Here’s proof that good basic ingredients and a simple recipe can still produce an impressive and tasty cake. I love the “all-in-a-saucepan” method as shown below.
Makes: 10 – 12 slices
Time: Prep: less than 30 min. Baking: 40 min. + cooling. Filling & decorating: 25 min.
Need: A large saucepan, 2 x 20cm/8” loose bottomed round cake tins
- 215g/7½oz unsalted butter
- 200g/7oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 – 2 tsp vanilla extract
- A few drops of strawberry flavouring* (optional)
- 2 – 3 tbsp freeze dried strawberries
- 200g/7oz SR flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp milk
- Pink & red food colouring (optional)
- 100g/3½oz white chocolate (optional – for extra richness)
- 75g/2½oz butter, softened
- 50g/1¾oz full fat cream cheese, also softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g/7oz – 250g/9oz icing sugar
- 10ml/¼fl oz hot water
- About 12 Strawberries for decoration
* I occasionally use “Foodie Flavours” to enhance a cake, but it’s not essential.
** I haven’t included this in the ingredients list, but an additional option would be to add a layer of strawberry jam when you put on the filling.
1. Melt butter in a large saucepan on a low heat
2. Butter & line the base of the tins. Turn the oven on to 180°C / Fan 160°C / 350°F / Gas 4.
3. Add sugar into the melted butter and mix to a paste then allow to cool a little.
4. Add in eggs and vanilla extract and whisk. (You can use an electric whisk, but hand whisk is fine.) Also add in here the optional strawberry flavouring.
5. Stir in the freeze dried strawberries.
6. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt then mix well. Stir in the milk.
6a. (optional – if you want two colours) Divide the mixture equally into two bowls and stir in the food colours.
7. Pour each mixture into a tin and bake for around 40 minutes. Check by inserting a skewer into the centre. The cake has baked if it comes out clean and dry.
8. Leave in the tins for 10 min then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
9. If you want a rich filling then start by melting the white chocolate over a bain marie.
10. Beat together the butter and cream cheese. Stir in the vanilla then sift in the icing sugar. Stir gently at first to incorporate then add in a little of the hot water and beat more vigorously, adding more water only if necessary.
11. If you have opted to enrich the above filling, now stir and beat in the cooled melted chocolate. Use half of the mixture to combine the two cakes, the rest on top. Garnish with strawberries as you wish. (I dabbed the cut strawberries onto kitchen paper towels to minimise any “bleeding” into the white topping.)
Here are three of my current favourite cakes that you might also want to try:
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