Originally posted 18 May 2018
After an unscheduled week off from the blog due to sheer busyness, I am back with a sweet treat for you! It is so exciting when the first of the British strawberries hits the shops and fruit stalls in late Spring and early Summer. Buying seasonally and buying British as much as possible is important to me and the sight of this juicy and luscious heart shaped fruit fills me with visions of bunting-decked, sunshine-filled garden parties and heath picnics.
In this light sponge cake recipe, I have paired the sweet flavour of strawberry with the tart flavour of lemon. Enjoy!
For the cake:
225g/8oz caster sugar
225g/8oz unsalted butter, softened (plus extra for greasing the tins)
4 large free range eggs
225g/8oz self raising flour
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
For the strawberry sauce:
14 small – medium ripe strawberries, plus extra for decoration
1 heaped tblsp icing sugar
4 tblsp cold water
For the strawberry buttercream icing:
3-4tsp of the strawberry sauce (see above)
255g/9oz icing sugar, sifted
140g/5oz unsalted butter, softened
You will need 2 x 8” sandwich cake tins
Preheat the oven to 180°c.
Grease the base and sides of the sandwich tins with butter. Line the base of each tin with greaseproof paper and dust the sides with a little bit of flour.
Place the caster sugar and butter in the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer (you could also do it by hand or use a hand-held electric mixer) and beat until light and fluffy.
Continue to beat the mixture adding the eggs one at a time along with 1 or 2 spoonfuls of flour combining thoroughly between additions. Leave some flour to add after the lemon zest and juice.
Once all the eggs are combined and continuing to mix, add the lemon zest and juice and then quickly add and the remaining flour to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Divide the mixture evenly between the tins and bake in the oven for 23-25 mins or until the cakes are springy to the touch. If unsure, insert a metal skewer into the centre of one of the cakes. If it comes out without any crumbs or mixture attached, your cake is cooked.
Allow the cakes to cool for about 5 mins and then remove carefully from their tins and cool on a wire rack.
While the cakes are in the oven prepare the strawberry sauce by washing and halving the strawberries and placing them in a small saucepan with the water and icing sugar over a medium heat.
Bring to the boil and stir just a little. Allow to simmer for about 10-15 mins until the liquid is much reduced and strawberries are pulp like. Give them a gentle mash if you like.
Sieve the strawberry mixture to separate the pulp from the sauce.
Set aside to cool.
To make the icing, beat the icing sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, adding 3-4 tsp of the strawberry sauce that you prepared earlier. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula to ensure it is combined evenly. What a beautifully salmon pink colour! Taste it to make sure the flavour of strawberry comes through (definitely a perk of being the cook!). Do add more if you feel it needs it.
To assemble the cakes, place a small dollop of the strawberry buttercream in the middle of a plate.
Place one of the cakes upside down onto the buttercream. Dollop and spread just under half of the buttercream onto the cake and add any remaining strawberry sauce. Using a palette knife, spread the strawberry pulp evenly on top of the buttercream.
Now place the other cake right side up on top of the first cake and add the remaining buttercream to the top, again spreading it evenly across.
Chop a few strawberries in half lengthways and pile in the middle of the cake.
This delicious cake goes really well with a cuppa but a glass of fizz wouldn’t be too bad either!
In the interest of honesty I should tell you that I baked 3 cakes to get to this final recipe! I tried it with rhubarb, then I attempted a version with white chocolate and strawberry. They were all perfectly edible but not quite what I was hoping for. I don’t cope very well when things don’t quite go to plan but family, friends and my hubby’s work colleagues were extremely happy to be ‘helping’ me by taste testing each version!
Happy Friday lovelies! Enjoy your weekend whatever you are up to!
Lots of late Spring love to you,