Fell in love with this design when I was researching entremets and knew I had to make this! I loved the simple and elegant design, which really allowed the bright strawberries to shine.
This tastes best fresh. One thing to improve is to find a way to prevent strawberries from bleeding into the light-coloured pastry cream. Look forward to trying a Japanese strawberry shortcake version next!
Almond Sponge Cake
Transparent Fruit Glaze
Almond Sponge Cake Base:
Sift flour with baking powder; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat almond paste and sugar on medium speed. Add eggs gradually, increasing the speed until incorporated, then beat at high speed for 10 minutes. Stop mixer, mix about a cup (or 200g) of the egg mixture into the melted and cooled butter. Add sifted flour to the batter and incorporate the butter mixture. Fill lined 8-inch cake mould.
Bake at 350ºF/180ºC for about 35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Unmold sponge over rack lined with parchment and chill. Slice horizontally into 3 layers, trim off the brown edges, and freeze.
Bloom gelatine in cold water. In a small pot, mix strawberry puree, water and glucose syrup. Add pectin slowly while whisking if using. Mix it with the sugar to avoid it seizing. Pour hot mixture into a lined ring and freeze overnight.
Wash strawberries in water. Slice thinly. Mix in sugar to taste and splash of grand marnier liquor. Reserve for 2 hours at room temperature. When ready, drain the juice out. Line the cake ring with acetate. Line strawberries all around the cake pan at the bottom and sides. Place in refrigerator.
Bloom gelatine in water. Mix yolks, custard powder, flour and half of the sugar; set aside. In a medium pot, mix milk infused with vanilla and sugar. Bring to a boil. Pour milk into yolk mixture gradually and place back into the pot. Cook until thick cream, over medium heat. Whisk continuously and run through sift. Add in melted cocoa butter and gelatine. You may emulsify using a hand blender if keen. When the temperature is below 40 deg C, add in mascarpone cheese and butter, and mix/blend well. In a separate bowl, whip cream until soft peaks. Fold into the custard mixture.
Pipe cream into the ring gently on the surface of the strawberry. Place a layer of cake, and pipe cream. Place the strawberry coulis layer, cream, and layer with cake. Place extra macerated strawberries as a filling. Repeat. Use almond cake as the final layer. Freeze cake overnight.
Make transparent fruit glaze by soaking gelatine in cold water. Dissolve sugar and water in a saucepan, and cool to 65 degrees Celsius. Add soaked gelatine and mix until completely dissolved. It is ready to use when temperature is around 20 degrees Celsius.
To assemble, unmould the cake by inverting into a cake board. Brush on transparent fruit glaze all around the cake. Place back in the fridge to set.