(8 inch cake)
Most of this week the light in my kitchen has been different, enough to produce darker photographs than usual. I thought it a bit odd, but told myself it must be all the leaves filling in the trees in my garden. I ran out once or twice to pick tomatoes, but didn't take the time to look around as it was far too hot for me.
This morning my lawn service knocked on my door asking whether I had plans to remove the tree limbs and debris from my backyard. A very tall tree had snapped in half and fallen into my garden, pulling at and lowering the branches of the other trees on either side of it, resulting in the change of the light in my kitchen. It pulled the phone line off the house as well, but my internet was still working otherwise I might have known there was a problem sooner. The fellow at my door told me judging by the state of the tree and the fact we had severe thunderstorms earlier in the week, this probably happened 5 or 6 days ago. I can't believe I didn't notice, lol!
It's Sunday and not much I can do about the tree before tomorrow. So, I went back to making my strawberry yogurt cream cake. This delicious cake is very loosely based on a bavarian cream, but much lighter owing to a large amount of pureed strawberries and yogurt in place of a portion of the heavy cream.
This cake is gluten free. I swapped out the traditional sponge cake bottom with a gluten free granola crust. Udi's makes a decent vanilla granola.
The next time I'd like to experiment a bit using agar agar instead of gelatin. I love the texture of agar agar and unlike gelatin, it doesn't have a tendency to get firmer with each day. The added bonus of course is, agar agar is a plant product.
1 cup gluten free vanilla granola
2 oz white chocolate
1 tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 - 2 envelopes gelatin
1 lb frozen whole strawberries (no sugar added) defrosted
1/4 cup agave nectar, or to taste
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 lb fresh strawberries
Prepare an 8 inch springform pan by oiling it lightly with a bit of canola oil or butter (just enough for the parchment paper to stick). Cut out a parchment paper circle to fit the bottom of the pan as well as strips to form a collar. Set aside.
Place the granola into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have fine crumbs. Empty the contents into a small bowl.
Melt the white chocolate carefully (I melted it in the microwave oven, heating it for 15 seconds at a time, then stirring each time) and stir in the butter. Pour this chocolate/butter mixture over the granola crumbs and mix everything until it's evenly combined.
Press the crust mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the prepared springform. Set aside.
*Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and set aside. One envelope of gelatin (7g) will set about 2 cups of liquid. Use both envelopes if you prefer a firmer dessert.
Rinse out the bowl of the food processor and add the defrosted strawberries. Process until you have a smooth puree. You should have about 2 cups, give or take a bit. Stir in the agave nectar.
*I placed both the gelatin and strawberry puree into glass measures so I could use the microwave to heat both of them up easily.
Once the gelatin has expanded in the water, heat the mixture up and stir until all of the gelatin granules have dissolved.
Heat up the strawberry puree until it's quite warm. It's not necessary to bring it to a boil or anything like that. (You just want it warm enough so the gelatin can be easily stirred into it.)
Stir the gelatin and agave nectar into the strawberry puree until well combined. Allow everything to cool to room temperature, then stir in the yogurt.
Whip the cream and when it's stiff enough, fold that into the strawberry and yogurt mixture. (Take care not to over beat the cream, it can separate and become butter very quickly.) If the mixture seems lumpy after folding it in, then try using a whisk.
Pour half of the strawberry cream into the springform and refrigerate for about 35 minutes. Cover the remaining cream and leave that out on the counter.
Wash and dry the fresh strawberries. Hull them and cut them in half.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. The cream will have begun to thicken slightly. Carefully arrange about half of the strawberries over the cream. Ladle the remaining cream over the strawberries, then arrange the remaining strawberries over the top.
Return the cake to the refrigerator and leave it there for 4 hours or until the cake is firm. Keep it in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
When you are ready to serve the cake, run a knife between the pan and the parchment paper to make sure it's not stuck. Carefully remove the collar of the pan, then gently pull the parchment paper off the side of the cake.
Slice the cake using a knife dipped in very hot water, for easier cutting.