Living in Ireland of all places, one would think having red hair would be somewhat more forgiven than elsewhere. Sadly not. “Ginge“, “Ginger“, “run away bonfire” (I found that one particularly creative) are regular descriptors thrown my way. When I point out I’m not a redhead, but a strawberry blonde it falls on deaf ears. Being lumped in with the more pronounced shades of my pale-complexioned kind has led to some interesting events; “Kick a ginger day” in college taught me I’ve got some very compassionate friends – one told me she “deliberately wore soft shoes“. Having no soul has provided me with a suitable excuse to get away with all sorts of things unpunished such as permanently fake tanning someone as bright an orange as my hair is supposed to be. Or perhaps fear of my fiery temperament has left such acts unreprimanded. On top of all that, I’ve got people like Mark Twain on my side! So (bias aside of course), I think it’s clear: strawberries have more fun. And what better way to celebrate this fun than with a deliciously rich, Chocolate Mousse, Caramel Biscuit and Strawberry Cake? The strawberries, of course, being on top.
What You’ll Need:
- 5 Egg whites
- 250g Digestive biscuit
- 90g Butter
- 250g Dark chocolate
- Granulated brown sugar
For the Dairy-Free Caramel (yes, I’m ginger and lactose intolerant – talk about a bum deal)
- 200g Golden granulated sugar
- 40g Golden syrup
- 60ml Coconut milk
- 60ml Water
- 2 tsp Butter
- Pinch of salt
- Cornflour, as required
- For those of you who don’t need this alteration, 200g of caramel or dulche de leche will do.
I adapted this recipe from my favourite cookbook, Gorgeous Cakes. Let’s start with the easy part: Line a cake tin with a removable base with baking parchment. Blend the biscuits into fine crumbs. Melt the butter. Mix one with the other and then press it firmly to the bottom of the tin. Place it into the fridge and then move on to making your caramel.
The dairy-free caramel will take some time – easily about 30mins. In a small pot, place the sugar, water and syrup together. Put on a medium heat until it all merges into one another (the societal dream of any ginger). Once this has happened, turn on to a low heat and stir until the liquid has turned a dark amber colour. When it’s reached this point, take it off the heat and chuck in the coconut milk, butter and salt. The caramel will be very liquidy – this is not what you want. Sieve cornflour into it while continuously stirring until it becomes quite viscous. You’ll need a lot more than you think you’ll need. Stop to taste every so often. Once the desired consistency has been achieved, pour it onto your biscuit base.
Put the cake tin back in the fridge and turn your attention to the eggs. Whisk them into firm peaks. Then place them aside and melt the chocolate in a bowl over some simmering water. Gently fold the liquid chocolate into the egg whites.
I added a little bit of cornflour into the mixture at this point to ensure the eggs held together – this isn’t necessary but it can save you a lot of mess! Doing this will change the consistency of the whole thing so don’t panic when this happens. Now, tip the mixture on top of the other layers in your cake tin and leave to rest for about an hour. After that, slice up some strawberries and cover the top with them. Leave it in the fridge for at least another two hours and then enjoy.