Swedish Strawberry Cake
Today is Midsummer's Eve, possibly the biggest holiday in Sweden. (At least after Christmas.) It's celebrated with friends and family, and lots of food.
For a crash course in Midsummer:
-500 g strawberries, divided
-300 ml cream (full-fat), whipped with 1 tbsp sugar
For the cake layers:
200 g eggs (I use four medium-large ones)
100 g sugar
100 g flour
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter and line a 24 cm springform cake pan. Beat the eggs and the sugar until very very fluffy. (Carefully fold in the flour. Pour into your prepared pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. It should look golden brown and have started to shrink away from the edges. Use a cake tester to check for doneness.
Take it out of the oven, release from the pan, place on a rack and place the springform inverted on top while it cools.
For the custard:
3 egg yolks
250 ml milk
1 vanilla bean
20 g cornstarch
60 g sugar
15 g butter
Score the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into a saucepan. Add the milk – and the bean – and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and let the milk infuse for ten minutes. (Put a lid on top.) Meanwhile, mix the egg yolks with cornstarch and sugar. When the milk is done, remove the vanilla bean, and pour the hot milk over the egg mixture. Mix well, and pour back into the saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring CONSTANTLY. It will thicken a lot all of a sudden. Remove from heat, and quickly beat in the butter.
Move to a clean container. Cool quickly, and let it sit for at least 3-4 hours in the fridge. After that, whisk it really well so it becomes smooth and silky.
To assemble the cake:
Purée half of the strawberries, about 250 g. Slice the rest.
Cut the cake in three layers. Spread first layer with half of the strawberry puree, and then with half of the vanilla custard. Top with the second layer, and spread with the remaining fillings. Finish with top layer of cake.
Place on your cake platter. Use a little cream to smooth out the top of the cake. Transfer the rest of your whipped cream to a piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle. Pipe straight up along the edge, finishing with a small star on top of the cake. Repeat all around. You’ll have JUST enough cream, so pipe carefully!
Decorate with the strawberries. I like to leave one whole in the middle, and place the cut berries as petals all around it.
Chill until serving.