WTSIM Strawberry Cake
Belatedly catching up with the food blogging world I checked out this months wtsim at SpittoonExtra today, to find that the theme is cakes - a subject after my own heart - in particular layered cakes. This immediately brought to mind the strawberry sponge cake that I made for youngest's birthday, which I unfairly tantalised you with here a little while ago. So I thought I would risk repeating myself and give you the recipe this time too.
Her birthday falls at the beginning of our strawberry season, and apart from the year she was two, when overindulgence in strawberries had given her an allergy rash, she has demanded a strawberry cake for her birthday every time.
When you have good strawberries to lavish on a cake, all you need is a simple background to frame them. A plain sponge cake with just a hint of vanilla, proper cream whipped with just a smidgen of sugar to enfold the strawberries and relieve any residual tartness …no more. Anything else would be overkill and distract your taste-buds from the strawberry stars of the show.
Any Victoria sponge recipe will do, as long as it is a generous one and not too dry. Here is the recipe I used for a good basic sponge cake. It comes from Nigella Lawson's 'How to Eat' and takes advantage of her propensity for using a food processor to whip up a cake batter in a few hassle free moments - just what I needed in the last minute rush of getting a birthday ready, when I was thoroughly disorganised and still had the treasure hunt to think up and presents to wrap. The cake turned out light, moist and springy and completely restored my faith in sponge cake recipes after a few bad experiences.
Strawberry Sponge Cake Recipe
For the Cake
200g self-raising flour
225g caster sugar
225g soft butter
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk
For the Filling
500g ripe strawberries
1 tablespoon caster sugar
icing sugar to dust
2 x 21 cm cake tins (I used slightly smaller ones than this but it worked fine) greased and lined.
Put all the cake ingredients in the food processor, except the milk and blitz until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of milk and mix again. Check consistency - it should be of a soft dropping consistency. Add the rest of milk if needed. Pour equally into the two tins and bake for 25 minutes until the top feels springy and a skewer comes out clean. Cool for 1 minute in the tins then turn onto a rack to finish cooling.
When cool, whip the cream till fairly stiff with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Prepare the strawberries. I usually cut half the amount into quarters or chunks to go with the cream inside and just halve the rest to go decoratively on top. Spread a bit over half the cream in the middle and spread over the strawberry chunks, press the top layer on gently, then decorate the top with the rest of the cream and arrange the halved strawberries on top. If you like sift icing sugar on top, but don't over-do it, you want the scarlet strawberries to shine forth in all their glory.