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Swedish Midsummer Cake with Strawberries and Cream (Midsommartårta)

Midsummer cake with strawberries and meringues

A show-stopping celebration cake, this Swedish Midsummer Cake is filled with fresh strawberries, cream, and luscious vanilla custard, everything stacked between an airy vanilla sponge. It’s a traditional Midsummer staple, baked everywhere in Sweden to celebrate the longest day of the year.

The cake’s vibrant colors (red and white) symbolize the Swedish flag but also the arrival of summer and the abundance of fresh produce during this time of the year. While the classic Midsummer Strawberry Cake (Midsommartårta) consists only of a sponge base, cream, and fresh strawberries, there are also some other variations of the cake.

My Swedish Midsummer Cake starts from the original basic variation but adds an extra layer of vanilla custard and also nuts and meringues on top. Visitsweden.com provided great inspiration for this recipe!

READ MORE: Midsummer – a Swedish Celebration of the Summer Solstice

Ingredients:

For the sponge cake:

4 eggs;

¾ cups (140g) granulated sugar;

1 cup (125g) self-rising flour;

2 tbsp (25g) melted butter.

For the vanilla custard:

8 egg yolks;

4 cups (950ml) whole milk;

1 vanilla pod or 3 teaspoons vanilla extract;

1 cup (220g) granulated sugar;

½ cup (120g) heavy whipping cream;

½ cup (80g) cornstarch;

1 tablespoon unsalted butter;

Pinch of salt.

Garnish:

3 cups heavy whipping cream;

3 cups strawberries;

1 ½ cups roasted pistachio;

15-20 small meringues;

Icing sugar.

Slice of Strawberry Cake

Instructions:

Make the sponge cake:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line (or grease and flour) a round cake tray with removable edges, approximately 24 cm in diameter.

2. In a bowl, combine eggs and sugar.

3. Fill ⅓ of a saucepan with water and heat it. Put the bowl with the eggs and sugar mixture in the saucepan and continue whisking and heating the batter until it reaches a temperature of around 140°F (60°C) – measure it with a kitchen thermometer. 

4. Remove the mixture from the saucepan and continue whisking (or you can use the mixer at low speed) until the batter cools down and becomes white and fluffy.

5. Add the flour gradually (⅓ at a time), using a spatula. Fold in the butter too.

6. Pour the batter into the cake tray and bake it for approximately 30 minutes or until the cake sets.

7. Let the cake cool completely and then remove the tray sides and cover the sponge with a plastic or kitchen towel.

READ MORE: Romanian Sweet Cheese Pie (Placinta cu branza)

Make the vanilla custard:

8. In a saucepan, put together the milk, half of the sugar, and the pinch of salt over medium heat until it becomes steaming hot.

9. In a separate bowl combine the egg yolks, remaining sugar, the whipping cream, and the cornstarch, whisking until a smooth mixture forms.

10. Slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture. Start gradually, with just a couple of teaspoons, and then add more until you have added all the milk. This is called “tempering the eggs”: you gently cook the proteins in the eggs while you also prevent the forming of lumps.

11. Transfer the milk and egg mixture back to the saucepan, continue whisking, and cook until its starts to thicken.

12. Remove from the heat; add the vanilla and the butter.

13. Pour the custard through a fine strainer –  this is how you will get the smoothest consistency!

14. Cover with plastic foil and set aside to cool.

Put together the cake:

15. Cut the cake into 3 equal parts. Place the first part on a cake stand. Spread a layer of custard cream and top it with pieces of cut strawberries.

16. Add the middle part of the cake and one layer of whipped cream and one layer of cut strawberries. If you love vanilla custard more than cream, you can substitute this cream layer with another vanilla custard layer.

17. Add the last part of the sponge cake. Place it upside down so the neat cut side is facing up.

18. Cover the whole cake in cream (both the top and the sides). Add the pistachio on the sides and on top place the meringues and the strawberries. Dust the top with icing sugar.

Pofta buna! Bon appetit!

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