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May 18, 2009

In Which A Busy Week Is Capped With An Unexpected Surprise


First, thank you to all of you for your very sweet birthday wishes - I'm consistently amazed and touched by the well-wishes I receive from fellow pastry lovers from around the world. Thank you for making my birthday that much more special!

It actually did rain on my birthday, but it seems like the birthday fairies decided to make up for it by sending a stretch of luxuriously balmy weather afterwards, capping off with a positively scorching weekend. Mmm, I can almost feel summer around the corner!

Sadly, I've been quite busy this last week, so haven't had much time to enjoy the weather except to keep drinking water to try and stay hydrated. I also haven't had the chance to properly document my latest kitchen brainstorm, so here, finally, are a few pictures.

Since it's full-on strawberry season (overflowing their baskets at the farmers' markets, beckoning from roadside stands in the suburbs), I am constantly being tempted into buying way too strawberries and then trying to figure out what to do with them. I remembered this cake I had seen in a Hong Kong bakery, layers of delicate sponge cake sandwiching fluffy strawberry cream and frosted with whipped cream, and decided to have a go at recreating it.

The result ended up resembling a cross between an opera cake and the layered fruit-and-whipped cream cakes found in many a Chinese bakery. The cake, an almond genoise, is the same as the one used in a traditional opera cake. Spread thinly with pureed strawberries, and then a layer of strawberry buttercream, the light cake provides the perfect base for intense strawberry flavor. The topping is made from whipped cream and just a little confectioners' sugar, since I didn't want a heavy frosting to weigh down the cake.


I think this cake really captures a lot of strawberry flavor, without being too rich or heavy - just right for summer. I'm still tweaking the recipe, so I'll try to get posted here sometime tomorrow.

And, as a capper to the week, I discovered that the fantabulous Jen of Use real butter, one of my favorite blogs, was in town! After some furious planning, we arranged a blogger meetup with me, Jen, and Lisa of I Must Have a Lot of Time on My Hands, another amazingly talented cook/baker/blogger that I adore!

Lisa was kind enough to play hostess, so Jen and I got to visit Lisa's place, meet her beyond adorable doggie Lucca (honestly, go to her page and once you lay eyes on Lucca you will be smitten), and sample Lisa's excellent coffee cake and macarons. This girl can seriously bake! Thanks so much Lisa, and I'm hoping to return the favor soon!

Jen is just as funny and real as she is on her blog - I feel super lucky that I found her blog, and got to become friends with such a great person! Hope you had a great flight back home, sweetie!

Lisa has already put up an account of the meetup on her blog, so go read if you want to see what three foodies were up to one Saturday morning! It was definitely the panacea to cure a long week of work, and now I'm ready to bake up some more sweets again!


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Fun to read about our blogger-meet-up on another blog! Ha! :) If you want to link directly (instead of the link through FB) you can use this one:

Hope to see you again soon Anita!

Happy Birthday! I can't wait to see this recipe as I've been looking for a fun and interesting new way to do a strawberry cake for my boyfriend. His birthday was this past Saturday and it was an icky one. His uncle died, so he gave up his birthday day to go to the funeral - then got hit by a car on the way! He's okay, but I'd love to cheer him up with a recipe like this.

Gorgeous cake!
I am so jealous that you got to meet up with Jen.

Wow. These look so pretty. I cant wait for the recipe.

What a lovely cake! I am crazy for strawberries right now :) It was such a pleasure meeting you, Anita - even though I feel like I've known you for over a year. Thanks for driving down to meet up and definitely definitely consider stopping by on your way to... Kansas ;) I hope we get to meet Mr. M someday too. xxoo

I made a cake very similar to this last year. I poured a white chocolate ganache over the top.

Hi, came over from Jen's blog.

We know what it's like to be tempted into buying a flat of strawberries, then furiously trying to figure out what to do with them before they all go fuzzy.
I very much like your creation! We made some strawberry shortcakes with our bounty.

That is such a gorgeous cake! (and presentation) Can't wait for the tweaked recipe :)

Intense and delicate strawberry flavour... I'm dreaming of your fabulous cake!

Wow--what a fabulous-looking cake!

Looks delish! Do you know how I could make this vegan?

Beautiful Cake! your recipes are wonderful!
Thanks for sharing!

and you can visit me if i can visit you:)

Welcome! foodcreate

The cake is stunning! I love the photos!

when are you putting up the recipe for this cake? it looks great, i wanna try it :)

this is so gorgeous! looks delicious too!

Wow, that is so pretty. I am looking forward to getting the recipe. I will definitely try it out. Can't wait!

Hello! This is the first time I've come across your blog, but I am in awe of all the tasty delights that you cook up! Actually I was googling an opera cake, because my flatmate made one today and I'd never heard of them before.

For a lover of all things sweet like me...Wait no, I feel I no longer deserve to fit into that category after seeing your blog! I must strive to become better at EATING SWEETS! (And making them).

I will definitely be trying some of your recipes!

Please tell me that you are still planning on posting this recipe. It looks divine!!

What are the cute little balls on top of the cake? Are those edible?

u have a beautiful site...:) simply love it.. and the desserts r yum...

R the pearls on the cake edible..? and where can i buy them? I am planning a surprise baby shower for my friend... can u give me some good cake recipe ideas...:) would really appreciate it

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