Sunday, December 11, 2011
My family always has a different preference on the flavor of desserts. My husband is a big fan of chocolate, and dislike strawberry, or any kinds of berries, period. My kids are big fans on ANY kinds of berries and fruit, especially strawberries. For me? I’m the least picky person in the house. I basically eat anything (I’m such a pig).
Why am I telling you this? Because that’s how this cake was created. To please everyone with a dessert. I’m so glad each of my family member loves a different kind of food/ flavor. That always give me opportunity to explore and try new things.
When my husband first saw the cake, his reaction was “wow, this looks delicious!” Despite there’s strawberries in the cake, which was quite obvious from that pink color. When he took the first bite, he exclaimed, “hm….this is so good….” Then he kept quiet because he was too busy eating. You know what, I think he does like strawberries, after all.
My kids both had a big piece of this cake during afternoon tea. Chocolate, vanilla and strawberries all in one bite, what’s not to like? The good thing about this cake is the lightness. It’s super moist, light and fluffy. The sweetness is just right and you won’t feel guilty eating a huge piece.
I top it off with some Pomegranate-Rose Meringue Cookies. These cookies are airy and light. It’s sweet, as all meringue cookies are, with a hint of tanginess from the Pomegranate powder. The pure rose extract adds a hint of floral tone to the cookies and compliment wonderfully with the Pomegranate flavor. It’s super crispy so it gives a nice contrast to the cake’s texture.
If you’re thinking of a cake to make for gatherings or celebrations, this would be an elegant yet easy to prepare type of cake to bring to the party. Best of all, you can make the Pomegranate-Rose Meringue Cookies a day or two ahead of time and keep them in an air-tight container for freshness. Just make sure you store some for the cake decoration before you snacked all of them before the party.
Napoleon Mascarpone Cheesecake (Printable Recipe)
Makes 1 9-inch round cake
5 eggs, separated and at room temperature
a pinch of Kosher salt
3/4 cup caster sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
8 ounces Mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup whipping cream
11/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tablespoons strawberries preserves
powdered sugar, for garnish
Some Pomegranate-Rose Meringue Cookies, for garnish (recipe follow)
boiling water (for water bath while baking)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch spring-form cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper on the bottom and sides. Wrap 2 layers of foil paper on the outside of the cake pan to prevent water from going into the cake pan while baking.
Separate egg whites from egg yolks. Make sure there’s no yolks in the whites. In the bowl of a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites with a pinch of Kosher and cream of tartar until egg white is soft peak. Gradually add half of the sugar, beating on high speed until egg white is medium peak. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat mascarpone cheese with remaining half of the sugar until smooth and fluffy. Whisk in whipping cream, egg yolks, vanilla extract and lemon juice until well combined. Turn mixer on low, add flour, and cornstarch until just combined.
Equally divide batter into 3 separate bowls, fold cocoa powder into one, and fold strawberry preserves into another and leave one plain.
Equally divide beaten egg whites into each of the cake batter until just incorporated (Do not over mix).
Pour chocolate batter on the bottom of the prepared spring form pan and spread batter into a smooth and even layer. Gently pour the vanilla batter on top followed by the strawberry batter. Carefully smooth the surface.
Place cake pan into a larger roasting pan and place roasting pan in lower third rack of the oven. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come half way up the side of the cake pan.
Bake 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the center comes out clean.
Remove cake from roasting pan. Carefully remove foil from the spring form pan and cool on a wiring rack. When cake is completely cooled, remove the sides of the pan, dust with powdered sugar and decorate with Pomegranate-Rose Meringue Cookies.
Pomegranate-Rose Meringue Cookies (Printable Recipe)
Makes 40 cookies
3 large pasteurized egg whites, at room temperature
a pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup caster (superfine baker's) sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon pure rose extract (it's really strong, so a little goes a long way)
1/4 cup freeze dried pomegranate powder
Preheat the oven 200 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. Set aside.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites with salt and cream of tartar until frothy, about 2 minutes. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick, shiny and holds stiff peaks, about 7 to 8 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract, rose extract, and pomegranate powder. Beat until ingredients are incorporated.
Scrape the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip and pipe the cookies onto the lined baking sheets. Starting in the middle and make 1 1/2 circles, about 1 1/2-inch in diameter and 1 1/2-inch apart.
Bake the meringues until they are firm, about 2 hours. Turn off the oven and leave them in there overnight.
If meringue are not totally dry, bake for an additional 15 minutes at 200 degrees F will crisp them up again.