Strawberry Mousse Cloud Layer Cake, because strawberry and lime mousse sandwiched in between a gluten-free sponge, covered with a vanilla bean whipped cream and rose petals can only have one name, thanks to Instagram friends.
About a month ago Wholesome Cook turned 4!
Most bloggers I know will tell you that their blogging journey has been an interesting one. My story is no different. What began as an exercise is study procrastination, soon evolved into a passion for sharing home-cooked recipe ideas with friends, family and anyone else who’d stop by and care to listen. While it did take me a while to purchase a decent camera, I was always quite clear about what Wholesome Cook was about.
This past year proved to be yet another amazing year for the blog, and I could not be more grateful. Filled with wonderful opportunities, new friendships, projects, email exchanges and chance meetings with some of you, and a certain realisation.
As you may know, from the very beginning my goal with Wholesome Cook was to create a point of reference for healthy, nutritious and easy to prepare meals, without breaking the bank or over-complicating things. It has always been a pretty simple idea based on the premise of eating real, unprocessed food and on educating ourselves to choose the right, additive-free convenience foods when necessary.
I’ve definitely grown. I’ve found new inspiration and gained a much better understanding of whole foods, processing methods and my own preferences toward certain types of food.
From being Flexitarian to recognising Bioindividuality | The Bettertarian approach
Perhaps a little surprisingly then, I’ve also realised that being an omnivorous flexitarian with very few sensitivities is kind of hard nowadays. It is not as simple as being focused on a single-diet approach. Doubt set in and I’ve wondered whether I should be creating recipes that can be pigeon-holed in to a single diet box.
During my Health Coach studies at IIN, I studied over 100 dietary theories, each claiming to be better than the next. I pondered this question more than enough this year and then I thought, hang on a second. This is not how we eat.
I’m not a vegan nor vegetarian, although we try to eat that way around twice a week. We are not entirely Paleo either – Matt loves his pasta and rice, but I seem to have starch and to a lesser extent gluten sensitivities so I mostly avoid rice, pasta and unfermented breads. Some grains like rye and spelt I’m perfectly fine with. We have no issues consuming dairy, especially yoghurt which is naturally low in lactose, but do so mostly in small amounts and by default. Except for this cake, maybe.
It struck me then, that the best approach for me, for us and for everyone, really, is to become bettertarian!
Bettertarian, because we are all different and no single diet fits everyone the same. I call it bioindividuality. This is why I like to share recipes that can be easily adapted to suit different dietary needs.
And so, over the past year specifically, and because of a family history of numerous allergies and food sensitivities, Wholesome Cook has become a place where I’ve been exploring natural, allergy-friendly and mostly additive-free recipe ideas. My food philosophy? Eat clean food that is right for you, 90 per cent of time, indulge in the other 10. Put simply, eat real food that’s best for you.
Voices of 2014 Top 5 Food and Wellbeing Blog
This is why I am so proud to have been recognised as one of the Top 5 Food and Wellbeing Blogs in the Voices of 2014 competition over at Kidspot.com.au. Because my approach is holistic and not pigeon-holed. Because I am allergy-aware and will happily provide options for most food sensitivities, most of the time. Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my thoughts and recipes there, so make sure to stop by.
The past 12 months
Have been really good on other fronts, too. I’ve developed a number of recipes for Sarah Wilson’s 8 Week Program and second book, I Quit Sugar for Life, and began writing a regular recipe column in Nourish Magazine. Over the life of the blog, I’ve written three ebooks in which I shared my journey and discovery of a healthier way of life through moderation, balance and eating mostly unprocessed whole foods.
For now, let’s eat cake!
Strawberry Mousse Cloud Layer Cake, to be exact. A celebration cake.
I wanted to make this cake one that a whole family could enjoy. Poor Zac hasn’t had a single strawberry since he’s had his braces put on so this was more than my own celebration cake.
I removed the seeds from the puree which resulted in a velvety smooth strawberry, almost marshmallowy, centre. He loved that.
Since we are fine with dairy I used fresh cream and yoghurt cream cheese to add a little probiotic goodness and balance out the fat content somewhat. For a dairy-free version you could use the thick layer of coconut cream instead.
I also wanted to make the sponge gluten-free because I know many of you are Coeliac. While I used almond meal, you could use the same amount of rice flour or gluten-free flour if allergic to nuts.
The reason why I used actual sugar is simple. We so rarely eat cake that using 1/2 cup of unrefined Demerara sugar for the entire cake seemed very reasonable and moderate to me.
Besides, consuming a little fat with sugar helps slow down its absorption into the blood stream. Of course you could use stevia, natvia, xylitol or any other granulated sugar you choose.
Thank you for sticking around
I am grateful for the fact that I am still here, sharing stories and recipes from my kitchen and inspiring you to cook from scratch. Your visits, comments, emails and social media interactions have been a testament to the stuff that I do. Thank you for reading, connecting and wanting to eat the best food for you.
Awesome things are going to happen over then next 12 months, I promise, but for now enjoy the cake.
With lots of love.
Strawberry Mousse Cloud Layer Cake
For the Gluten-free Sponge:
- 4 eggs must be at room temperature
- 1/3 cup unrefined Demerara sugar or other granulated sweetener of choice - see notes above
- 1/2 cup almond meal see notes for nut-free alternatives
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour tapioca
For the Strawberry Mousse:
- 500 g ripe strawberries 1lb 1oz, 1 cup pure strawberry puree
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 lime, zested
- 21/2 tablespoons milled unrefined demerara sugar unrefined icing sugar or sweetener of choice
- 23/4 teaspoons gelatine I used this grass-fed gelatine
- 4 tablespoons boiling hot water
- 200 g yoghurt cream cheese 7oz, or thick natural Greek-style yoghurt
- 300 ml fresh cream 10fl oz
For the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream Frosting:
- 300 ml fresh cream 10fl oz
- 2 tablespoons milled unrefined demerara sugar unrefined icing sugar or sweetener of choice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder or vanilla bean paste
- 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 1 fresh rose petals only
To make the sponge:
- Preheat oven to 170C (340F, gas mark 4). Line a bottom of a 23cm (9inch) spring form tin with non-stick baking paper. Do not grease sides.
- Separate eggs making sure to keep the yolks intact. Place egg whites in a bowl of a mixer and beat on high speed until the whites become frothy and start to form soft peaks, about 2 minutes. Begin adding sugar, a tablespoon at a time while continuing to mix on high speed. The mixture should now be quite firm and glossy. Continue beating on high speed. Whisk yolks and add a tablespoon at a time to the whites until all are incorporated.
- Reduce mixer speed to very slow. In a separate bowl mix together the flours and add in in three batches. Mix on low speed until just incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven (leave oven on for the strawberries) and cool in the tin completely before removing from tin. To do so, run a knife around the edge of the cake. Using a bread knife, slice the sponge in to two layers.
To make the Strawberry Mousse, once the cake has cooled:
- Wash and hull strawberries. Cut in half and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 10 minutes at 170C (340F, gas mark 4). Remove from oven and transfer to a blender. Process until smooth. Pour pureed strawberries onto a fine mesh sieve set over a clean bowl and strain, pressing with a spoon. Discard seeds. Add lime juice, zest and milled sugar, whisk to combine. In a small bowl combine gelatine and boiling hot water. Mix until gelatine is dissolved. Add gelatine to the warm strawberry puree. Whisk well before adding yoghurt and whisking again. In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form. Reduce speed to low and mix in the puree.
To assemble the cake:
- Place the bottom half of the sponge cake back in the springform tin. Pour in the strawberry mousse, spread evenly and top with the remaining cake layer. Press down gently. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set.
To make the Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting:
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
To frost and decorate the cake:
- Run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate the mousse from the sides of the tin. Remove the ring and transfer the cake, gently, to a serving platter. Place half of the frosting on the top of the cake and spread. Using a knife, Spread remaining icing around the sides of the cake, rustic is fine. Top the cake with coconut flakes and rose petals.