Strawberry Cream Cake

My mum used to make strawberry cream cake when I was little and it is still one of my favourite cakes. Strangely enough, I’ve never thought of making one my self, I always just requested it from my mum whenever I went to see her. So when a friend of mine asked if I could bake a cake for her daughter’s birthday, who requested a pink fruit cake my first thought was strawberry cream.

It’s fairly easy to make!

4 eggs

120 g sugar
1 tsp vanilla sugar
160 g flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
500 g strawberries
red or white gelatine
2 egg yolks
100g sugar
800ml cream

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Line your baking pan with parchment paper. Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until stiff.
Combine the egg yolks, 4 tablespoons of warm water, sugar and vanilla sugar and mix until fluffy. Sift the flour and add the baking powder to it. Stir well. Add to the egg yolk mixture and mix together. Then fold the egg whites in. Pour into your baking pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the cake has a golden colour. Leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then put it on a rack.
Clean and wash the strawberries and puree them with a hand blender.
Prepare the gelatine according to the package instructions (Usually soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then squeeze out the water and dissolve in a pan). I haven’t given any indication on how much gelatine you should use and this is because there are so many different varieties out there. My original (German) recipe called for 8 sheets. I know in Germany the gelatine sheets are double the size of the ones I bought at Waitrose. So, just have a look for how much liquid the gelatine is for on the package. Mine had 15 small sheets which would set a total of 1.25 ltr. of liquid. I had 800ml of cream and 500g of pureed strawberries and decided that would do!
Add about three tablespoons of strawberry puree into the gelatine and stir well, then mix this into the rest of the puree. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar and 2 tablespoons of water. Sir in the strawberry puree. Whip the cream until stiff and fold into the strawberry mixture.
I found my cake too high, so I cut a layer of about 3cm in height off. In dire need of a cake setting ring (the ones I found in our shops here were not high enough, so I put my sponge back into the round cake tin, which I had lined with tinfoil, just in case the strawberry cream would leak before it had a chance to set.
Spread the strawberry cream onto the sponge, even it out with a palette knife and put it in the fridge for a few hours.
As this was for a little girl who loves pink I decorated the cake with pink glitter sprinkles. Otherwise I would have decorated it with cream swirls and fresh strawberry quarters on each one.

Pork Pies

I have been quite busy in the kitchen, so busy in fact that I neglected my blog here. I’ve been making pork pies for the first time ever in my life and they turned out surprisingly well. I was worried about the pastry and my oven with its temperature problem but apart from a longer baking time all went well.
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 7 or 200°C.
For 12 pork pies I used:
400g minced pork
100g minced pancetta
½ bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped
1 bunch of spring onions finely chopped
1 tsp dried chili flakes
1 tsp Worcester Sauce
1 tsp English mustard
½ freshly ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Put all ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Taste to see if you need more salt or pepper or any of the other spices. I used my food chopper for the herbs and the pancetta (I only had cubed pancetta). Best way to mix the meat etc. is by using your hands. Make 12 round balls.
For the pastry (which is called a hot water pastry) I used:
450g plain flour
200ml water
170g lard
1 free-range egg yolk, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Sift the flour, salt and pepper into a bowl and set aside. In a pan, heat the water and lard together and gradually bring to a simmer, or until all the lard has melted. Bring the mixture up the boil and then pour this onto the flour mixture. Mix well with a wooden spoon to create a firm dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead the dough quickly for a few minutes. Roll the dough out flat, take one of the pie portions and place on the pastry. Cut around the portion leaving enough room for you to fold the pastry around the mix creating a parcel. Repeat this with the remaining portions.
Place the pork pies onto a tray, brush with beaten egg yolk, cut a small slit into each pie (on the top). Bake the pies in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to Gas Mark 4 or 180°C and cook for a further 35 minutes until golden brown. 

Let them cool and set overnight. They may not look the traditional way but they tasted very good!

Zesty lemon roses

It was my birthday recently and I got everything I wanted. I didn’t have a single present that I didn’t like or wondered on how earth I could make it disappear (break it, lose it, give it to someone else)!
My sister Christine gave me wonderful baking presents: a silikone mould with six roses, a silikone brush (I have a conventional that seems to have a tendency to lose its hairs in cakes and on roasts) and a decorating squeeze bottle. The silikone mould came with a small recipe booklet (three recipes in six different languages) and the first receipe I tried turned out to be such a success that I’ve made it countless times since. I used the recipe as a basis, it was too buttery for my taste, so here’s my version:

For a silicon mould with six roses you will need:

a small knob of butter
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup of icing sugar
1 cup of fine cake flour
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of two lemons
squeeze of 1/2 lemon

Preheat your oven to 170C, Gasmark 4

Melt the small knob of butter in the microwave and brush your moulds with it so the cakes won’t stick to them later! Mix icing sugar with lemon zest, lemon juice and oil. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk smooth. Slowly add the flour and mix thoroughly. Spoon the dough into the moulds (they should be about 2/3 full). Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes. Check that they are all baked through by inserting a toothpick into the cake(s). If there isn’t anything sticking to it then they are ready!
Let the cakes cool in the moulds for 10 minutes then take them out. You can then either
– Spoon lemon syrup over the roses
– Dust the lemon roses with some icing sugar
– Inject lemon syrup into the cakes by using a syringe
– Ice the cakes by mixing some lemon juice with icing sugar and spreading the icing evenly over the roses.
Lemon syrup is easily made by cooking the same amount of sugar with the same amount of lemon juice until the syrup is all clear. Careful when you take it off the stove, sugar syrup stays very very hot for a long time.

I don’t recommend the icing version actually because you can’t see the rose pattern otherwise, I simply piped lemon syrup around the rose pattern and about an hour later I dusted the cakes with icing sugar.