CHOCOLATE & STRAWBERRY MASCARPONE CAKE FOR PINK OCTOBER

“Well, we don’t expect him to look pink and wonderful, do we?”
Roger Williams
I love October. The weather’s finally changing. There’s a nip in the morning air, ever so slight, but it’s there. It’s October, and with October comes DH’s birthday. DH, or Mr PAB, is the reason behind my blog, my biggest source of inspiration, my biggest admirer, and yet my biggest critic. He calls a spade a spade, and as much as I cringe to criticism, I have to be grateful that he doesn’t mince words. He is reserved, very much so, doesn’t have a runaway tongue like me, and talks as little as I do lots! Is the wind beneath my wings, my free spirited nature … this pink was for him!
I made a chocolate Sachertorte for his birthday 2 years ago, and frosted it with pale pinks … A Pinktober Cake for a blogging event in support of breast cancer. Mr PAB didn’t have an issue with a pink birthday cake, and was even happier to see pink back this year. I got distracted last year & fell back into my coffee mode. Made a Chocolate Coffee-Almond-Meringue Layer Cake for his birthday, and still regret not having gone pink in 2008. This year am firmly back on track. He noticed the pink comeback this year, and surprisingly, so did the daughter. She asked me why I made pink for Papa every year. The pink seems to make more sense to her now. Her friends’ mother is just recovering from a second bout of breast cancer, and a neighbour of mine has just been diagnosed with it.
These beautiful flowers of the Rangoon Creeper have something to do with my ‘this time of the year pink obsession’. The plant blooms 2-3 times a year, and happily always in the first week of October too, lending gorgeous shades of pink to our garden. (I virtually met Purple Foodie over a conversation about these flowers 2 years ago!). They are inspirational, and I spend many a morning just sitting looking at them. I picked the colours off the flowers to frost my cake this year.The RANGOON CREEPER (Quisqualis indica) is a large woody creeper which is a native of Malaysia, south-eastern Asia and tropical Africa but has become so popular as a cultivated plant that it is now one of the commonest creepers to be found in Indian gardens. The Circular Garden where the Mughal Gardens end has its share of this creeper. Popular Indian names for this creeper are Madhumalati and Radhamanohari. The outer surface of the flowers are slightly flushed with pink, the inner surface after the bud has opened is pure white, which slowly turns pink and finally a rich red. As the flowers open in succession there are to be found flowers of all ages on the plant, hence the effect of the numerous blossoms, some white, some pink and some red, is very striking. The flowers are beautifully scented in the evening. Back to the cake… The basic cake, a chocolate sponge, is a recipe from Indulge – 100 Prefect Desserts’ by Claire Clark that I recently reviewed for an event for BloggerAid. I am eternally grateful to BloggerAid for getting this book to me, as it has everything dessert I can dream of. The chocolate sponge for this particular cake forms the base for the ‘Bitter Chocolate, Praline Brulee, Espresso Torte’ in her book, which I very nearly made. It was the espresso / coffee factor that nearly nudged me off the pink factor, but I caught myself just in time. The sponge turned out lovely & moist. However, it was nowhere near done in the suggested 20 minutes, and when I opened the door to check a couple of times, it deflated from a good height of 4 1/2″ to a rather uneven 3″! Well to salvage it for my base, I cooled it in the tin (as suggested), & placed a weight on it. Left it in the fridge overnight. I managed to get 2 even slices from it in the morning. Worked fine for me, and was decadent, chocolaty & moist!
The rest of the cake was made on a whim. Made mascarpone (yes, ‘again’) because it’s a firmer soft cream cheese, with a flavour we love. Got talking to Manggy on twitter, and took his expert advice on the filling, layering etc. He suggested that it was better to add some gelatin to stabilise the mascarpone, given our hot weather. Always err on the side of caution: maybe even 1 teaspoon in the cream would do. Never a better piece of advice, and I am GLAD I asked him! Worked perfectly! Also took on Hilda’s suggestion, which she gave me a while ago, on an alternative for acetate sheets. We don’t get acetate here, and in the middle of a twitconversation, I happened to mention it. She was quick on an alternative, suggested using transparencies instead from a stationery shop. I’ve stocked up on those, and it’s the best thing that happened to me. Loved the ease of working with them. Thank you Hilda, and thank you Manggy … ever grateful for your expert advice.

Pink for October 2009
In the month of October, the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is recognized by survivors, family and friends of survivors and/or victims of the disease. A pink ribbon is worn to recognize the struggle that sufferers face when battling with the cancer. Pink for October is an initiative started by Matthew Oliphant, which asks that any blog and website owners willing to help make people aware of breast cancer, change their template or layout to include the color pink, so that when visitors view the site, they see that the majority of the site is pink. I went PINK for October to show my support for breast cancer awareness. Do stop by HERE if you want to learn more, or are game to go pink!

Chocolate & Strawberry Mascarpone Birthday Cake
Chocolate Sponge
adapted from Indulge by Claire Clark, page 156
100gm dark chocolate, chopped fine
100gms butter
4 medium eggs
185 gms (6 ½ oz sugar) sugar
60gms (2 ½ oz) plain flour
Method:
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease an 8” Spring form tin, and line the bottom with parchment.
Place the chopped chocolate & butter in a pan over boiling water & stir until melted. Don’t let the base of the pan touch the water. Remove from the bowl of water, and keep warm on side of stove.
Beat the eggs & sugar until light and fluffy, and the batter triples in volume. It should leave a trail when it falls back.
Gently fold in the chocolate butter mixture, keeping as much volume as possible.
Sift the flour over a piece of parchment & fold in very gently.
Turn batter into the prepared tin, even the surface, and bake for 20 minutes until the top springs back, or the tester comes out clean. (Mine took over 35 minutes)
Leave to cool in tin.

Filling
350gms mascarpone (home made recipe here)
100ml light cream (25% fat)
3-4 tbsps ground vanilla sugar / or castor sugar (adjust to taste)
1 tsp gelatin
Method:
Sprinkle the gelatin over 1/8 cup of cold water & leave to soften. Mix well.
Horizontally slice the sponge in two. Put the lower layer onto your serving platter, and encircle with acetate to form a snug ring mold.
Whip the mascrapone, cream & vanilla sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Sieve in the gelatin, and quickly whisk in well to mix uniformly. Pour over the base of cake, into the acetate mold.
Drop 5-6 tbsps of strawberry concentrate/conserve & marble with a wooden pick.
Leave in fridge to firm up for about an hour or so. Top with the second layer & leave to chill for another hour.
Frosting
250gms mascarpone
3 tbsps ground vanilla sugar (or castor sugar)
1/2 tsp strawberry essence (optional)
Food color for piping on top
Dark chocolate etc for garnishing
Method:
Beat the mascarpone, essence & sugar till firm peaks form.
Reserve 2-3 tbsps in a baggies for piping designs on top.

Frost just the top of the cake, within the acetate mold & leave to set ( within the acetate so it doesn’t flow off the sides), OR, if you want to frost the sides as well, remove the acetate gently, & frost all around. I left the cake covered in the fridge overnight for the flavours to mature.
Pipe designs gently on top as you like, grate dark chocolate with a microplane zester to cover the sides, and place a few chocolate shavings on top. Chill until ready to serve.

♥ Thank you for stopping by ♥

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This post found mention on

I am one of the 50 bloggers & chefs whose recipes have been included in the free STRAWBERRY mobile app for iPhone and iPod touch.

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Availability
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Comments

  1. RJ Flamingo says:

    This is just gorgeous, Deeba! Wonderful detailed work – and all in a good cause. Mr. PAB is a good sport about the pink birthday cake, but I'd wager he knows which side his cake is iced on. :-)

  2. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Splendid job! That cake is really amazing! I love the decorations…

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  3. Dragana says:

    What a sweet post! You have a lovely family. We have a rangoon creeper in our yard with beautiful showy flowers. It loves our Houston weather.

  4. Superchef says:

    Awesome cake!! n nice post!

  5. Barbara Bakes says:

    Lots of great ideas in this post! In addition to being amazingly beautiful!

  6. Julia @ Mélanger says:

    Deeba, just an amazing cake. Love the sentiment behind it as well.

  7. Julie @ Willow Bird Baking says:

    What a beautiful cake and a beautiful post! Your DH must be thrilled with the time and effort (and taste) you put in!

  8. Lolah says:

    What a wonderful cake! It looks so elegant and delicious!
    Cheers from Spain.

  9. What a pretty, pretty post – the flowers and the cake, and oh my, the piping scroll work is Exquisite!
    The icing was mascarpone??? Goodness, you have taken that cheese to such heights!

  10. Aparna says:

    Your cake is gorgeous, Deeba. Your trademark scrolling is pretty. Now why should your husband want to complain about this pink cake? :)
    Belated b'day wishes to him.

  11. Shalinee says:

    Wow….so beautiful and creative. I love all the photos. Deeba, u r awesome.

  12. The Cooking Ninja says:

    This cake is super gorgeous! I'm drooling over my pc just looking at it.

    Happy Belated Birthday to your hub!

  13. Happy cook says:

    That is a beautiful cake.
    I am bookmarking this idea for mascarpone.
    And I would love love love and fratefull if you show me how to get that beautiful design on top of the ckae.
    That is just BEAUTIFUL.
    Happy b'day to you hubby from three of us here in Belgium.

  14. Marija says:

    Beautiful cake Deeba!

  15. Priya says:

    Beautiful cake, gorgeous clicks!

  16. Divya Kudua says:

    One word-Spectacular

    *bowing before you*

  17. the cake is glowing Deeba. Y'day saw the picture on the header and was desperately looking for the recipe. i'm glad i checked in again today. the pattern makes it look even more adorable. when will i ever muster enough courage to try one of your layered delicacies…

  18. This is one of the most beautiful cake I have seen!

  19. i am an old admirer,love this post as usual, great inspiration

  20. You are so lucky to have Mr PAB in your life, and he to have you! It sounds like a perfect relationship to me :-p

    I love the cake! I wish I had somebody in my life that made this kind of treats for me LOL

  21. sunita says:

    What a gorgeous cake Deeba; no one should be allowed to complain about it- would be criminal :-)

  22. What a gorgeous cake and so pretty in pink. Love the info about the Rangoon creeper, I can see why you love it. Happy birthdya Mr. PAB :)

  23. i know those flowers! my aunt used to have a tree in her front yard. they have never struck me as so pretty before.

    that cake.. looks good :)

  24. Gattina says:

    this tall cake is work of art! with that gorgous flower arrangement, no doubt you are a very talent artist!

  25. its simply brilliant…

  26. lisaiscooking says:

    I love the pretty swirls on top, and the mascarpone sounds delicious! Beautiful cake!

  27. Palidor says:

    Deeba, the cake is breath-taking. The design on the top is so intricate and perfect. I love it!

  28. u like teasing us dont you. I was all ready to beg you for details of the lovely cake on your header!! HAppy Bday Mr.PAB and let me say it again, "What a piece of art"!! Love ur blog

  29. Manggy says:

    Hey! Is that a quote from my direct message?! lol. Glad to help. I also used stationery acetate before I started packing them in my luggage from the US, but make sure you wash them with soap really well.
    As I've said before, beautiful cake, Deeba :)

  30. Tracey in WA says:

    GORGEOUS cake!!!! I need to ask, what do you mean "Frost just the top of the cake, within the acetate mold?"

  31. I never have seen a breath-taking cake like this..
    I will going too make him.

  32. Proud Italian Cook says:

    Your creations are truely stunning Deeba. You are so true to your blogs name with all the passion you show here!

  33. Lovely decorations and superb clicks….

  34. ButterYum says:

    ***GASP***

    Breathtakingly Beautiful!!!!!!!!

    I'm in awe~~~total awe!

  35. meeso says:

    It's beautiful, you are so talented!

  36. Amanda says:

    Deeba – I think this is the prettiest cake I have ever seen in my life. I absolutely love it!!

    Thank you for the suggestion for Pink October. I am going to take a peek and see if I can make some changes to my template to reflect the pink :)

  37. Maria says:

    Such a gorgeous cake. Too pretty to eat, really! FANTASTIC!

  38. Oh my goodness Deeba! The flowers are almost as pretty as the cake! That is seriously magnificent. And what a sweet tradition for your husband's birthday! Pink is a fine color for birthday cakes no matter who they're for. ;)

  39. Natashya KitchenPuppies says:

    I adore your photos, those colours are my favourite. So feminine and light.
    What a wonderful cake for such an important cause. And the flowers are exquisite.

  40. DCRose says:

    Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

  41. Cakelaw says:

    Stunning cake Deeba – I was dying to know how you did the design on top, so I scrolled down to the end to find out. Lucky Mr PAB!

  42. Arwen from Hoglet K says:

    The flowers are beautiful, and it must be beautiful with them changing colour on the plant. Chocolate and strawberry sounds lovely, and it's very pretty too. Good job raising cancer awareness.

  43. Your hubby sounds like a very nice man Deeba. Happy Birthday to Mr Pab! The cake is beautiful!

  44. Murasaki Shikibu says:

    It's so beautiful. I don't think I'd want you to see any of my cakes…lol

  45. thereddeer says:

    Such a beautiful cake :) – I just found your blog through Baking Bites and I love it. Adding to my Google Reader now.

  46. Peter M says:

    Deeba, I'm agog at the attention to detail you show in your posts and this lovely cake…look at the swirls!

  47. Muneeba says:

    Oh wow .. this is one of the prettiest things you've ever done, Deeba .. and that's saying something, 'coz u have a real eye for gorgeous things!

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  49. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    Gorgeous utterly outstanding combination of colors and flavors… chocolate, strawberry and mascarpone.. this is a birthday cake that everyone will need for a Birthday ;)

    Cheers!

    Gera

  50. George@CulinaryTravels says:

    Just found you on Twitter. What a beautiful blog you have. Your photography is utterly amazing.

  51. Darina says:

    What an amazing looking cake. I bet it was absolutely delicious. Looks way to pretty to eat, thoug.

  52. Gloria says:

    Dear Deeba always when I come your Blog I think is beauty, simple and pure beauty, your food is beauty your pictures are beauty, and this cake is amazaing and beauty as always, so inspiring to me , besoos, xoxoxoxo gloria

  53. thecookieshopinenglish says:

    Deeba, this is the most beautiful cake I've seen in a long time! You are an artist.

  54. Meghna says:

    Visually stunning creation!!

  55. Barbara says:

    Wonderful posting and a gorgeous cake! You are really talented!

  56. Hanaâ says:

    Beautiful cake, Deeba. I love chocolate and strawberries together. That frosting looks so creamy and yummy (I really should stop licking my monitor now) :o) Happy bday to your hubby!!! Funny how our 2 hubbies are the same when it comes to feedback: we want them to be honest but sometimes they can be TOO honest, ha ha!

  57. Helene says:

    You are becoming a super baker. What a beautiful cake. Love your attention to details. Those flowers are so cute.

  58. Gorgeous gorgeous cake and you inspire me to try harder, work harder! Happy Birthday to hubby from me and I am sure he enjoyed this luscious cake – though I would've enjoyed a close up of the cut slice so I could enjoy it vicariously. Thanks for the Pink Link.

  59. Nicisme says:

    Aaaaahhhh. Sugar fix for the day… Done!
    You know how to decorate a cake, it's beautiful! Happy Birthday to your husband, hope he had a great day.

  60. Gerogous cake, post and photos. I love visiting your blog.
    Mimi

  61. Peggy Bourjaily says:

    Could that cake be any more beautiful!!!

  62. Beautiful cake for a great cause. Your husband is lucky to have you!

  63. WizzyTheStick says:

    Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow. I am speechless. Where do you learn to decorate cakes like that. This looks so professional

  64. Nagesh.MVS says:

    Beautiful cake
    Work From Home

  65. Nagesh.MVS says:

    Beautiful cake
    Work From Home

  66. Wonderful!!

  67. WOW Deeba, that is one gorgeous looking cake, super!

  68. browniegirl says:

    OH MY!!! This is just a stunning cake. And for such a good cause. Mr PAB is a good sport with the pink cake hehe..Been doing a quick bit of a catch up on a few blogs. lovely stuff Deeba, well done. Hugs to you xxx

  69. The Purple Foodie says:

    Deeba! I totally owe it to these flowers for aid our conversation! :D

    Lucky, lucky husband. I bake a lot, but when it comes to baking huge birthday cakes, I chicken out. I don't know why.

  70. Cynthia says:

    I was over at Foodgawker and gawked at this! OMG your are so amazingly talented. Debba, I'm speechless.

  71. MeetaK says:

    what an adorable looking cake and i love the fine intricate decorations. lovely flowers too! hugs!

  72. A & W says:

    This is absolutely GORGEOUS. Might be the prettiest cake I've ever seen!
    - Whitney

  73. Citroen Middle East says:

    The cake along with the pink flowers are awesome!!!!!!Simply superb!

  74. ♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ says:

    Beautiful cake Deeba! :)

  75. Hi Deeba,

    wonderful cake…i tried my luck but when i whipped the mascarpone n cream together it got grainy like when u cream butter n sugar? i used the mascarpone u get in supermarkets. Also the cake didnt rise well…it was all fluffy when i got it out of the oven but went flat soon after..can u tell me wat i did wrong? thx

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