More than a month ago I have already harvested the first dandelions in the forest of our neighborhood and I decided to make a liqueur and syrup from the flowers. It was a demanding job but now I have delicious dandelion liqueur with vodka and syrup to drink and also make cakes. Here it is my first dandelion mascarpone liqueur cream cake:
Sponge cake with dandelion liqueur mascarpone cream
For the sponge: 6 oz (175 g) self-raising flour, 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder, 3 large eggs, 6 oz ( 175 g) caster sugar , 6 oz (175 g) butter, very soft at room temperature, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling: 8 oz (225 g raspberries, 3-4 tablespoons soft set raspberry jam, 250 g mascarpone, 1 x 200 ml cream cheese, 1 tbsp of caster sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Take a very large mixing bowl. Measure the flour and baking powder into a sieve and sift into a bowl, holding the sieve quite high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down. Now all you do is simply add all the other sponge ingredients to the bowl and, provided the butter is really soft, you just go in with an electric hand whisk and whisk everything together until you have a smooth, well-combined mixture. This will take 1 minute but, if you don’t have an electric hand whisk, you can use a wooden spoon with a bit more effort.
What you now end up with is a mixture that drops easily off a spoon when you give it a tap on the side of the bowl. If it does seem a little too stiff, add 1-2 tablespoons of tap water and mix again. Now divide the mixture between the two tins, level it out and place on the centre shelf of the oven. It will take 30-35 minutes to cook – don’t open the oven door until 30 minutes have elapsed.
To test if they are cooked or not, touch the centre lightly with your little finger; if it leaves no impression and springs back, the sponge is cooked.
Remove from the oven and after about 30 seconds loosen the edges by sliding a palette knife all round, then turn them out onto a wire cooling tray.
Now carefully peel back the lining by gently pulling it back. Lightly place the other cooling tray on top and just flip them both over so that the tops are facing upwards (this is to prevent them sticking to the cooling tray
For the filling, combine the mascarpone and fromage frais in a bowl; a balloon whisk will amalgamate them quicker. Add the level tablespoon of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Now spread one tablespoon of jam over one of the sponge cakes, follow this with half the cream mixture then scatter the raspberries all over that.
Now add the remaining cream mixture and drizzle it with the rest of the jam.
Dandelions are harvested from the wild or grown on a small scale as a leaf vegetable. The leaves (called dandelion greens) can be eaten cooked or raw in various forms, such as in soup or salad. They are probably closest in character to mustard greens. Usually the young leaves and unopened buds are eaten raw in salads, while older leaves are cooked. Raw leaves have a slightly bitter taste. Dandelion salad is often accompanied with hard boiled eggs. The leaves are high in beta-carotine, vitamin C and iron, carrying more iron and calcium than spinach.
Dandelion flowers can be used to make dandelion wine or liqueur, for which there are many recipes. Most of these are more accurately described as “dandelion-flavored wine and liqueur,” as some other sort of fermented juice or extract.
Another recipe using the plant is dandelion flower jam. In Silesia and also other parts of Poland and world, dandelion flowers are used to make a honey substitute syrup with added lemon (so-called May-honey). Ground roasted dandelion root can be used as a non-caffeinated coffee substitute.