Today my eldest “graduated” preschool. I can’t believe it! Why is it, as he grows, I get older…?
This last day of school, before summer holidays officially begin, always come with mixed emotions. It’s sad to let go of the things that have been for a long time, but at the same time, it’s so exciting to find out what lies ahead. The ceremony was held in one of the city churches, which also brought back my own memories of spending this particular day in flower filled churches, singing traditional summer hymns and songs, filled to the brim with freedom, ice cream and no obligations.
When it comes to sweets, this too is deeply connected to tradition and for me it’s all about strawberries and cream. Honestly, I’ve been longing for this day just so I could have a reason to bake a cream cake. And today it was filled with strawberries and custard. I really love the sponge recipe for my Summer Meringue Layer Cake and thought I should try to use only the cake this time, omitting the meringue layer. The result was a moist cake with a deep browned butter nutty-ish flavor. If you ever need a good plain ol’ vanilla cake base, this is a good candidate.
Besides fresh, quickly marinated strawberries I made a custard of elderberry flower cordial for the filling. It’s reminds me of my Lemon Curd recipe but instead of lemon juice, you cook cordial and cream with egg yolks. I found this particular recipe in the cutest cook book, which I think I have crush on actually, Pärlans konfektyr – Kolor, jazz och bakverk (2012), written by the women behind the smashing old style candy boutique, Pärlans konfektyr, in Stockholm. Some of the recipes here go way back, like the cookies and cakes my grandmother used to make. As a vintage lover myself I absolutely adore these old recipes and I also collect vintage cookbooks.
All in all, this is a perfect summer cake for any occasion. Be creative and use other berries for the filling, and instead of elderberry flower cordial, use black currant, raspberry or strawberry cordial for a different flavour.
I will post a couple of recipes in a series I call Retro Sweets, with inspiration from them ol’ days. Do you have a recipe of something your grandma used to make? Let’s share! Write in the comment field below. Until next time, stay tuned and go, bake, now!
Happy Summer Holidays!
Strawberry & Elderberry Flower Cream Cake
3×15 cm/6″ pans
Use preferably organic produce and ingredients in season.
125g/4.4 oz. butter, soft
135g/4.7 oz. raw granulated sugar
5 egg yolks
4 tbsp full fat milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
120g/4.2 oz. plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy (5–6 minutes).
2. Add the egg yolks, one at a time. Make sure to mix thoroughly after each addition.
3. Add milk and vanilla to the batter and mix.
4. In a separate bowl, mix flour with baking powder and salt and hence fold the dry ingredients gently into the butter batter. Do not overmix.
5. Pour batter into greased cake pans (3×15 cm/6″) and bake in 150 ºC/340ºF for 20–25 minutes or until the top is golden. Let the cakes cool before removing them from cake pans. Wrap in plastic wrap if not using immediately.
200–225g/7–8 oz. fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into wedges
a couple tbsp of muscovado sugar to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
juice from lime or lemon to taste
1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let them marinate for at least 30 minutes or over night.
Elderberry Flower Custard (recipe adapted and slightly modified from the book Pärlans konfektyr, 2012)
2 egg yolks
1,5 tbsp raw granulated sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
150g/5.2 oz. elderberry flower cordial
100g/3.5 oz. heavy cream
1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar and starch in a bowl.
2. In a pot, bring cordial and cream to a boil.
3. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring some of the heated cordial and cream into the eggs. Whisk continuously to prevent the eggs from being scrambled.
4. Pour the custard back into the pot and heat on low, until it thickens. This can occur quickly, so pay attention! Remove from heat and chill. To remove any lumps, strain the custard into a clean bowl.
You will need:
Cake layers x 3
500g whipped cream, in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip
200g or more strawberries for decoration
1. Place a cake layer on a plate, pipe a ring of whipped cream around the edges to create a “wall”, preventing the filling from leaking. Place enough marinated strawberries to fill the ring. Use any leftover berries for the top decoration (or in your morning cereal!).
2. Put the second cake layer on top of the first and repeat the piping step. Fill the ring of cream with elderberry flower custard. Cover with the last cake layer.
3. Pipe a couple of vertical rows of cream around the edges. Smear them out with a spatula and crumb coat the sides, sealing in the crumbs.
4. To decorate the cakes sides, starting from the bottom and moving the tip straight up, gently pipe vertical rows of cream all the way around, until the cake is completely covered.
5. Top the cake with a pile of strawberries cut into wedges. Pipe little dollops of cream around the pile and cover the edges.
6. Keep the cake in the fridge before serving. The cake can be filled and stored in the fridge over night.