Summery strawberry and cream cake – with a twist.
Strawberries and cream is Summer in a bowl for me, whether you pay attention to Wimbledon or not! This recipe is a subtly spicy twist on a sunny classic – you’ll never want to go back to a Victoria sponge after making this cake. The strawberries are macerated in black pepper syrup and are deliciously moreish (I’d happily eat this by the bowl!). The kick from the strawbs is perfectly balanced by the sweet chantilly cream and moist, light sponge. The recipe is from Rachel Khoo’s latest series, Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook, which I’m desperate to watch but sadly I don’t have Sky or Virgin. I’m biding my time until the book comes out and meanwhile I’m making the most of recipes I can find online, including in Rachel’s fab online notebook! To make the cake, you will need:
For the strawberries:
1 tsp ground black pepper
800g strawberries, halved and leaves removed (plus extra for decorating) (Note: I found I had some leftover, but they’re delicious on their own so no loss there!)
For the cake:
125g caster sugar
75g butter, melted
150g plain yoghurt
300g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder (don’t add a teaspoon like I did by mistake! I was ill when I made this – baking therapy…)
1) First, prepare the strawberries: place 150ml of water, sugar and black pepper in a pot and bring to the boil. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Take off the heat and allow the infused sugar syrup to cool (so it doesn’t make the strawbs all mushy). Once cooled, add the syrup to the strawberries, mixing well to make sure they’re all coated. Store in the fridge until you need them (try not to eat them before you do).
2) For the cake: preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4 and grease and line a 19cm cake tin.
3) Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are thick, pale and fluffy. A bit of a workout but oh so worth it!
Add the melted butter and yoghurt and combine.
4) In a separate bowl mix the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt, then add to the rest of the ingredients.
Gently mix together but don’t overdo it – otherwise the cake will be really heavy.
5) Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. It should be lovely and golden on the top (if it’s browning too fast, cover with tinfoil!).
When it’s cooked, place on a wire rack to cool completely. Once it’s cool, slice into three even pieces (I just managed two because of baking powder-gate).
6) Meanwhile, make the cream. You will need:
750ml whipping cream
100g icing sugar
1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract – I didn’t have any!)
Run your knife along the vanilla pod, scoop out the seeds and add to the cream (or just add your extract) along with the icing sugar. Whip together until firm enough to ice the cake.
7) Now all you have to do is assemble the cake! Start with the top layer on the bottom, so the bottom layer is on the top for a nice smooth finish. Using a pastry brush, gently dab the strawberry sugar syrup onto the cake crumb.
8) Spread a layer of the cream on top of the syrup, then add a third of the mascerated strawberries.
Add the next layer and repeat!
Spread the rest of the cream on the top (and the sides if you’re feeling patient!), then finish with the remaining strawberries.
The most time-consuming part is prepping all the strawberries really! You can do that in advance though, and you could also make the cake a day ahead. A delicious Summer treat – perfect for Wimbledon season!
What are you baking today?