Spring Passion Dessert
For the white genoise:
8 large eggs, at room temperature
2 C. sugar
2 C. sifted cake flour
4 T. unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing pan
For the strawberry mousse:
1 C. pureed strawberries
4 sheets of gelatin (available at specialty stores)
2 C. whipping cream
2 T. sugar
For the passion fruit mousse:
1 C. pureed passion fruit (available at specialty stores)
4 sheets of gelatin (available at specialties)
2 C. whipping cream
2 T. sugar
For the strawberry syrup:
1 pt. strawberries, hulled
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. water
To make the genoise, preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans by lightly greasing with butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, mix the eggs and sugar until the eggs are almost doubled in volume, about 10 minutes. Gently fold in flour, and then butter with a rubber spatula. Divide batter and pour evenly into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove the cake from the pans to cool completely on wire racks, at least 2 hours.
To make the strawberry mousse, in a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the pureed strawberries to a gentle boil, then remove from heat. Place the gelatin sheets in a small shallow bowl or pan filled with cool water. Allow sheets to sit for 2 minutes to soften. Squeeze the excess water from the sheets with your hands then add them one by one to the pureed strawberries. Stir after each sheet is added to completely dissolve. Let strawberry mixture cool completely. (You can refrigerate it to speed up the process). In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk mix the whipping cream and sugar until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. (Do not overwhip.) With a rubber spatula, fold the cooled strawberry mixture into the whipped cream mixture until well incorporated. Leave mousse at room temperature until assembling cake.
To make the passionfruit mousse, follow the directions for making the strawberry mousse, substituting pureed passionfruit for strawberries.
To make the strawberry syrup, in a blender or food processor, blend strawberries, sugar and water on medium speed until smooth.
To assemble the cake, cut each cooled genoise cake with a sharp serrated knife to make two even layers. In a nongreased 8-inch springform pan, place one layer of genoise, cut side up. Using a pastry brush, soak the genoise with 1/4 of the strawberry syrup. With a rubber spatula, add an even 1-inch layer of passion fruit mousse. Then place the other layer of genoise with another 1/4 of the strawberry syrup. With a rubber spatula, add an even 1-inch layer of strawberry mousse. (This is the top layer). Repeat the steps for the second cake. Chill, uncovered, for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
To remove the cake from the springform, soak a clean dishtowel in hot water, then wring it out. Wrap this warm cloth around the outside of the ring to loosen the cake. (Be careful not to let the towel mar the mousse). This may need to be repeated several times before the ring will lift off, leaving nice, clean sides that show off the layers of the cake. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving plate. (The metal bottom of the springform should help). Chill, uncovered, for at least 2 hours or overnight before serving. Garnish with whole strawberries, if desired.
Makes two 8-inch cakes.