Cake...utterly perfect to spoil someone on Valentine's Day!
2 1/2 cups SR flour
3 tsp baking powder
8 eggs at room temp
375g unsalted butter, chopped and softened
375g caster sugar, plus 1/3 cup extra
finely grated rind and juice of 2 mandarins
4 x 250g punnets strawberries, hulled, sliced widthways
1/4 cup Cointreau
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
sugar or edible flowers to decorate
Preheat oven to 170. Grease 2 24cm cake tins and line bases with baking paper.
Sift flour, baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt into a large bowl of electric mixer.
Add 6 eggs, butter,sugar and mandarin rind and juice. Beat on low until moistened, scrape down sides and beat for 1 min until mix is smooth. Divide between tins, smooth tops and bake for 30 mins or until cooked. Stand in tins for 8 mins and then turn onto racks to cool completely.
Combine strawberries, liqueur and 1/4 cup icing sugar in a bowl and let sit for 20 mins. Using an electric mixer, whisk mascarpone, 2 tbsp extra sugar and 2 egg yolks until very thick. In a clean bowl, whisk 2 eggwhites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 2 tbsp extra sugar and whisk until firm peaks form then fold gently into mascarpone mix. Drain juices from strawberries and reserve. Place strawberries on one cake half and top with mascarpone mix, spreading it 3cm from edge. Top with second cake. Add enough strawberry juices to remaining icing sugar to form a thick icing, then spread icing over top of cake, allowing it to drip down the sides slightly. Stand until icing is set, then decorate with sugar or fresh flowers.