Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baking with Friends - Episode 2: Strawberry Mango Layer Cake

Our baking gathering is at MY's place this time round. Her kitchen is really very similar to mine! But I feel that hers is more spacious and easier to move around. Our menu for the day: Strawberry Mango Cake with Sponge Fingers, Smoked Salmon Pizza and Mushroom Pizza. MY and I went to get the ingredients for the pizza before we gathered at her place. We shopped around in 3 supermarkets before getting all the things we want.

TT was the first to arrive at MY's place. As a former F&N teacher, she knows quite a bit of theory on baking, so we got her to help us in the cake batter. We used the 3-egg recipe in my previous strawberry cake attempt as MY has a 18 cm pan but not a 20 cm pan The eggs were very difficult to beat up, as compared to my previous attempt. In the end we beat the eggs with the electric hand mixer for about 20 minutes before it finally became thick and creamy. No idea whether it's because we used brown suger, or because the we did not defrost the eggs fully. But in any case, the batter did not deflate while folding and it did rise while baking.

The rest of the girls subsequently came while the cake was baking in the oven. We got everybody's help in decorating the cake. MY whipped the cream by hand, and I see that it's actually not necessary to use the electric mixer for whipping cream. Whipping by hand actually gives better control and she's got the nice stiff peaks which I have never acheived before. Frosting the cake was again, very difficult. But since we were using sponge fingers, we couldn't be bothered about the sides. We got JX and XP to help with cutting the sponge fingers while MY frosted the cake with whipped cream and TT and I put the fruits onto the cake. Dusted with icing suger, I think the cake looks beautiful!

The mangoes were sweet and the strawberries not too tangy. The sponge cake was so-so, but not too bad. Even though we thought we had used a lot of whipped cream, we realised it's not as much as those store-bought cakes. So we can imagine how much whipped cream they actually used to frost a cake.

We started preparing the pizza dough as we waited for the sponge cake to cool.

The pizza dough was quite a disaster as it took nearly 3 hours to proof to about 1.5 times of its original size. I suspect it's the yeast. I doubt we killed it, because the water we used was just lukewarm. Probably the yeast itself was already dead. But in any case, the toppings we put onto it just made up for any flaws in the crust. One packed of smoked salmon for one pizza. Can't get this anywhere else! I personally liked this a lot. The saltiness is not a problem for me and MY, but XP's tolerance for it was at her limit.

We bought fresh button mushrooms for our second pizza. Logically, we washed the mushrooms as they did not seem too clean. But the mushrooms absorbed some water and while baking, a lot of water was produced! The crust became wet and got stuck on the parchment paper, and worst of all, the water dripped onto MY's oven.

Our second batch of mushroom pizza was better as we dried the mushrooms with paper towels and we "protect" the oven with a tray lined with aluminium foil. Still, there was water produced but at least the crust was still edible. The topping was overwhelming was we tried to use up the remaining ingredients for the pizza.

Lessons learnt: After washing the mushrooms, let it roast dry in the oven before using it for pizza topping. More cheese for MY's pizza, less cheese for the rest of us.


  1. i think for the mushrooms, it might be because it's the fresh it wld lose all the water in them during baking bahz..not like the canned button mushrooms..then again, i still quite like mushroom pizza with onions..not tt salty..salmon onez was great!!! but i dun wan so much is salty liaoz..

  2. idea...have to trial and error. I like both, since I don't have a problem with the saltiness.