I’ve always thought that parrots are much better at having fun than humans, but that was before I found out about birthday celebrations, gifts and cake. Yes! Birthday Cake! I’m sure it must have been a parrot who invented it though…
It was Mummy’s birthday on Sunday and I can tell you the whole cake thing was quite an exciting adventure for me. First, there were several days of trying to decide what would be a suitable recipe. Suitable cake by Chef Gerald’s standards means one that needs lots of cream. Or butter. Or preferably both. And then some more cream. Or butter. Or preferably both. And lemons. So, I finally settled on a lemon mascarpone sponge cake. Covered in lots of whipped cream.
And this is how I made Mummy’s birthday cake:
8 eggs, separated
6 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp flour
4 tbsp olive oil
1 ¾ tsp baking powder
2 tsp grated lemon zest
(Useful tip: closely supervise your Mummy while she is measuring the ingredients: flour is absolutely delicious. If you’re lucky, you might even be able to sample some sugar when Mummy isn’t looking – he he he)
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius – ask your Mummy to this for you (that’s what Sous Chefs are for J)
Lightly grease a 22cm spring form pan and line the base with baking paper.
Kitchen Monster will beat the egg yolks, lemon zest and 4 tbsp sugar until pale and creamy, then Mummy will add the olive oil, 1 tbsp at a time, mixing well after each addition. The only problem is that I’d love to bite Kitchen Monster but am not allowed to L
In a separate bowl, Kitchen Monster will beat the egg whites and remaining 2 tbsp of sugar until stiff peaks form. That looked really yummy, but Mummy can be such a meanie sometimes and won’t let me sample it.
Gradually fold in the flour and egg whites into the yolks, using a large wooden spoon and gentle movements – you are trying to incorporate as much air into the batter. Note from Mummy: it can be quite hard to do this while at the same time trying to prevent your parrot from diving into the bowl. But she’s getting better at it :-)
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let it rest in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a rack and let it cool completely, then cut it into 3 layers. Note from Chef Gerald: you have to sample each individual layer to ensure they are OK – just make sure you only take little nibbles so Mummy doesn’t notice.
Next, we need to make a lemon syrup for the sponge:
Juice of 2 lemons
100 g sugar
2 tsp grated lemon zest
In a small saucepan, top the lemon juice up with enough water to make up 200ml liquid. Add the remaining ingredients, then heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and leave to cool, then pour over the three sponge layers. Let the sponge layers soak, preferably overnight.
To make the lemon mascarpone filling, you will need:
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
¾ tsp vanilla essence
4 tbsp sugar
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 heaped tbsp cornflour
If you have a Kitchen Monster, this is the perfect opportunity to use it. We are very exciting about this new addition to the Bistro kitchen, so we will share our method for using it to make the filling first. The traditional cooking method will also follow.
Tips: To ensure that the eggs don’t scramble, it’s best to bring them to room temperature before starting this. Also gently heat the milk either on the stove or in the microwave until it feels slightly warm.
In your Kitchen Monster bowl, beat the yolks, vanilla essence, sugar and lemon zest until pale and creamy. Slowly pour in the milk with the engine still running.
Add the cornflour and mix well.
Install the shield and splashguard onto your Kitchen Monster. Insert the Flexi Beater, set to stirring speed 3, turn the induction cooking element on and set the temperature to 40 degrees Celsius to start with. After 2- 3 minutes, increase the temperature to 50 degrees, then to 60 after another 2 minutes. Continue the process until the mixture has reached 90 degrees Celsius, then cook for a further 3 – 4 minutes. By this stage, the mixture will have thickened. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl, cover tightly with cling wrap to prevent a crust from forming on top, and set aside to cool. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, then mix in the mascarpone.
If you prefer the traditional cooking method for your filling, start by beating the yolks, vanilla, sugar, zest, milk and cornflour as above. Pour into a small saucepan and start heating gently, stirring continuously. Continue stirring and cooking until the mixture has thickened, then proceed as above.
And now, for the fun part: Assembling the Cake – Chef Gerald’s tip: at this stage, it is vital that you stand on Mummy’s wrist (this way you are very close to the action, and you can sample everything!)
Lay the first sponge layer on a platter, then evenly spread half the filling mixture over it.
Repeat with the next sponge layer and the remainder of the filling.
Place the third sponge layer on top and cover the entire cake in whipped cream. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.