Wednesday, 13 June 2012

RECIPE: Strawberry birthday cake

I made this for my sister's birthday the other day, and as you can see, I've decorated it in an extremely girly fashion. Obviously, you could make yours more macho if you wanted it to be a manly cake. Needless to say, all my family (macho brother included) enjoyed the cake. This one is an adapted recipe from the fabulous Primrose Bakery Book, and is more interesting than a plain Victoria sponge thanks to the layer of strawberries in the middle and also the bits of strawberries actually in the cake. It's perfect for the summer too, birthday or not.

Because of the fresh fruit it won't keep for particularly long, so if you don't eat it all up straight after baking, you should keep it in the fridge. There are few things sadder than having to throw away cake that's gone bad. And don't forget to take your eggs and butter out the night before.

Ingredients - the sponge:
  • 210g self-raising flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing tins
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 225g fresh strawberries, chopped into small pieces (see pic further down)
The filling:
  • 3-4 tbsp strawberry jam (or raspberry if you're my sister!)
  • 100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 50ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 450g icing sugar, sifted
  • a few drops of pink food colouring (optional)
  • about 250g fresh strawberries


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease two 20cm round sandwich cake tins and line the base of each with greaseproof paper.

2. Sift the flour, cornflour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and mix together with a spoon.

3. Add the butter, eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together using a hand-held whisk until light and fluffy. Then fold in the chopped strawberries.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and smooth the tops with a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean.

5. Leave the cakes to cool in their tins for ten minutes before turning them out on to wire racks.

6. While the cakes are cooling, make you buttercream icing: Using an electric hand-held mixer again, beat the butter, milk and vanilla extract and half the icing sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy - the longer your beat it the lighter it will be, so keep going for at least five minutes. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar until it has a smooth consistence, and add the food colouring to create your desired colour. If you add a lot and the icing becomes too runny, just add some more icing sugar.

the icing
7. When the cakes are completely cool, remove the baking paper circles from their bases. Place one cake on a plate and spread with a thin layer of strawberry jam. Then place a thin layer of sliced strawberries on top of the jam.

8. Hold the second cake and ice the underside of it with a 1cm-thick layer of the buttercream. Carefully place it on top of the first cake, iced side down. This middle layer of jam, strawberries and buttercream all gets mushed together but tastes delicious like that!

9. Once the cakes are sandwiched together, ice the top with the remaining buttercream and top with the fresh strawberries or whatever else you fancy! I cut my strawberries into hearts and added a few silver balls too. The cake is best served immediately as the fresh strawberries tend to soften and bleed their juice into the icing. But to be honest, even when the strawberry juice has dripped and the icing has run down the sides a bit, it still tastes de-lish! In my opinion anyway.

happy birthday!

Let me know how you get on! What are your favourite birthday cakes?


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