When I was little, I always heard people ranting about Valentine’s day being a commercial endeavor for people to go overboard and splurge on their love gifts. Some would go as far as expressing their resentment at the red colored extravaganza in shops’ glass windows, along with the sort of cliche comment that goes “Love is lived every day and does not call for a consumerist date to be felt and voiced out”.
But I had always thought that love day presents do not have to be excessively expensive to be deemed satisfactory, and a small gesture would suffice. Why not celebrate love on a set date? Yes, you can celebrate it every day, but why not also on 14 February? It could be an occasion for a date night for couples who have been together for quite some time, away from the commotion of social life these days. It could be a proper time to reflect on the dynamics of our relationships, and ponder yet again what we love most about one another. It could provide small and big businesses alike with further income sources and would give people who love to host an excellent opportunity to showcase their kitchen and table setup talents.
Along this line of thought, I decided to test a delicious recipe I found online for a Charlotte Raspberry cake. It is pink and red, and would go perfectly with the occasion.
I tweaked and twisted it nonetheless, and the result was super! An extremely spongy cake with a sweet and pink-colored cream decorated with fresh raspberries and mint leaves.
The recipe in full is not my own, but the cream is. And that is the essence of home made cooking: our own input is the final twist that takes it from a cookbook to the hearts of our guests.
I hope you enjoy it!
For the spongy cake
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of vanilla
Mix and divide into two greased pans. Bake until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Shave any extras to flatten the surface of each so you can easily place them on top of one another.
For the whipped cream:
Any whipped cream powder you may find
250 ml Milk
300 g cream cheese
Red food coloring
Make 2 cups of whipped cream as per the instructions on the Whipped cream box.
Mix 1.5 cups of white whipped cream with 200 g of cream cheese until totally smooth. Add very little red coloring to it and mix until it turns the shade of pink you like.
For the decoration
250 g Raspberry Jam (or Red fruits or Strawberry Jam)
150 g Raspberries
a few fresh mint leaves
Assembling the cake:
Place one cake on the final cake holder, spread the raspberry jam on it, then add the pink cream mixture.
Layer the second cake and repeat step 1 which is spreading the strawberry jam. Then spread the pink cream only in the middle of it, leaving the outer circle 3 or 4 centimeters wide empty to place the white whipped cream.
Continue spreading the pink cream on the outer sides of the cake. You could do that in an easier manner by using a rotational cake stand made especially to that end. Add lady fingers with the sugar side of them facing outwards.
Fill the middle of the cake on top of the pink cream with fresh raspberries, between which you can insert fresh green mint leaves for an extra decorative effect. As for the outer perimeter around the pink cream in the middle, fill it with white cream by injecting it from where the lady fingers start to the middle through the different heads of the icing bag.