I have been meaning to make this cake for SUCH a long time – I love making things that aren’t cake into cake, and I really like strawberry milkshake. Like really. Winner. Continue reading
Strawberries and champagne scream early British summer to me. Wimbledon, the early sun, 99’s, the softest grass you ever did lay your head upon and bright, long days filled with the scent of ripe strawberries are constantly in my dreams; not that I like Wimbledon. Things just always seemed a tad more civilised whilst it was on. The grunting annoys me. Continue reading
My dad and I have lots of things in common; I think. We live in the same house, we have the same taste in comedy and a penchant for documentaries; although definitely opposing tastes in the type documentaries…seriously how many doco’s on warships can you watch dad? Documentaries like this are way better.
I know for sure though that overly sweet things are not appropriate for either of us. They make my teeth hurt. When I was little I actively avoided birthday cake in search of the jelly and ice cream, I couldn’t stand that nothing sweetness of white buttercream; even worse is shock horror it was encased with fondant. Gosh I hate fondant. My dad is nicer about the situation; mentions it was little sweet for his tastes and moves on. I have not mastered that level of decorum; seriously fondant WHAT are you bringing to the table?
So when it comes around to his birthday it’s a bit of struggle to make a not overly sweet cake; it’s definitely not a struggle to give him fondant.
This is where Swiss meringue buttercream or SMB comes in. I mastered the art of SMB a while back and now it has to be my favourite frosting! It hasn’t got that gritty texture that icing sugar based buttercreams do. And it isn’t excessively sweet, it’s is light and fluffy. SMB is a meringue-based buttercream, you create the meringue then chuck butter in, it’s a slower process but you don’t end up covered in icing sugar.
Swiss Meringue Buttercream may look really hard but this tutorial from Sweetapolita makes it so damn easy. It’s all about temperatures and timing but once you’ve got it it’s hard to mess up. And it freezes and chills well. I made a massive amount and now I’m ready to frost.
Plus its much, much easier to add alcohol to this frosting; and that is what everyone wants in a frosting yeah? I added gin to this; Bombay Sapphire to be specific and four shots for the frosting one shot for me. That combined with the light vanilla sponge and fresh strawberries is like a cocktail in a cake!
I would suggest if this cake isn’t for a birthday that you eat it with the girls, drinking darned nice cocktails and watching ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ your life will seem brighter, happier and more worthwhile after doing so.
226g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
393g granulated sugar
4 large eggs
240ml whole milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped out
343g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 8-inch round baking pans and set aside.
In a stand mixer fit with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 3 to 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to ensure that everything is well mixed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for one minute after each addition.
In a small bowl whisk together flour baking powder and salt.
In a separate small bowl combine the milk, vanilla extract and vanilla seeds.
With the mixer on low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture in three batches. Start and end with the flour mixture. When the batter is just combined, shut off the mixture and thoroughly incorporate the dough with a rubber spatula.
Divide the batter between the two pans.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a pale golden colour, and a skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. For cupcakes bake 25 to 30 minutes.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool. Frost and berry only when cakes are completely cool.
Are you guys sugar tolerant in cakes or do you need much more of balance? Let me know!
The balsamic really tones down the frosting sweetness; which I love! I added a bit of pepper to the cake batter as well, which gives it a kick. Plus I don’t know whether I mentioned this – but I have a major pepper addiction, pepper and lemon. Pepper and lemon and strawberries! If I were making this again I would roast the strawberries for a while and drizzle them with lemon before straining them. But that’s just me.
I also seem to love strawberry and balsamic, remember the strawberry balsamic flatbread made; I need to make that again!
Join me on a wonderful journey of strawberries; oh man strawberry journeys sound like the best.
Basic Vanilla Cake+ Pepper
I used a vanilla cake recipe from Bake by Alison Thompson
This produces a very cakey flavour, if that’s not what you’re into my next post will have a super light vanilla cake.
250 gr Unsalted Butter – I like to use B.D. Paris Creek Farms unsalted butter
250 gr Caster Sugar
2 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
5 Eggs – always use free range!
250 gr Self-raising flour (make sure your flour is in date, self-raising has rising agents that can go off – your cake won’t rise!)
Pre-heat the Oven to 160C and set out 24 cupcake papers.
Cream the butter sugar and vanilla together until creamy and pale; about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time; beating well after each addition. Sift in the flour and mix on low-speed until just combined; now is the time to add any flavourings.
Strawberry and Balsamic Frosting from Raspberri Cupcakes
150 gr (a little over half a punnet) ripe strawberries, hulled
280 gr (2.5 sticks) unsalted butter
500 gr icing sugar (about 4 cups), sifted
Approx. 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, adjust to taste (I used a fantastic caramelised balsamic – a sweeter, thicker balsamic is preferable but any balsamic will do, just adjust to taste)
remove the butter from the fridge 30 mins before starting. Puree strawberries in a food processor or blender (if unavailable you can chop it up and try to mash it through a sieve). Place butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth, fluffy and pale. While beating on medium, gradually add sifted icing sugar and then add the strawberry puree and balsamic vinegar (to taste) and beat on high until smooth and fluffy. You may need to add more puree or more icing sugar to get the right texture, you want it to be spreadable but not runny.
But it is super fun to make, and easy! Which is good, because at the moment my life looks a lot like this.
And icing sugar – Sifted of course
And of course coconuts, I’m still working on a coconut pun.
Don’t tell me my hand looks fat, stop nodding your head in agreement! You know the saying, chubby hands…warm heart.
Then you mix it all up, and divide into 2, one of them gets vanillafied. And the second gets strawberried.
Clearly the whole situation got too much for my camera, as the photos I took have been lost forever, but you layer it up and throw (place) in the fridge!
Recipe adapted from Not Quite Nigella:
- 320g/2 cups icing sugar mixture, sifted
- 315g/3.5 cups desiccated coconut
- 395g can condensed milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a few drops pink colouring
- 4 tablespoons strawberry sauce or strawberry purée
- A few drops strawberry extract
Grease a fairly deep pan, (smaller sizes work best) and line with baking paper.
Mix the coconut, icing sugar and condensed milk together in a bowl.
Divide mixture into two bowls.
Into the first bowl add the vanilla extract and mix, this mixture is thick, really get in there, use clean hands if necessary.
Into the second bowl mix in the purée, extract and colouring, if this gets too liquid add icing sugar and coconut in small tiny doses until this mixture has the same consistency as the first.
Then layer the prepared pan with the vanilla mix first then the strawberry mix.
Put in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours. Cut with a hot knife (run metal knife under hot water) for the best looking results.
Next post is most definitely going to be Halloween(y)(ie)? Get ready to be spoooked!
I totally didn’t have one of those weeks, too little sleep will really do that to you. But life happens, and you have to totally roll with it.
Anyway, I mastered the art of Italian frosting, but got too caught up in the frosting that I forgot a lot of the photos, so time to kick start your imagination.
This cake is super chocolatey rich combined with crazy creamy frosting; separately? Okay. Together? Amazing. Fact.
It was partly destroyed by two crazed, hungry and slightly tipsy girls; and a few forks.
Miette’s Tomboy Cake.
Warning, this recipe makes two cakes, I made them both just in case!
Taken from Miette’s Cookbook
1½ cups of plain flour
1¼ cups of unsweetened cocoa (totes important, this cake isn’t a sweet sweet cake)
1½ teaspoons of baking soda
½ teaspoon of baking powder (yes there is a difference!)
¾ teaspoon of kosher salt (I used rock salt, because I have no idea where to get kosher salt/i’m far too lazy)
2 ounces of 70% cacao chocolate, coarsely chopped (Lindt is good)
1 cup of boiling water
1 cup of buttermilk
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temp (this is important, makes such a difference in the outcome, same goes in any recipe, especially with butter)
½ cup of vegetable oil (I used canola, didn’t alter the cake)
2¼ cups of caster sugar
1. Liberally butter two 6-by-3-inch regular and dust with sifted cocoa powder. Tap out the excess cocoa.
2. Preheat the oven to 170 degree.
There is honestly flour in there! Somewhere.
4. Melt the coarsely chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl by pouring the boiling water over it, stir and mix in the salt and leave to cool for 15 minutes, until it’s at room temperature (that phrase again!)
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
6. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until stiff and foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk until fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.
7. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (this is super messy if you can’t pour like me). Slowly pour in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter is smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
8. Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients in 3 batches and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom center. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing just do it. Stop. Seriously.
9. This bit is messy! Pour the mixture through a metal sieve. You will get covered in chocolate cake mix, it will be delish! Divide the mix into two, and bake for about 45/50 minutes until the tops spring back when touched.
10. Transfer to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle the pans carefully run a knife around the edges of the pans to loosen them, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. Let cool for about 20 minutes longer. Wrap the cakes tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate to ensure that the interiors are completely cooled before decorating, at least 1 hour or for up to 3 days.
To freeze, wrap tightly in a second layer of plastic and store in the freezer up to 2 months.
The cake has to be totally cool before you start slicing it up! refrigerate for at least 2 hours before you cut into 3 pieces, then layer with frosting, easy!
The frosting!! – This is scary, but follow each step and you will be fine! and remember, room temperature is about 17 c
2 cups of sugar
1/3 cup of water
5 large egg whites
1 teaspoon of cream of tartar
3 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons of vanilla essence
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Clip a thermometer to the side of the pan. Cook the mixture until it reaches 180 degrees C, 5 to 10 minutes, keeping a constant eye on it.
2. Meanwhile, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy.
3. When the sugar syrup reaches 120 degrees C, immediately pour into a heat-proof measurer. Reduce speed to low and very carefully and slooooooooowly drizzle the syrup into the mixer bowl, away from the whisk so the hot syrup doesn’t spatter. Be careful because the syrup is super hot. When you have added all of the syrup, raise the speed to high and beat until the mixture is room temperature and looks like this.
4. Only when the meringue is cool enough should you begin adding the butter, butter and meringue should be the same temperature. Reduce the speed to medium. With the mixer running, drop in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, waiting until each is incorporated before adding another. The mixture may deflate and begin to look curdled. Raise the speed to high and continue to add tablespoon-size pieces of butter, making sure each is completely combined before adding more. Don’t worry if it looks wrong, raise the speed and keep going! Wee can do this! When all of the butter has been added, the frosting should be smooth and thick. Stir in the vanilla essence by hand slowly.
5. Use the buttercream immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Store in a zippered plastic bag for up to 1 week in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer.
It won’t spread when it’s cold, so put it in the microwave at 2 blasts of 5 seconds, stirring in between, then whisk on a low speed for 5 to 10 minutes until it is smooth and shiny, don’t do what I did and do it in a hurry on high!
I added strawberry syrup, 2 tablespoons and strawberry essence half a teaspoon mid-way through the whisking.