On the weekend, Djamo and I went to go visit Babel, our nephew, and his parents to celebrate his be-lated birthday. Since they had been in Japan on his actual birthday, it was decided that a party would be held on the 6th May so that all his little friends could come over (plus his Tante Yasmin and Oom Djamo) to play and do some much needed catching-up. Unknown to them, Djamo and Oma Mohr had planned for his grandmother and his Oom Gyano (who hasn’t seen his sister or her family since Babel’s last birthday) to come over to the UK from the Netherlands as a little surprise. Needless to say, after much crying and hugging, it went down a treat as did the entire party (great job, Lou!) and the gorgeous Japanese Cotton Cheesecake with strawberry slices and cream was so delicious, I still dream about it!
If you have been following me on Instagram, you may have already seen a picture of this cake a week or so ago. I’m not sure why I took so long to post this, but nevertheless, here it is. I had noticed a few recipes going around for a Cherry Blossom Mousse Cake the last few weeks, which is something that I desperately wanted to try out, especially as the blossom season is now coming to an end here *sigh*. All the recipes I have found (so far) have all called for the use of cherries instead of sakura in the mousse layer. Naturally, the idea of a cherry mousse, sounds absolutely delicious and the colour- that beautiful crimson colour- is so gloriously eye popping, you cannot help but turn all dreamy-eyed and food-envious. But I wanted to have that cherry blossom flavour running through the entire cake.
Also, as I really try to keep a sense of seasonal consciousness, particularly when it comes to fresh produce, I could not justify the use of cherries to myself. If I happen to have frozen fruit that I had picked myself from last year in my freezer to enjoy over the colder months (a girl needs her vitamin c), then I will most certainly use them here. However, since I did not even consider freezing cherries last year and they are currently not even in season here in the UK, I decided to opt for one of my favourite fruits that is just coming in: the strawberry (note to self: pick a variety of fruits to freeze this year for later use in the year). I do happen to have some frozen blackberries leftover (if you remember I used a couple to decorate my Spiced Cranberry and Hibiscus Mousse Cake) for something very very special I’m going to be making in a couple of weeks.
Sakura and strawberries are absolutely wonderful together. Somehow, the taste of the berries is completely elevated and transformed, think of the smell of warm, sweet, sun-kissed strawberries lingering in the air, with slight hints of plums, almonds and sea salt.
My favourite fruit + favourite spring flower= love at first bite.
What are your favourite flavour combos? I would love to hear your opinions.
Matcha and Sakura Leaf Chiffon Cake
adapted from: Apple Drane
Cooking time: 1 hour plus overnight
Makes: 1x8inch cake
Please read through the recipe before making this cake as the sakura sugar (see the mousse recipe below) will need to be made at least 1 hour prior to making the cake. Also, it should be noted that I used a cake tin with a removable bottom as I found this the easiest way to remove the cake from the tin once the mousse has set, but feel free to use a special mousse mould or any other tin for that matter- just ensure that the cake is the same size or cut to fit.
2 1/2tbsp matcha green tea powder, plus extra for dusting
2tsp sakura leaf powder (optional)
100g caster sugar
4tbsp vegetable oil
2tsp baking powder
100g plain flour minus 1tbsp
1-2tbsp kirsch (cherry liqueur) (for brushing)
Preheat the oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-assisted) or 325ºF. Grease a cake tin and set aside.
Sieve the matcha powder, sakura leaf powder, flour, cornstarch, and baking powder together in a bowl and set aside. Place the sugar and the eggs into a large bowl and whisk on a medium speed continuously for 10 minutes until light and fluffy.
Whilst you continue to whisk, add the vegetable oil and the milk into the sugar-egg mixture. Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and whisk until incorporate and the green colour is uniform throughout.
Pour into the cake tin and place in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top and skewer comes out clean (note: if the cake is cooking too fast and the top begins to darken, place a sheet of aluminium foil over the top). Whilst the cake is in the oven, begin preparing the mousse (see below).
Remove from the cake tin and place on a cake rack to cool. Once the cake has cooled slightly, level out the top of the cake with a knife and cut through the centre (for the two layers). Allow to cool completely.
Wash the cake tin that was used for baking this cake. Layer two strips of cling film (large enough to hang over the sides) into the tin. Place the bottom layer of the cake into the tin (over the cling film) before brushing with half the cherry liqueur and pouring the mousse layer over the cake. Smooth out the top of the mousse before placing the second cake layer (underside facing upwards) on top. Brush with the rest of the liqueur and cover with the overhanging clingfilm and place in the refrigerator overnight.
To remove from the cake tin, you will need to pull the excess cling film that was used to cover the cake with one hand and push the bottom of the tin upwards with your fingers whilst holding onto the tin edge and rotate until the cake loosens and is easily removed (I am certain there are much easier ways of lifting the cake from the tin, however I quite enjoyed this process). Remove the clingfilm from the sides of the cake and place the cake onto a separate plate or cake stand using a flat spatula. Dust with confectionary sugar and serve. Eat within two days.
Cooking time: 90 minutes plus overnight
Makes: approximately 3cups
400g strawberries, hulled
20 pickled sakura blossoms, washed and dried
200g caster sugar
5 gelatine sheets
280g cream cheese
400ml heavy cream
1/4tsp beetroot powder (optional)
First make the sugar, which can be made an hour before the mousse is made, but ideally this is done the night before. Wash the sakura blossoms of excess salt and pat dry before placing in a coffee grinder until completely grounded. Place into a sealable jar of sugar and shake together until evenly distributed. Allow to infuse, either for an hour or preferably overnight.
To make the mousse, place the 5 sheets of gelatine into a small bowl of cold water and set aside for 10 minutes until soft. Meanwhile, place the hulled strawberries into a blender and blend until smooth. Squeeze the gelatine of excess water before placing into a saucepan along with the blended strawberries and the sakura sugar. Over a medium heat, begin to stir the strawberries and gelatine together until the gelatine is fully dissolved (the liquid should only be warm to the touch, not scorching hot). Take off the heat, stir in the beetroot powder if using any and allow to come to room temperature (this will take about 20 minutes so you can cut the cake into two layers here).
In a large bowl, whisk the heavy cream until thick and peaks are formed. Mix the cream cheese into the whipped cream and whisk together until well combined. When the strawberry sauce is cooled, pour into the cream and whisk together till evenly coloured. Set aside until needed.
Thank you for reading.