time and energy!

Joconde decor paste

7 ounces butter

7 ounces icing sugar

7 ounces egg whites

8 ounces plain flour

pink food colouring

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then gradually add the egg whites, beating continuously . Fold in the flour and then add the food colouring. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe into a pattern onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Then put it into the freezer until it is hard and solid.

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Cake

8 ounces of butter

8 ounces of caster sugar

4 eggs

8 ounces self raising flour

4 tablespoons milk

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add eggs. Sift in the flour and mix until well combined, then add the milk and stir in.

When the joconde paste is completely frozen, pour the cake mixture over the top, on a baking sheet, and smooth out until it is flat. I baked two baking sheets of flat pieces, for the sides and top of the cake, and one round one (in a cake tin) for the bottom.

Bake in a 180 degree for 5-10 minutes- try not to over bake or it will dry out!

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Moussey Filling

3 egg whites

100ml double cream

6 ounces white chocolate

4 tblspoons strawberry jam/ pureed strawberries

In a bowl over a saucepan over simmering water, melt the chocolate. Once it is completely melted, take it off the heat and allow it to cool entirely.

While it is cooling, whisk the egg whites until firm peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it is the consistency of whipped cream. Fold the egg whites into the cream. Ensure that the chocolate is completely cool before adding it to the egg and cream mixture, otherwise it will curdle the eggs. Fold it into the egg/cream mixture, then add the jam or strawberries.

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Once the cake is baked and cool, it is ready to assemble. Leave the bottom piece in the cake tin it was baked in. Cut a piece of the flat bit long enough to wrap around the inside of the cake tin, ensuring that the pink decoration is facing the outside, and that it goes around the whole of the edge (no gaps!)

Fill the inside with the mousse mixture, then cut out a piece for the top and lay it on top.

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Decorate with icing or fruit as you wish!

xxR

Sunshine Lemon and White Chocolate Brownies (and Leftover Lemons Lemon Tart)

The sun is finally here! And for good- it seems! To me, the sun means LEMONS. I love lemons, lemonade, lemon cake…

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Plus- lemons are just insanely cheap in my local supermarket (its so great- it’s Turkish, so all the food is interesting and dirt cheap. Literally. Six lemons for 99p. That is just a joke. And completely irresistible.)

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So, laden with all the lemons I could possibly carry, I headed home, ready to cook up some summery treats.

Lemon and White Chocolate Brownies

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(I adapted my favourite brownie recipe from Gwenyth Paltrow’s cookbook- seriously try these brownies, they are delicious! here)

250g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

pinch of salt

125ml vegetable oil

250ml golden syrup

125ml milk

200g white chocolate melted

juice and zest of two lemons

175g white chocolate chips (optional)

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Melt the chocolate over a saucepan of simmering water. Then, set it aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt.

In another bowl combine the oil, syrup milk and chocolate. Then mix in the lemon juice and zest. Add t his to the flour mixture.

Pour into a well greased and lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees.

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For the sticky lemony glaze to the top the brownies:

4 ounces of icing sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice and mix well.

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Leftover lemons! (Maybe six for 99p was a curse after all!)

What to do with three leftover, juicy lemons?!

Lemon Tart

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For this I started with my basic shortcrust pastry recipe:

4 ounces of plain flour

2 ounces of butter- cold and cubed

a few drops of cold water

Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips, until it resembles breadcrumbs (all the butter should have a coating of flour. Or it should like a crumble topping.)

Add a very small amount of water to bring the dough together- not too much that it’s really wet and sticky, but just enough that all the dry pieces come together to form a ball of dough. Wrap it in clingfilm and let it sit in the fridge for about 20 minutes to rest.

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Take it out of the fridge and roll it out on a floured surface. Try and get it as thin as you can- crispy is the way with pastry! Place into a lined pie tin and bake it blind- (cover the pastry with greaseproof paper,  and bake it with baking beans, dry rice or beans in the middle in a 200 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and firm. This ensures that the pastry is crisp and evenly baked before you put the filling in.)

To make the filling:

4 eggs

150ml double cream

125g caster sugar

3 lemons- juice and zest

Whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.

Once the pastry base has baked and cooled, pour the filling into the base and bake in a 180 degree oven for 40-45 minutes. The filling should have set but still have a very slight wobble in the middle. You don’t want it to be too runny or it will be a nightmare to cut!

I covered my tart with a strawberry coulis (I simply cooked strawberries with caster sugar until they had turned runny and sticky), which balanced out the tartness of the lemons.

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Enjoy the sunshine!

xxR

(it’s just started to rain- ironic!)