La Pâtisserie des Dominique-Levin | Sin Ming

Always a champion of color, Dominique-Levin’s latest creation is inspired by a quintessential British summer treat: strawberries and cream.

The wanabe pâtissier’s second attempt at baking was far more daring and ambitious than his first just days ago. The vision was industrious. It’d be a rich layered butter cake interlaced with farm fresh organic Californian strawberries and cream, finished with a crown of more strawberries before finally being dressed in an elegant whipped cream icing. The strawberries themselves would be enriched in a caramelized syrup and a touch of black pepper to give the sweet literally a hint of spice.

Everything went as it should, until it came to the whipped cream icing. In the scorching heat of the equatorial sun, the cream didn’t stand a chance. What was initially a picture-perfect dressing of haute-couture precision began immediately disintegrating as the whipped cream icing began liquifying. The home baker didn’t understand. He had followed the recipe to the letter, and at no point did it mention about the vulnerability of the weather.

If you’ve any idea how to combat this problem without switching on the air-conditioning, comment below. 🙂

Thankfully though, the taste wasn’t affected and the flavors flowed beautifully. The strawberries were beautifully caramelized and complemented the fragrant butter cake perfectly. The black pepper, which was a recommendation on various home baking sites, really gives the otherwise caramelized strawberries a certain edge that doesn’t take away from the whole bake.

Another thing I noticed was with the strawberries themselves. I wanted to keep my costs as little as possible (Prima Deli retails a similar strawberries and cream cake at SGD 20.95), but I was torn between Driscoll strawberries and the cheaper but uglier looking Korean strawberries. Most curiously, the latter didn’t respond well to the sugar reduction (bring sugar and a bit of water into a boil and wait till the solution starts to turn the slightest hint of brown before pouring the sliced fruits in – don’t keep them in there for more than 5 to 7 minutes or it starts turning into jam…unless you want to make homemade jam). The Korean strawberry reduction yielded a slight sour aftertaste while the Californian strawberries gave me exactly what I needed.

On the whole, I’m pretty satisfied with the cake, even if it ended up tasting better than it looks.

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