Strawberries and cream cakes

By Will Torrent

When it comes to summer berries, the champion has to be the beautiful strawberry. It takes its place in desserts like Eton Mess perfectly alongside whipped cream and meringue pieces and everyone loves it. So I thought how about having all of those components (with some clotted cream thrown in for good measure) in a cake and here we are!






Ingredients

Makes 12

  • 100 g butter, softened
  • 75 g clotted or double cream
  • 175 g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 175 g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk

To decorate

  • 3 tablespoons Strawberry jam
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon icing sugar
  • seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 300 g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 6 mini meringue shells
  • 12 x mini loaf pans, a 12-hole loaf sheet or a 20 x 30-cm rectangular cake pan, greased and lightly dusted with flour
  • a disposable piping bag

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C Gas 4.
  2. Cream together the softened butter, clotted or double cream and caster sugar until really pale and fluffy, this will take about 3–5 minutes in a stand mixer and longer by hand. Gradually add the beaten eggs, mixing well between each addition. Add the vanilla bean paste and mix again until smooth.
  3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, and mix again until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and mix until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared loaf pans or large cake pan.
  4. Arrange on a baking sheet (if using the loaf pans) and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for 15 minutes until well risen, golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  5. Cool in the pan or pans for 1–2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. If using a large cake pan, first cut into fingers using a small serrated knife, then cut out a little rectangular hole from the top of each cake to make a well. Spoon 1 teaspoon of strawberry jam into each well.
  7. Using a balloon whisk beat the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla seeds until it will just hold a stiff peak. Spoon into the piping bag and pipe vanilla cream on top of each cake. Arrange the strawberries on top, lightly crush the meringues and scatter over the strawberries to serve.

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