Dear Broccoli and Rice Cakes,
Sorry it’s been so long. I have a good excuse. Honest (I’ll explain in due course). I’ve been undergoing a bit of a blogging pick-me-up and making new, like-minded friends (such as Annie over at The Lapsed Vegetarian). I hope to be able to share some exciting changes and new pages soon.
Most importantly, we’re back. And, we’re baking.
My little lady recently turned 3 so I’ve spent many an hour in the kitchen preparing for the all-important birthday cake. Whilst last year I was able to dream up a healthy and fruity invention (Chocolate, Orange and Prune Cake), this year I had to consult and seek agreement from my opinionated (almost) 3 year old.
I was expecting a request for chocolate cake so was pleasantly surprised when A-L suggested a strawberry cake. My pleasant surprise was quickly followed by horrified fear. It dawned on me that strawberry offerings in springtime are pitiful. Obviously my daughter is not aware that April in the UK is not actually strawberry season and so any available strawberries are tasteless and unappealing. It turns out that a spring-time strawberry cake is quite a challenge.
I wanted to rise to the challenge so in an effort to deliver an intense, sweet and strawberry cake in April, I sourced three types of strawberry ingredients: strawberry yoghurt (with a high fruit content), strawberry fruit spread (this is available in health food shops, aiming to be like a jam but without refined sugar) and dried strawberries (these were unsweetened but beware of brands that sneak some sugar in!). I also used some fresh strawberries to decorate the cake and appeal to the small people (although, these really didn’t add much to the flavour). I was quite chuffed with myself as, in combination, these ingredients do make it possible to deliver a fruity and flavoursome strawberry cake in April. Hooray. This cake needs to be eaten within a day or two.
Happy Birthday A-L!
- 125g butter, at room temperature and chopped roughly into cubes
- 125g coconut sugar (or ‘normal’ refined sugar if you dare!)
- 3 eggs
- 120g strawberry yoghurt (preferably a good quality brand with high fruit content)
- 3 tablespoons of strawberry fruit spread
- 200g self raising flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g dried strawberries, chopped
Strawberry and Mascapone Topping (optional):
- 125g mascapone
- 2 tsp strawberry fruit spread
- few drops of vanilla extract
- handful of fresh strawberries for decoration
- Cream the butter and sugar until well combined.
- To this mixture, add 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of yoghurt and 1 tablespoon of flour. Mix well.
- Repeat with the remaining eggs, mixing well between additions.
- Add the remaining yoghurt together with 1 tablespoon of the fruit spread. Stir together well.
- Add the remaining flour, 2 tablespoons of fruit spread and the vanilla extract. Stir until blended together. This should look like a cream coloured cake mixture with flecks of strawberry (see photo).
- Stir in the dried strawberries.
- Butter and line a round cake tin. I used a 21cm version but you could also use a smaller tin and cook for a while longer (e.g. 18cm and cook for 40-45 mins). Pour in the cake batter and smooth out.
- Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C for 30 mins. The cake is ready when it is golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Blend/ beat together the mascapone, fruit spread and vanilla extract. The resulting topping should be smooth and well mixed together.
- Apply a thick and even layer to the cake once it has cooled. Top with fresh strawberries if desired.