Strawberries on a layer of caramel covering a soft white cake cushion and blanketed by a cloud of sweet, fluffy and crispy meringue!
We made it back to Thailand a couple days ago. This time we are in Chiang Mai, in Northern Thailand. But when we were still on Bali, I had a craving one day for one of my most favourite cake bars – Strawberry Pudding Cake.
We always had it as summer treat growing up in Germany, because it was the only time of year when fresh strawberries were available. It starts with a layer of white cake, then a layer of whipped vanilla pudding, lots and lots of fresh, juicy, ripe strawberries, and on top a red jelly-like glaze.
But, alas, my time on Bali was marked with more baking fails than is typical for me. Maybe I got out of practice during the eight oven-less months prior, or maybe it was the gas oven, that took some getting used to. But most likely I was just a little over-ambitious and not used to Indonesian ingredients.
All kinds of pudding flavours were available in the store, but not vanilla. I guess, it isn’t a standard flavours around the world. So I researched a bit and thought I would be able to make pudding from scratch. Well, it sounded simple enough, but somehow the texture and flavour were really off.
I did not want grainy, flavourless pudding to ruin my childhood-memory-cake, so I decided to forego the pudding layer and just spread dulce de leche between the white cake and strawberry layer.
In Germany it is super-easy to make the jelly-glaze. The powder is sold in little packages and one just has to mix it with a little sugar and fruit juice or water. Of course, nothing like this glaze powder was available in Indonesia. Again, a little internet research and I figured out, it could also be made with gelatine sheets.
All good and well in theory, but in my practice the glaze took forever to set just a little and then it was impossible to pour it. Oh my, time for a second adjustment. From the pudding fail, I still had an egg white left over and decided to make a meringue with it.
Having no electric mixer and not too much experience with a gas stovetop, the meringue turned out a little grainy. But I actually didn’t mind the extra crunch.
The end product didn’t have much to do with the cake I had originally envisioned, but ‘baking-fails’ aren’t always bad. This time all the improvisations I had to make turned into a newly developed dessert. Instead of calling the result a fail, I name them “Strawberry Cloud Bars”.