Last week, we celebrated my sister's birthday with a nice dinner out at Dooleys in Lidcombe. I always get major guilt when it comes to birthdays during this time of year, because they usually coincide with the end of a university teaching period, and that means EXAMS. And when you literally have a mountain of textbooks to get through, and fifty thousand lectures to revise, and...I think you get my point. It's hard to find the time to bake your relatives a beautiful birthday cake, even though you really, really want to. And if it so happened that their birthday fell on a weekday; well, the chances of making them a cake just went from 'unlikely' to 'impossible'.
It tasted better than it looked!
As for the filling - I decided early on that I wanted several, distinct layers. My brainstorming yielded the following: a cream cheese mousse at the bottom, with a layer of strawberries in the middle, and topped with a berry mousse of some kind. As you can see from the picture above, things didn't exactly go according to plan. The cream cheese mousse turned out all right, although I would use a tad less gelatin in the future (or go with sheet instead of powdered). The fresh strawberry middle layer was replaced with plums, due to the fact that 1) plums are cheaper and 2) I needed the precious punnet of strawberries for decorating the top of the cake. And as for the berry mousse...major, MAJOR disaster. Seriously, the moment I saw the mousse splitting - it felt like my heart was being split apart as well, no joke. I beat myself up over it for days afterwards, regretting the time, materials and effort wasted.
And so I baked a sponge cake and used that instead that as the top layer. It looked rather plain, so I covered it with jelly and strawberries. I wish I could say that this cake was what I'd envisioned all along, but the truth is that my cakes often bear no resemblance to the original plans. But since those original plans exist only in my head, I guess no one else will be any the wiser, right? :D