This decadent cake needs to be started a day ahead for the layers to set and the flavours to infuse. The citrus syrup may also be made ahead, however, the strawberries will need to be sliced on the day.
- 3 punnets strawberries, hulled and sliced 2mm-thick lengthways
- 120 gm blanched almonds
- 3 eggs
- 100 gm pure icing sugar, sifted
- 3 eggwhites
- 1 pinch cream of tartar
- 20 gm caster sugar
- 30 gm plain flour, sifted
- 25 gm butter, melted
- 100 gm thickened cream, at room temperature
- 250 gm cream cheese, at room temperature
- ½ tsp each of finely grated lemon and lime rind
- 120 gm caster sugar
- 50 ml each of lemon and lime juice
- 2 leaves gelatine (titanium strength), soaked in cold water
- 50 gm caster sugar
- 2 tsp each lemon and lime juice
- 1 punnet strawberries, hulled and sliced 2mm-thick lengthways
- 1For almond sponge, preheat oven to 250C. Process almonds in a food processor until finely ground. Using an electric mixer, whisk together whole eggs and icing sugar for 6 minutes or until pale and thick, add ground almond and stir to combine. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form, then scatter over caster sugar and beat until smooth and glossy. Sift flour over whole-egg mixture and carefully fold through, then drizzle over melted butter and fold through. Add one-third of eggwhite mixture and carefully fold through to loosen (do not overwork), then fold through remaining eggwhite mixture. Using a spatula, spread batter over a 26cm x 38cm baking paper-lined oven tray and bake for 5-7 minutes or until golden. Cool on tray on a wire rack, then invert onto a sheet of baking paper and, carefully peel baking paper from sponge. Cut sponge into four 23cm x 9cm rectangles and set aside.
- 2For citrus cream, whisk cream to soft peaks and set aside. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, rinds and 50gm caster sugar until smooth. Meanwhile, combine lemon and lime juice and remaining sugar in a small saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Squeeze excess water from gelatine and add to syrup. Remove from heat, stir until gelatine dissolves and cool slightly. With motor running, pour syrup mixture into cream cheese mixture and beat for 1 minute or until smooth, then gently fold in whipped cream until just combined.
- 3To assemble cake, line a 10cm x 23cm loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place a sponge rectangle in base of cake pan, spread over one-third of citrus cream, top with one-third of strawberries in overlapping layers, then repeat process twice, finishing with a layer of sponge. Cover with plastic wrap, weight down with food cans and refrigerate for 3 hours or until set.
- 4Meanwhile, for strawberry salad, combine julienne citrus rind in a small heatproof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover, then drain and repeat. Combine sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, add blanched rind and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool, then add juices and stir to combine. Combine strawberries and citrus syrup in a bowl and toss gently to mix.
- 5To serve, dip cake pan into hot water, run a small knife around edges to loosen, then invert onto a platter and remove plastic wrap. Dust cake heavily with snow sugar, arrange a little strawberry salad over top and serve with remaining strawberry salad passed separately.
Note Snow sugar is a confectioner's sugar with a vegetable fat added to prevent the sugar from absorbing moisture from the cake and dissolving. It's available from The Essential Ingredient and specialty food stores.