Friday, June 22, 2007

Marzipan cake with strawberries and cream

Pretty, isn't it?

I guess you're not really surprised that I'm posting a recipe for a strawberry cake just a day after I posted a photo of local Estonian strawberries which are finally on sale pretty much everywhere (though I did notice - still!?! - some imported Southern European ones in some stores. Why, oh why?). K's mum's half-brother Ülo turned 60 yesterday, and K's mum threw a small party for him. I've never met the man before, but I still offered to make a birthday cake for him. He's a lone bachelor, you see, and I doubt he gets home-made, specially-for-him, cakes very often.

As strawberries are currently at the peak of their season, I decided to make a strawberry cake - you cannot be more summery & festive than that, can you? The base is sponge-like, but enriched with 200 grams of one of the best marcipans available here. Ren Rå Marcipan ('clean raw marzipan') from the Danish Odense Marzipan company contains 2 parts almonds, 1 part sugar; the almonds hail all the way from California, which is supposedly where the best almonds grow. The base cooked beautifully, filling our kitchen with a strong and pleasant almondy smell.

The cake went down a treat. I got a phone call from K's mum in the early afternoon, where she praised the cake, and then the phone was handed over to the birthday 'child' Ülo, who claimed it was the best strawberry cake he has ever had. I don't know about that, but it was definitely pleasing to my tastebuds (K. popped by his mum's place again on the way back from work, and brought back the cake stand with a tiny slice of cake for us to share in the evening).

Marzipan Cake with Strawberries & Cream
Adapted from Odense Marcipan, Denmark
Serves 8-10

Marzipan sponge:
3 eggs
200 grams sugar
150 grams plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 grams marzipan, coarsely grated (I used ODENSE Ren Rå Marcipan, 60% almonds)
1 tsp pure orange oil or zest of 1 orange

To moisten:
75-100 ml of milk or orange juice

To decorate:
300 ml whipping cream
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

To garnish:
fresh strawberries
green pistachios
shredded fresh lemon balm leaves

Using an electric mixer, whisk eggs with sugar until pale and frothy. Add the sifted flour and baking powder mixture, then fold in the grated marzipan and orange oil/zest. Mix gently until combined, pour into a buttered 24 cm springform tin and bake at 175 Celsius for about 30 minutes, until the cake has risen and turned pale golden.
Remove from the oven, cool a little, then transfer the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Before serving, moisten the cake with orange juice or milk, cover with whipped cream and garnish with strawberries, pistachios and shredded lemon balm leaves.

UPDATE 25.6.2007: As you can see, then sweet Zarah Maria did bake this cake for her Martin's birthday, as she said in the comments :) It looks gorgeous, Zarah Maria, and I hope that Martin liked it!


Alanna said...

Simply stunning in spectacular strawberry sumptuousness! (Seriously!)

K & S said...

this cake is beautiful and I bet it tasted wonderful with all the ripe strawberries and the premium marzipan. Happy Birthday to the Birthday "boy".

rachel said...

I don't know why, but I've never liked marzipan. Or licorice for that matter. Love strawberries, though!

Anyway, have a happy Jaanipaëv!

Meeta said...

A gorgeous combination Pille! Strawberries and marzipan!! All in a cake.

BTW: Did you decide on a photo you would like me to send?

Zarah Maria said...

Absolutely stunning Pille! I may just have to make this for Martin's upcoming birthday...

ScienceMel said...

Pille, That looks amazing. I can almost taste it from your picture. Might have to do some baking for single gal once I finish the chapter I'm working on. =) Thanks for sharing such a wonderful treat.

katiez said...

Beautiful cake!
My few strawberry plants don't bear a lot but they do bear all summer... just enough for me!

Zarah Maria said...

It was FANTASTIC Pille! And loved by everyone - a great summer cake and a definite keeper. Thanks for the recipe!:-) I've put my recommandation up with my latest DwB...

Patricia Scarpin said...

I love marzipan and strawberries are one of my favorite fruit - the cake is so beautiful!

Karen said...

my mouth is watering.

Pille said...

Alanna - kiitos, kiitos, kiitos! You make me blush now:)

K&S - I heard again over the weekend that the birthday 'boy' had been immensely pleased with this unexpected cake.

Rachel - I don't like liqorice either, but almonds taste nothing like liqorice!?

Meeta - thanks! And yes, we chose the drop-dead-gorgeous and just slightly dramatic cranberry shot (but it was a difficult choice, as you've got loads of stunning photos!)

Sciencemel - you're welcome! I have a feeling that this cake will keep quite well, or you can simply halve the recipe when you're cooking for one.

Katie - lucky you! One day I'll have a strawberry patch in my backyard, too..

Zarah Maria - i'm so flattered you tried the cake in the first place, and that you and Martin liked it. Tak!! And isn't it funny how you need an Estonian foodblogger to point you to a Danish recipe:)

Patricia - thank you!

Karen -thank you! I loved this cake - too bad that strawberry season is over. When strawberries play such a central part in a cake, out-of-season watery and tasteless strawberries simply won't cut:(