It's birthday season. Not kidding. Three of my closest friends [read: girls I've grown up with since the fourth grade] have December birthdays. What does that mean for me?
Lots of baking. Saturday last was Noosh's raspberry chocolate cake with bittersweet raspberry ganache. Definitely a winner. I set a personal goal to make the other two just as good.
Today was Nitya's twentieth. Nitya is...somewhat picky, dessert-wise. Well, maybe picky isn't the right word. She's just not the biggest fan of desserts, in general. I had her give me a list of her likes and dislikes, in terms of what she'd want for a cake. It was quite the list. I do recall that among the 'dislikes' was cilantro, though. [Needless to say, there was no cilantro in your cake, Nitya. Breathe a sigh of relief.] But she does love strawberries. So that served as the theme. [Not unlike her layered angel food cake with lemon curd and strawberry jam two years ago. But no lemon curd this time.]
White cake layered with vanilla cream and strawberry jam, with a whipped cream frosting, topped with chocolate-dipped strawberries and enclosed in a pirouette border. I'm not gonna lie: I have zero creativity whatsoever, and this idea was not mine at all. It comes from The Art of Two Tarts' blog: an absolutely gorgeous cake that you must go check out; mine isn't half as beautiful in comparison. But I really, really, really, wanted to try and recreate it.
As for how I decorated my cake, I basically followed exactly what 'The Art of Two Tarts' did: dipped some strawberries in bittersweet chocolate, drizzled white chocolate 'artfully' on top, and let them cool on a a sheet of wax paper. Meanwhile, I took some pirouettes [French Vanilla and Chocolate Hazlenut, to be exact], broke them into different sized pieces, pressed them to the sides of the cake, and tied some ribbon around them. Once the strawberries had set, I arranged them on top of the cake.
The entire process was somewhat tedious, just because of all the components that went into it, but the end result was so worth it. It just looks beautiful. And it's really not that difficult it all.
Plus, I braved a snowstorm to drive it the entire 5 miles to her house, so I was rather pleased. And she loved it!
Happy twentieth birthday, Nitya! It's hard to believe we've been such good friends for 10 years already! Here's to more amazing times to come.
Love, with all my heart.
Only downside: it was a beast to cut.
But we managed. :)