Aaaaah, summer. Just when I was almost convinced that I wouldn’t be seeing any of you this year, you decided to make an appearance. Finally. And of course, right when it starts getting warm outside, I decide to start baking again. Go figure. Especially since I’m not exactly known for my pound cakes and pies, but rather for my…let’s say “cream-heavy” creations. But: even a creamy gateaux can be adjusted to be fresh and less heavy for a warm summer day (…and less likely to turn sour from one minute to the next) by substituting only a few ingredients.
This cake is as versatile as they come and you can pretty much adjust the filling ingredients however you want (or depending on whatever you can get wherever you live). I used a recipe for the sponge, but for the lemon and berry cream, I just threw some things together into a bowl. You can use quark, cream cheese, natural yoghurt, mascarpone, sour cream, or whatever floats your boat and just flavor it to taste. I tried to make mine a little lighter and less sweet than a “regular” cake and I thought it tasted fresh and fruity without being overpowering on a warm day.
Also, I’ve made the experience that many of the internet recipes I use are about 80% sugar (at least that’s what it feels like) and even though I have a higher tolerance for sugar than most people I know (Really, I do. You should see the looks I get sometimes when I go for the fourth piece of cake.), I’ve realized that most cakes work with about a third of the sugar stated in the recipe (sometimes even less). You don’t even have to substitute it with Stevia or something, just leave it out, especially in fillings (you have to be a little more careful when it comes to the cake batter). So this is what I did here (and what I usually do when I do creamy fillings): I just put sugar in a tablespoon at a time and tasted between each spoon. Then I stopped as soon as I felt it was sweet enough. So the measurements in the recipe can be seen as guidelines: they worked well for me, but feel free to adjust them to your own taste.
Lemon Berry Gateau
For the sponge:
1 tsp baking powder
For the filling:
750g Quark (Magerquark, 10% fat)
300ml whipping cream (I used Cremefine, which is a whipping cream substitute with less fat)
5 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp lemon curd
7 heaped tbsp gelatin powder (we need gelatin that dissolves in COLD liquids)
300g mixed frozen berries (my mix had raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, and red currant)
As I said, you can substitute pretty much everything in this cake. Don’t have quark where you live? How about a low-fat cream cheese? You prefer the taste of real whipping cream? Go for it! 4 tbsps of lemon curd isn’t lemony enough for you? Put in a whole glass if you like!
1. Beat the eggs and the sugar until the mixture has tripled in volume.
2. Sift the flour and baking powder and fold slowly into the egg mixture.
3. Line two spring pans (mine were 28cm I think) with baking paper and evenly divide the batter between the two pans.
4. Bake at 190°C for about 10 minutes or until golden brown on top. Let the cakes cool completely before filling them.
1. Unfreeze your frozen berries in a bowl at room temperature. If they’re still a bit frozen when you want to use them, don’t worry.
2. Put the berries into a pot and slowly warm them up. Stir frequently to make sure they don’t start sticking to the bottom of the pot. Let them simmer for a few minutes until they’re really soft and heated.
3. Puree the fruit (I used a hand blender) and put it through a fine strainer (because we only want the pulp, not the skins). Put aside.
4. Put the quark in a bowl and add the vanilla essence, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Mix well.
5. Whip the whipping cream (or, in my case: the low-fat-whipping-cream-substitute) and fold into the quark mix.
6. Divide the quark mix in half. Mix the lemon curd into one half of the mix, then add about 3 heaped tablespoons of gelatin and mix well.
7. Fold the cooled berry puree into the other half of the quark. Add about 4 heaped tablespoons of gelatin and mix well.
1. Fit one layer of the sponge into a cake ring. Pour the lemon quark on top and smooth out. Put the second layer of sponge cake on top and press down slightly until everything is nice and even. Pour the fruity quark on top and smooth out as well.
2. Put into the fridge for at least a couple of hours until everything has had a chance to set before you start decorating the outside.
3. Decorate the outside however you like. I used about 100ml of whipping cream (substitute) and piped some two-tone flowers on top and then used to rest to lightly crumb-coat the sides so my white chocolate flakes would stick.
4. Put back into the fridge until you’re ready to eat! (Overnight would be best, so the flavors have some time to really develop, but you can eat it after a couple of hours if you don't want to wait.)
While making this cake, I also realized I have a new problem: since 98% of the cakes I make are for other people’s birthdays, I’m really getting into photography trouble here. The cake was done sometime around 10 at night, so it was too dark to take pictures. The next morning I got up half an hour early to quickly take some pictures before work, but the light was so horrible that the pictures turned out all blurry and dark and I didn’t have a lot of time before I had to get going, so I had to take a few quick snaps with my cellphone right before it was eaten. And this is going to be pretty par for the course for the foreseeable future I’m afraid. (Had the same problem again this morning with another cake.) Anyway, I’ll try my best to give you some halfway decent pictures at least.