Every year on March 8th it’s International Women’s Day, a celebration to commemorate various episodes in the modern history where women have tried to remark their rights and the social and political struggles that women have faced for centuries. Many countries in Europe recognize this celebration and so does Italy. In Italy on this special day, it is custom of giving a mimosa flower to every woman. This habit can be traced back to around 1946. The flowers were intended to be given as a sign of respect and a contrast to the red roses on Valentine’s day.
The recipe I am sharing today is about a cake that would resemble this beautiful bright yellow flower with a lovely scent, which is indeed mostly prepared on March 8th to celebrate Women Day. Since I didn’t have a recipe of my own, I surfed around and through many I picked the one proposed by “Trattoria da Martina” (you should check her food blog, it’s amazing!), and as usual, I translated it in English (well, my English 🙂 ) and converted the quantities with the Imperial System just for you!
This cake is absolutely heaven, the consistency is very light considering that the base is a simple sponge cake, flavored with lemon and filled with Chantilly cream.
INGREDIENTS for 9” springform pan
For the sponge cake
2/3 cup (140 gr.) sugar
4 large eggs (at room temperature)
1 cup (8 oz. or 140 gr.) 00 flour*
1 grated lemon zest
For the Chantilly cream
4 oz. (or 1/2 cup or120 gr.) sugar
1/3 cup (or 60 gr.) flour
14 oz. (or 1 1/3 cup or 400 ml.) whole milk
1 grated lemon zest
8 oz. (or 1 cup or 250 ml.) whipping cream
For the Syrup
4 oz. (1/2 cup or 100 gr.) water
2 oz. (1/4 cup or 50 gr.) sugar
a lemon zest (just the yellow part)
MAKE THE SPONGE By using an electric whip (or, even better, by using a stand mixer), whip the eggs with the sugar for about 15-20 minutes. When the batter looks almost white, and stiff and fluffy, start to add the flour sifted in three times, and stir gently from the bottom to the top to avoid the batter to become liquid. Add the lemon zest and transfer the batter in a 9” springform pan previously lined with parchment. Bake for 30 minutes at 360 F. (180 C.) and once baked, let it cool off out of the springform pan and upside down.
While the sponge cake cools off, prepare THE CHANTILLY CREAM and SUGAR SYRUP.
First make a custard by following these directions, but with the quantities listed above. Let the custard cooling off and in the meanwhile prepare the sugar syrup by boiling for five minutes the water with the sugar and lemon zest. Once the custard is completely cooled off whip the whipping cream, set aside about 2 oz. (50 gr.) of it for later, and mix the rest gently with the custard.
A this point also the Syrup should be cooled enough to start arranging the cake.
ARRANGE THE CAKE
With a serrate knife, take away the “dark” crust of the sponge cake, both from the side and top. Divide the sponge cake in three layers (or two if your sponge cake didn’t raise as you wanted) keeping the bottom one a little thicker than the other twos (or one). Dig the bottom layer of the sponge (don’t trough away the crumbs!) but keep about 0.2” (1/2 cm) of the sponge along the circumference (this will work as a container for the cream you are about to spread). Soak the sponge with the sugar syrup (take away the zest) and then spread a super thin layer of whipped cream, and then fill the gap with Chantilly cream.
Cover with the second sponge disk, and repeat: first wet the sponge with syrup, then spread a thin layer of whipping cream and finally the Chantilly. Close the cake with the last layer. Soak it with syrup** and use all the left Chantilly (mixed with any possible whipped cream leftover) to cover evenly the entire cake.
TIPS: *here in Mid west I’ve looked everywhere for 00 flour but with no succes. 00 flour is a “weak flour” with a very low percentage of protein. If you use the ALL PURPOSE flour to make the sponge cake, it may happen that it would not raise properly. In this case I would suggest you to add 3 tsp. of baking powder to the batter when adding the sifted flour.
** When I made this cake I followed precisely the quantities indicated, but once I got to the last layer of the cake, my sugar syrup wasn’t enough to soak all of it. I added a little bit of milk to my syrup: the sponge turned out perfectly soaked and the taste of milk was imperceptible.
– This cake is much more easier to make than to be explained 🙂 so don’t hesitate to try to make it the same day you are wishing to eat it!
– Considering the uses of whipped cream and custard this cake would last no more than two day in the refrigerator.
– The color of my Mimosas cake wasn’t exactly as bright as the real flower. I didn’t like the idea of using food coloring to get a more decisive yellow, and the eggs I brought at the store (even if organic) had that light shade of yellow. So, in case you want to obtain a brighter yellow color, consider adding food coloring, or use eggs with extra yellow yolks.
– Before to post the recipe, and very close to International Women day I asked my husband to buy me a mimosa flower (it would have been cool putting the flower near my cake in the picture to show the similarity). However, apparently in Iowa the only Mimosa known is the Cocktail (Lol!).
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this recipe, I hope it was worth it!
Be honest, did you know that Mimosa is a flower (and a tree) other than a Cocktail?
Happy Women Day to every women all around the word, on March 8th and everyday!
Talk to you soon