21 September 2008

Lundulph's Birthday Cake 2008

It's been ages since I put in a new recipe and the only excuse I have is that things have been busy and I haven't had any time to invent new dishes. We've been living on salads and stuff I've done before.

We've also been on holiday for a week in Bulgaria. We were really lucky with the weather and it has also been a fairly good year for fruit and vegetables and everything tasted lovely. Except the pomegranates, they were picturesque, but had at least a month to go ripening-wise.

But it's been that time again - Lundulph's birthday and this year, I decided to try my hand at a Stoichkov cake. Originally it was called Nelka (Нелка), but was renamed in honour of the football player. This is quite easy to make, but looks quite impressive when completed.

We had it as a backup cake on our wedding last year and I'd managed to work out how to make it. One constraint was that Lundulph's been having stomach pains lately and I've been trying to reduce fat throughout my cooking, so to keep the cake light, I thought I'd make white chocolate mousse for the filling. This was a grave mistake to make, as not only is white chocolate basically just fat, I'd discussed the cake with my Mum who said I'd be better off making the cream for Creme Parfait, where the gelatine will keep things together. But I thought I knew better. Obviously not, as you'll see below.

Now, the reason the cake was dedicated to a football player is that it looks like half a football (or soccer if you will). So it's important to use a bowl that's as close to half a sphere as possible. It took me some time to find one that I liked. It came in two varieties - Pyrex and stainless steel - and I went for Pyrex.

The recipe below is as I made it and as in the photos, I strongly recommend not using the mousse as filling. Though it was very tasty in its own right.


3 small chocolate flavoured Swiss rolls with white filling
500 g white chocolate
1 dl icing sugar
6 eggs - yolks and whites separate
250 g blueberries
1 medium banana

  1. Break up the chocolate into pieces and put in a bain marie to melt on low heat. Pour the icing sugar on top and stir occasionally.
  2. In the mean time, cover the inside of the semi-spherical bowl with cling film, making sure there's enough to go over the edge. This will make it easier to get the cake out.
  3. Cut the Swiss rolls into 1 cm thick slices and line up inside the bowl as closely as possible and up to the very edge. If a piece sticks up above the bowl edge, cut it level with the edge.
  4. When the chocolate has melted and the icing sugar has dissolved in it, take off the heat and leave to cool for a bit, then add the yolks, one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate them.
  5. When the chocolate-egg mixture has cooled completely, whisk the whites to stiff peak stage, then add them slowly to form the mousse. Remember to stir in carefully so the airiness isn't lost.
  6. Pour some into the bowl with the Swiss rolls, then sprinkle a layer of the blueberries.
  7. Pour some more to cover them, then slice the banana thinly and lay out the slices over the mousse.
  8. Cover the banana with more mousse, then sprinkle another layer of blueberries and top up to the edge.
  9. Close off with a few slices of Swiss roll, cover with tin foil and put in the fridge for the mousse to set.
  10. When ready to serve, remove the foil, place the serving plate upside down on top of the bowl, then flip both around and use the cling film to pull it out.
  11. I'd bought strawberries to decorate around the edge, but since the cake collapsed, I didn't get a chance to use them.

Still, just like last year, the cak disappeared very quickly anyway and it occurs to me that the cake once again has Swiss rolls in it. This was not on purpose though.

This is what it looks like, when made by a professional.