Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Strawberries and Cream

Wimbledon may be over, but this quintessentially British combination is a Summery classic that shouldn't be restricted to just one fortnight a year. British strawberries are delicious at this time of the season and what can be better than a big bowl of strawberries doused in fresh, cold cream? A big bowl of strawberries doused in fresh, cold cream on top of a CAKE, of course! I've kept this cake simple, as I don't want the natural, delicate sweetness of the strawberries to be overpowered by any unnecessarily fussy flavours. Fresh cream can only be left out of the fridge for up to 4 hours, or less in hot weather, so bear this in mind if you're planning on taking it on a picnic. The cake is best filled and served immediately, but if you do fill it in advance and stick it in the fridge, let the sponge come up to room temperature a bit before serving. If you want to make something that doesn't need to be eaten quickly or kept in the fridge, substitute the fresh cream for vanilla buttercream; it's still a cream of sorts, so it's not a total cheat.

Strawberries and Cream Cake

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C Fan) and grease and line two 8" sandwich tins

Ingredients

8 oz/ 200g caster sugar
8 oz/ 200g unsalted butter, softened
4 eggs
8 oz/ 200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
A generous splash of vanilla extract
A splash of milk

A large pot of double or whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
2 punnets of strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced. 
More icing sugar for dusting.

Method
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  • Add the eggs, one by one, thoroughly beating after each addition.
  • Mix in the vanilla
  • Sift the flour and baking powder over the top and fold into the creamed sugar, butter and eggs.
  • Add a splash of milk to slacken the mixture if necessary.
  • Pour the cake batter into your prepared tins and bake on the centre shelf for 20 - 25 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  • Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once the cakes are completely, whip the cream to soft, billowing peaks. If you want, sift a tablespoon of icing sugar into the cream and whisk in.
  • Carve each cake horizontally in half.
  • Fill the cakes with a layer of whipped cream and a layer of sliced strawberries, building up until the whole cake is filled.
  • Sift some icing sugar over the top of the cake and it's ready to serve.
If you want to make this with vanilla buttercream instead of fresh cream, whisk 8oz/200g soft, unsalted butter until pale and creamy. Sift over 8oz/200g of icing sugar and whisk in until thoroughly combined. Sift over another 8oz/200g of icing sugar and whisk this into the mixture. Add a tbsp of vanilla extract and whisk in. Add a drop of milk to slacken the mixture if necessary and whisk again.

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