Looks pretty, doesn’t it? I made this cake for my little brother’s 23th birthday. I’m so glad he asked me to make this particular cake, because the first of July was a hot, HOT day in the Netherlands, and this cake is not only beautiful and festive, it’s also cool and refreshing on a hot summer’s day!
The first of July?
Yeah, my bro’s birthday was more than a month ago… But hey, what happens in July and August? Oh yeah… Summer! The time for lazy beach days, cold drinks with unnecessary, frilly umbrellas, an overdose of ice cream and abandoned computers!
But just because my computer is going dusty doesn’t mean I’ve stopped baking! On the contrary, summer is the season of picking wild blueberries in the forest and sunny markets laden with beautiful fruit, and I can’t wait to post about all the great fruity, summery recipes I’ve cooked up in my kitchen this past month.
Starting with this one!
In the Netherlands, this cake is ‘traditionally’ made with a mix from a packet (called ‘Dr. Oetker’s Kwarktaart’, which is basically just expensive gelatin and powdered milk), whipping cream and quark. But my version is about a million times more luscious… Even without the expensive gelatin!
Although quark is very readily available in Europe, I understand that it’s not commercially produced in the Americas, and Wikipedia is a little vague about what it should look like… But the quark the Dutch use basically resembles a thick yogurt, not a cheese. So if you live in America (or another quark-deprived part of the world) and see something that looks like cream cheese labeled as quark, don’t be tempted to use it in this cake. Go for a thick strawberry yogurt instead!
Either way, start with a cake… A delicious, fluffy Hot Milk Cake! The name alone sounds dreamy and cozy, doesn’t it?
I made my cake a little bigger, because the Rocking Rebel just loves cake scraps. So in the recipe below you’ll find the amounts for a cake half the height of this one. If you want to make your cake a bit taller like mine (for all I know you have a cake-craving Rocking Rebel yourself), check out the recipe for the cake in ‘Building Blocks‘.
Once you got yourself a cake, level it with a serrated knife, then pop it in a freshly lined springform pan and brush it with a fruity raspberry syrup. I just love raspberry syrup and I use it on everything!
Well, anything with red fruit in it, that is…
It’s also a Building Block actually… very useful recipe to have under your belt…
Next, line the sides of the pan with halved strawberries.
They’ll make the cake look even more beautiful…
Now for the yogurt mousse part…
Take some strawberry yogurt or quark and plop it in a big bowl. Then add some low-fat, plain yogurt and stir it into the strawberry yogurt. The yogurt makes the cake cool and refreshing!
Next, soak a few leaves of gelatin in cold water.
Cheap gelatin, that is… Not the overpriced gelatin from the Dutch packets.
Stir the softened gelatin into a warm mixture of milk and sugar until it’s completely dissolved.
Now whisk the milk mixture into the yogurt mixture!
Really not that difficult, right? Can you believe some people spend €2,68 to get themselves a little milk powder and gelatin? And like I said, this version just tastes so much better!
Carefully add the yogurt mixture to the springform pan without messing up the line of strawberries and leave the cake to set in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
I usually leave it to set overnight though… It’s always so zen when you have people coming over or a birthday party to attend to and you wake up knowing there is an almost finished cake just sitting in your fridge, waiting to be decorated.
You might as well do some morning yoga!
After you’ve had your morning coffee and a nice hot shower, take the cake out off the fridge, remove the springform collar and peel away the baking parchment.
Just look at those strawberries!
Some may have gotten a little lift from the mousse, but hey… it’s homemade and it should look that way!
Next, decorate the cake with an intricate geometric pattern of sliced strawberries to display your artistic and mathematic skills…
…then gather your family and friends and cut them all a big fat slice of cake!
‘Cause guess what? It’s yogurt and fruit…
So it’s healthy!
- 60g (or ¼ cup + ¾ teaspoon) unsalted butter
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) whole milk
- 1,5 large eggs*
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 160g (or ¾ cup + 2½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
- 100g (or ¾ cup + 2½ teaspoons) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- *crack the second egg in a cup, beat it with a fork, then add half of the egg to the mixing bowl of your recipe.
- 60ml (or ¼ cup) water
- 50g (or ¼ cup) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon raspberry eau de vie or raspberry liqueur (optional)
- 600ml (or 2½ cups) thick strawberry yogurt or strawberry quark
- 400ml (or 1½ cups + 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) low-fat, plain yoghurt
- 150ml (or ½ cup + 2 tablespoons) milk
- 60g (or ¼ cup + 2½ teaspoons) granulated sugar
- enough sheet gelatin to set 750ml of liquid
- 500g (or 1 pound + 1 ounce) fresh strawberries to decorate
- Start by combining the milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until the butter has melted. Pour in a heatproof bowl or mug and set aside to cool to body temperature. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F (standard oven setting) and line a 26-cm (10-inch) springform cake pan with baking parchment. I like to line both the bottom and the sides of the pan for this cake, as the parchment allows the cake to rise evenly and form less of a dome. Use a little butter to make the parchment stick to the sides of the pan.
- Combine the eggs, vanilla and sugar in the bowl of a double boiler (or in a medium-sized, heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water) and heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has warmed to slightly above body temperature. To check whether the sugar has dissolved, rub a little bit of mixture between your thumb and forefinger. You shouldn't feel any sugar crystals.
- Take the bowl off the heat and mix on high speed for ten minutes, until the mixture is pale, fluffy and can form a ribbon and the bottom of the bowl feels cool to the touch.
- In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until just combined. Give the mixture a quick whizz with the mixer. If you were to start mixing immediately after you've added the dry ingredients, you would end up with a big puff of flour in your kitchen.
- Check the milk mixture to make sure it has cooled to body temperature and add it to the batter. Mix briefly until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Let the cake cool for fifteen minutes in the pan, then remove from the pan and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Once the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup is clear, take the pan off the heat and pour the syrup in a mug to cool to room temperature.
- Once it has cooled to room temperature, measure off 60mls (or ¼ cup) of syrup and stir in the eau de vie. Discard the rest of the syrup.
- Line the springform cake pan that you used to bake the cake in with baking parchment (wash it first!). Again, use a little butter to help the parchment stick to the sides of the pan.
- If your cake has formed a dome on top, carefully level the cooled cake with a serrated knife.
- Place the cake back in the pan and, using a pastry brush, brush with an ample amount of raspberry syrup. Don't soak it though, you should have quite a lot of syrup left.
- Wash, dry and hull the strawberries. Line the sides of the pan with halved strawberries of similar size, cut side out.
- If using sheet gelatin, soak in cold water for ten minutes. If using another type of gelling agent, soak/bloom according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- In a large bowl, whisk or mix together the strawberry and plain yogurts. In a small saucepan, combine the milk with the sugar and heat gently over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved and the milk feels hot to the touch but hasn't yet come to a boil, take the milk off the heat and add the gelatin. If using sheet gelatin, squeeze out the excess water first.
- Stir to dissolve the gelatin, then add the milk mixture to the mixed yoghurt. If the gelatin doesn't dissolve, heat gently over low heat, stirring, until it does. Whisk or mix the milk mixture into the yogurt mixture until smooth.
- Pour the mousse mixture into the prepared cake pan and gently rap it a few times on the counter to smooth out the top and to get rid of any air pockets. Leave to set in the fridge for at least five hours but preferably overnight.
- Once the cake has set, take it out of the pan by removing the springform collar and carefully peel the baking parchment off the sides. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and decorate as desired with fresh strawberries. Serve cold out of the fridge.