Filed under: Baking, Cakes | Tags: agar agar, cake, mousse, rose water, soy cream cheese, strawberry
Isn’t change always worth a celebration? For better or worse, change is the attribute of all life: matter evolves by the laws of entropy, towards more chaos, and the living things are constantly on their way towards death. No moment is static, transformation is inevitable. A rite of passage is something that prepares us for the change, makes it easier to accept, since we tend to cling to the past with a fierce devotion.
We celebrated the bachelorette party of my friend who was getting married. Marriage is one rite of passage to adulthood, though not as important as it used to be. The Finnish folk poetry describes in vivid detail the sadness of the bride, when she has to leave her sisters and brothers, the safety of her childhood home and most important of all, her dear mother, as sweet as honey or berries in the forest. Waterfalls of tears were shed when the young bride left her home to never return, to be owned by the family of her husband, and be as the daughter – in – law the lowest in the hierarchy of a household.
The ways of marriage have luckily changed quite a bit, and these days marriage is a sign of mutual love and commitment, not a grim undertaking made in order to keep the human race existing. On this occasion it was indeed the bridegroom who left his sunny country to come to the cold and unhospitable Finland.
That weekend, we didn’t cry (except for me, a little bit), but drank pink sparkling wine, had a lush breakfast with beautiful live music at the cafe Villi Puutarha (” The Wild Garden”, which is one of the few places with vegan things to eat in Helsinki), acquired a pair of pink handcuffs at an adult shop, tried out pole dancing and sung at the top of our voices in a karaoke taxi. Finally we adorned ourselves with corsettes, beads, plenty of sparkle and make – up and headed for a burlesque party. Our beautiful, not so shy bride won the tassel twirling competition (don’t know what that means? Well find out, I won’t tell you), and the gorgeous bridegroom impressed everyone by an improvised Brazilian street – capoeira – dance show.
The night was ours. We partied and danced with the intensity of people taking part in a transition rite, submerged in a brazilian – burlesque fantasy world. But what does a frilly, mask – wearing, tasseled, lace – and gold – adorned foxy lady or gentleman eat before she or he hits the party? Of course a rosewater – strawberry – chocolate mousse cake, decorated with fresh cherries, figs and pitahaya..
Rosewater – Strawberry – Chocolate Mousse Cake
150 g gluten free vegan cookies ( I used a spanish brand called gullòn)
75 g vegetable margarine
200 g soy cream cheese
6 dl whippable soy cream
500 g soy yogurt
5 tbsp rose water
1 jar Sonnentor Rose Jam
3 dl frozen strawberries
1,5 dl powdered sugar (icing sugar)
2 tsp bourbon vanilla powder
2 dl agar – agar
3 dl water
100 g dark chocolate
1 dl soy milk or other non – dairy milk
I started the day before by draining the soy yogurt in a sieve that was lined with coffee filters.
The following day I made the crust: I crumbled up the cookies, and melted the margarine. Then I mixed both and patted the mixture at the bottom of a springform pan (diameter 26 cm), which was covered with a piece of baking parchment.
Then I made the chocolate ganache. I heated up the milk in and added the chocolate, mixing until it was melted. I spread this evenly on the crust.
Then I made the mousse. First I blended the strawberries, the vanilla, the icing sugar, the soy cream cheese, the drained yogurt,the rose jam and the soy cream with a handheld blender until it was nice and fluffy. Then I heated up the water and the rose water in a pan, and added the agar – agar. I boiled the mixture, mixing it constantly for a few minutes, until the agar – agar was diluted. Then I hastily poured it into the mousse – mixture, through a sieve and mixing carefully with the blender. Then I poured the mousse onto the crust, and put the cake in the fridge.
Some tips about agar:
– agar is a better gelling agent for mousses than gelatin, even if most people don’t know this. The mousse produced by agar is always fluffy, and never dry like the gelatin mousses sometimes are. And yes, it will set, but you’ll have to use enough agar!
– when diluting the agar it is often easier to start with a bit more liquid and let it evaporate by boiling the mixture a little bit longer, than to start with a tiny amount of liquid, like often is instructed.
– you can dilute agar to other liquids than water, but something like cream is already too thick for this purpose.
– the agar starts to set right away when you remove the pan from heat, so you have to be fast. Allow it to cool maximum a minute!
– use a sieve when you pour the agar – agar liquid into the mixture you want to make a gelee of. There are anyway always some lumps in it.
– You will see right away, if there is enough agar in your mousse, because it will start to set immediately. The following day, if there appears some liquid around the cake that probably means that something went wrong, and the mousse has not set.
– This cake that you can see in this picture that was taken in great hurry, hasn’t got enough agar, but the recipe should be allright. I was thinking about other things…
Well, a sandwich cake made out of a breadloaf is a must have in Finnish graduation party. Somehow wierdly I really like these cakes, even if they aren’t exactly the hottest trend in high cuisine.. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept, a sandwich cake is kind of giant sandwich, made out of a breadloaf, filled with different kind of spreads and mayos and moistened with milk. Wild decoration with roses made of rolled ham and flowers cut out of tomatoes are also quite common, with lots of piped cream cheese as icing.
My friend Linda wanted to have a sandwich cake for her graduation party, in exchange of fixing some handles for my new kitchen. I was in a hurry and made this cake very fast, without thinking too much. That’s why I don’t have any pictures that would make it clearer how it actually is made.. The cake got a good reception at this Finnish – Swedish party where I brought it, and disappeared in twenty minutes. No one complained for it not having any meat in it!
Sandwich Cake with Avocado and Beetroot
Two loafs of bread
2,5 dl oat milk for moistening
juice of one lemon
salt to taste
2 cloves of garlic
a pinch of black pepper
600 g cooked beetroots
1 dl cooked chickpeas
1 dl coconut milk
1/2 dl olive oil
salt to taste
2 tblsp rasberry vinegar
a small handful of fresh basil
750 g soy cream cheese, natural
Cooking water that was lef from the beets, enough to dye the cheese pink (about a desiliter).
I started with the bread. It’s good to have a breadloaf that’s fairly firm, and of that type that has been baked in a tin. I cut out all the crusts and sliced the bread diagonally in three layers, like with a cake. The I made the fillings, by blending the ingredients with a hand held mixer.
Then I assembled the cake. I moistened the layers readily with oat milk, since it’s important to moisten this type of cake enough. I put the avocado spread between the first and the second layer, and the beetroot spread between the second and the third. I had two loafs of bread, so I made the cake into a kind of cross shape, because this way it fitted in my cake container. You can see the picture. Then I put the cake in the fridge to wait for the following day. And I mean, you can not make a moistened cake the same day you are going to eat it, it won’t be any good. Always start the previous day! This stands for the sweet cakes as well.
The next day I had about an hour to decorate the cake: so in fast forward mode I mixed the soy cream cheese with the beet cooking water, so that I got a nice colour and so that the mixture had a good consistency for piping. Then I made a piping device out of a plastic bag, and hastily piped the cheese on the cake. I decorated the cake with stripes of cucumber cut with a cheese – slicer, some radishes cut to flowers and some spruce year growths and lemon.