My friend Kim has a daughter who was graduating from high school a few months ago, and so she asked me to make her a graduation cake. Since her daughter likes Hello Kitty, we decided that I would make a Hello Kitty cake! I had all these ideas in my head - she wanted a strawberry cake, so I envisioned a pink cake similar to this one, with a black graduation cap on Hello Kitty, and some sort of cute piping on the sides of the cake. But a few days before the cake was due, my friend told me that her daughter LOVED my Hello Kitty cake with silver dragees, and wanted a cake like that one! So I reluctantly dropped my brainstorm ideas, and set out to make a strawberry mousse cake instead.
Before making this cake, I had yet to find a good from-scratch strawberry cake recipe. In the past I've made Martha Stewart's strawberry cupcakes, which I love, but when I had tried it in cake form instead it was always too dense and moist. So after a few online searches, I decided to try this recipe, from I Made That!, as it had great reviews and sounded delicious. Plus, it used strawberry puree to give the cake a pink color, no food coloring necessary! But when the cake came out of the oven, I was disappointed by the color of the cake - it was kind of a gray-brown color, and didn't look very appetizing (although it did taste great!).
So then I made a second strawberry cake, using this recipe from Confections of a Foodie Bride. This recipe used cooked strawberry puree to give the batter a more vibrant color. This time when it came out of the oven, it was definitely more of a pink color, although still not as pink as I'd like it. But it had a great strawberry flavor, so I would definitely use this recipe again (although next time I might add just a drop or two of color!). By now it was the middle of the night, so after the cake cooled, I wrapped it up in saran wrap, and placed it in the fridge for the next day.
When I was ready to assemble the cake the next day, I used my Hello Kitty sushi pan mold (which I've used several times for Hello Kitty tiramisu, Hello Kitty triple chocolate mousse cake, etc.) to cut out my Hello Kitty shape, and then placed it at the bottom of my mold. For the middle layer, I made a strawberry mousse from my new copy of "Sprinkle Bakes" by Heather Baird, poured it into the mold over the cake layer, and smoothed it out with an offset spatula.
For the top layer, I made a white chocolate mousse from my "America's Test Kitchen" book (the same white chocolate mousse on the top of my triple chocolate mousse cakes), then poured and smoothed that over my strawberry mousse layer.
Then I piped a congratulations message on the cake round (since I didn't want to pipe it on Hello Kitty's face!), using melted chocolate.
And then it was time to remove the mold. I had lined the mold with parchment paper, which made it super easy to unmold the cake!
To finish it off, I added silver dragees to form Hello Kitty's eyes, nose, whiskers, and bow. And then I was done!