Zevende verjaardag in Nederland (boring?)

    Of course, not!
    It actually makes me thinking how much time has passed since I moved to Tulipland, soon to be 7 years ago. And realizing that, after all, this country has given me a lot: a life, a job, many new friends and something a little more too.

    Bday bakes over the years

    Finally, yesterday it felt like a normal bday after two years of celebration in lockdown mode – although bday baking was always quite special and fun (remember the Colomba of last year or the Torta 30?). This time I had a really great time with pre-bday (dancing and food) celebrations with some dear friends, culminated into a nice and sweet escape to a sort of fairyland (see photo below).

    Kasteel De Haar.

    Of course, I couldn’t be without lots of love and wishes from my family back home, as well as lots of friends and people I know from far and nearby. And, as tradition wants, I tried to live up (apparently with success, if we listen to the taster) to the traditional bday baking and had a little fun in the kitchen while baking some chocolate mini-cakes (using a base a chocolate marquise) filled with mascarpone-coconut cream and strawberries.
    Now, I am ready to turn older.


    Ingredients (for 4 mini-cakes/people)

    For the marquise:
    4 eggs
    80 gr powdered sugar
    40 gr cocoa powder
    40 gr potato starch

    For the filling:
    200 gr mascarpone
    40 gr powdered sugar
    40 gr desiccated coconut
    3 tbs strawberry jam + 6 tbs hot water
    3 strawberries

    For decoration
    2 strawberries
    40 gr finely chopped dark chocolate (I used a nice dark chocolate bar flavored with coconut and almond flakes)
    20 gr almond flakes

    Prepare the marquise

    Start with separating the yolks and the egg whites. In a bowl, mix the yolks with 40 gr sugar, then add the potato starch and cocoa powder using a mixer. In another bowl, whip the egg whites with the remaining sugar until white and spongy. Next, add the egg whites – one spoon at time – to the batter, while stirring gently (if this is too difficulty by hand, you can use the mixer). Then, transfer the mixture on an oven tray covered by baking paper and, using a spatula, spread it into a rectangular shape (1 cm thick). Bake the marquise for 10 minutes in pre-heated oven 200°/static mode (if you see the borders get dark sooner, then take it out of the oven otherwise the it gets too dry). Wrap the marquise with kitchen film (including the baking paper) and let it cool down.

    Prepare the filling & jam syrup

    Mix the mascarpone with the powdered sugar and desiccated coconut. Then, put the jam in a pot and add 5/6 tbs of hot water to soften it (in this way it will be easier to spread on the marquise). Last, chop the strawberries (and the chocolate, if you haven’t done so already).

    Assemble the mini-cakes & decorate

    Carefully unwrap the marquise and cut it into 8 disks of about 6/7cm using a pastry ring (or alternatively, use a coffee or tea cup). Brush 4 disks with the jam syrup spread the mascarpone cream evenly and add some sliced strawberries. Keep some of the mascarpone cream aside for later.
    Then, place the remaining marquise disks on each mini-cake and brush them with the jam syrup. Spread the mascarpone cream left on the side of the mini-cakes and then roll them on either chopped chocolate or almond flakes on the cream side. Place half a strawberry on the top of each cake.


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