I'm back from my solo travels in Asia! OK so technically I've been back for a week, but I came down with a cold from hell, so I've been out of action until now. I was thinking since it's spring and the trees are in full bloom, I ought to make something with cherry blossoms. I happen to have some sakura tea, sakura bean paste and pickled sakura blossoms in my cupboard (as you do). Perfect.
I used the sakura tea to flavour the cake itself: all I did was boil 1 tbsp of the sakura tea leaf blend in about 100ml water and kept simmering until it reduced down, then strain it.
I found the tea at the Japan Centre shop in London, but I bought the sakura-an (sweet white bean paste flavoured with sakura leaves and blossoms) online a little while ago and still had some left over. I love the internet, you can find everything.
Ready? Let's go.
Ingredients for Swiss Roll:
4 eggs, separated
40g caster sugar
40g self-raising flour
80ml concentrated sakura tea
A few drops pink food colouring
Ingredients for Filling:
300ml whipping cream
100g strawberries, sliced
100ml double cream, whipped
Strawberries and pickled cherry blossoms (soaked and blotted dry)
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 26x36cm baking tray with non-stick greaseproof paper, and very lightly grease it with vegetable oil.
2. Make a meringue mixture: beat the egg whites with an electric whisk in a large bowl until they form stiff white peaks. Add in half of the sugar and keep beating until glossy.
3. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl with the rest of the sugar until pale and fluffy, and whisk in the sakura tea and then the flours.
4. Take a few tablespoons of the meringue and incorporate gently into the egg yolk mixture, then very gently fold in the rest of the egg whites with a spatula or metal spoon until combined.
5. Pour into your prepared tin and spread evenly. Drop the tin a few times on the counter to bang large air bubbles out, and bake for 20 minutes. Cover with kitchen towel and leave to cool completely.
6. Once cool, remove from the tin, placing the sheet of cake on a large piece of fresh baking paper. Peel off used baking paper, trim the furthest end away from you at a sloping angle (so you can roll the cake up more tightly), and spread the cream and place the fillings. Roll the cake up away from you inside the paper, twist the ends tightly and place in the fridge overnight to chill and set the cream.
7. Unwrap the chilled roll cake, trim the edges (which you can eat to dispose of any evidence of imperfection!), plate up and arrange your chosen toppings on top. Slice, serve and enjoy.