For the strawberry-mascarpone cream:
One pound fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch dice, keeping 6-7 whole (more if your strawberries are tiny and try to choose strawberries of the same height for they serve as your “pillars”)
4 ounces of mascarpone or cream cheese, softened
1 envelope (7 grams) of unflavored gelatin powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 fl. oz. heavy whipping cream, well chilled
1/2 cup sugar
- Sprinkle the gelatin powder on the surface of the chilled whipping cream. Once the gelatin is softened, whisk the mixture just to get the gelatin to disperse; set aside. (If you want a firmer cream filling, separate out ¼ cup of the cream, sprinkle the gelatin on the surface, wait until it’s softened, and heat up the mixture in the microwave just until the gelatin is dissolved. Then mix the cream-gelatin mixture into the remaining cream.)
- With an electric mixer with the balloon beater attached, whip the cheese, sugar, and vanilla until creamy and lump-free.
- Add the cream-gelatin mixture to the cheese mixture and beat on medium-high just until fluffy and somewhat stiff, being careful not to beat the cream to the point where it turns into butter.
- Fold in the diced strawberries.
- Place one half of the cake on the bottom of the same spring-form pan in which it was baked, cut side up.
- Cut the whole strawberries in half and stand them, cut side pressed against the side of the pan, around the edge of the cake.
- Spoon the strawberry cream mixture into the middle of the pan, pushing the strawberry halves more closely against the side of the pan as you go. The halved strawberries should be completely buried once all the cream has been spread into the middle.
· Smooth out the surface of the cream and place the other half of the cake on top. Press lightly. Cover the pan with a piece of foil and refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours.