Cherry Chip Cupcakes

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Looking for a summery cupcake which will be a hit at any BBQ, cookout, garden party or picnic then look no further, I’ve the lightest cupcake full of pretty pink cherry flavour. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 2

Ever since I placed the cherry on top I’ve been dying to share these little pink gems with you. I’m delighted with them, they are the best cupcakes I’ve ever made. I couldn’t stop photographing them hence the picture heavy post. Expect to see more cupcakes from me, I’ve fallen in love again with these mini sweet iced cakes.

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I made these cupcakes to take along with us to a garden party we attended this past weekend. They were a big hit, the cherry flavour in these really bursts as your lips touch the buttercream topping, giving way to lightness. These little cherry cupcakes are light as a cloud, making the most of the summers bounty of cherries. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 4

I’ve been wanting to create a cherry chip cake for a while now, it’s not a well-known cake here in the UK but seems to be an American favourite from what I’ve heard. Dried cherries are hard to get hold of here and when you do find them they are ridiculously expensive for such a small amount so I was over the moon when I found them in a local health food store for a great price. Now all I’ve gotta do is stock up!

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Dried cherries make the base for the cake and the icing. They get plumped up over the stove in some water, they absorb the water making them juicy and soft. Into the food processor they go along with some vanilla extract turning them into a thick, smooth, deep grape coloured paste. You’ll need to reserve 2 tablespoons of the paste for the icing with the rest going into the cake. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 6

Egg whites, egg whites. egg whites! That’s what gives the lightness. Six egg whites are used in the cake and six are used in the buttercream. It’s not just any buttercream though, it’s swiss meringue buttercream. I love it! If you’ve used it before then you’ll know why I love it, if you haven’t tried swiss meringue buttercream before then you need to try it, you’ll fall in love and become its biggest fan. It’s really not that hard to make either. I’ll talk you through the steps later on.

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First of all is the foundation of a cupcake, the cake! Cake flour gives the cake its structure resulting in a light, delicate crumb. They don’t take long to make or to bake which means you can make these first thing in the morning, ice them in the afternoon and have them good to go right after decorating. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 8

The cherry paste speckles the crumb a lovely rouge shade and flavours it delicately. Want to achieve a light, airy, delicate base for your summery cupcakes? This is how you can achieve it. Firstly is the cherry paste. You make this by heating these in a small saucepan with water, simmering until most of it has evaporated. Add to a food processor along with vanilla extract and blend to a paste. Set aside a little for the icing then mix the rest with some milk and set aside.

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Next grab a medium bowl and whisk together cake flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside also. Now cream together softened butter and sugar until you have a light in colour, fluffy and creamy mixture. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula to ensure everything get’s fully incorporated. Drizzle in your oil mixing until combined and scrape down your bowl again with your spatula. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 10

Mix in your egg whites, two at a time adding the next two as soon as the previous have been incorporated. Once all your eggs have been added its now the simple process of adding the remaining dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry. Give a final stir with your spatula to make sure you’ve not missed any stray pockets of flour. Spoon into cupcakes and bake. Your on your way to a lovely, light cupcake.

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Now for the topping! I love this topping, it’s melt in the mouth delicious! Cherry Chip Cupcakes 12

Swiss meringue buttercream. If you’ve never made this buttercream before, stop what you’re doing and after you’ve finished reading this post plan on masking asap! You won’t be disappointed, it’s the lightest buttercream and fluffy like a cloud. When I first read the recipe for making this icing I must admit I was a little intimidated and put of trying it for some time. Once I took the plunge I was amazed by how easy it was and told myself of for not trying it sooner. I’ll walk you through the steps of creating the most airy and cloud like buttercream.

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Get your mixing bowl from your stand mixer and add the egg whites and sugar. Set over a pan of simmering water making sure the bottom doesn’t come into contact with the water. Place a thermometer in the bowl and using an electric hand whisk, whisk until you have a meringue like mixture and the temperature reaches 130F. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 14

Remove from the heat and attach to your stand with a whisk attachment and whisk until the outside bowl feels cool to the touch. This will take between 8-15 minutes. Add cubed butter, adding the next once the previous has been incorporated. Once all the butter has been added keep on mixing it until light and creamy. It may look curdled but don’t worry just keeping on mixing, it will come together. Now add your flavourings

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I used the reserved cherry puree, vanilla extract, a little salt and some LorAnn Cherry oil. This oil smells beautiful and packed full of fruity flavour. Once you’ve added your flavoured whisk for a few minutes more to incorporated it fully. Remove from the mix and give a final stir by hand. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 16

I wanted to try something different with the icing so I turned my piping bag inside out and added lines of purple food colouring. When you pipe the buttercream onto the cupcake your left with a lovely swirl of colour through the icing. Top with a cherry and your done.

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These cupcakes also mark an anniversary. I’m a member of the baking group Cake Slice Bakers and this Thursday is the 6th year anniversary of the group. I’ve only been a member for just under a year but love baking with these group of talented ladies each month. I choose this recipe to make as the book the recipes came from was used as the chosen book to bake from last year in the group and as I joined mid way through baking from this book didn’t get a chance to make many of the cakes from it. Cherry Chip Cupcakes 18

Whether you just want to bake some cupcakes or have a celebration to take them too, these light little bites of cherry heaven are a perfect ode to summers cherry bounty.

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Yields 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

{cherry puree}

  • 170 grams (6 ounces) Dried cherries
  • 60 ml (1/4 cup) Water
  • 1 tablespoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 310 ml (1 1/4 cup) Milk

{cake}

  • 250 grams (3 cups) Cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • 170 grams (3/4 cup) Unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 350 grams (1 3/4 cup) Caster sugar
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) Rapeseed oil
  • 6 Large egg whites

{cherry swiss meringue buttercream}

  • 6 Large egg whites
  • 250 grams (1 1/4 cups) Caster sugar
  • 450 grams (2 cups) Unsalted butter at room temperature, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons Cherry puree
  • Pinch of Maldon Sea Salt
  • 10 drops LorAnn Cherry oil
  • Americolour food colouring in Electric Pink
  • Fresh cherries

Method

{cake}

  1. To start, you need to make the cherry paste. You make this by heating these in a small saucepan with hot water simmering until most of it has evaporated. Add to a food processor along with vanilla extract and blend to a paste.
  2. Set aside two tablespoons for the icing then mix the rest with the milk and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Set aside also. Now cream together softened butter and sugar until you have a light in colour, fluffy and creamy mixture. Scrape down your bowl with a spatula to ensure everything get’s fully incorporated. Drizzle in your oil mixing until combined and scrape down your bowl again with your spatula.
  4. Mix in your egg whites, two at a time adding the next two as soon as the previous have been incorporated. Once all your eggs have been added, add 1/3 of the flour mixture mixing until just combined then half the wet ingredients and continue until everything has been incorporated into the cake.   Give a final stir with your spatula to make sure you’ve not missed any stray pockets of flour. Spoon into cupcakes and bake.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cupcake comes out clean. Leave in the cake tin for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

{cherry swiss meringue buttercream}

  1. Get your mixing bowl from your stand mixer and add the egg whites and sugar. Set over a pan of simmering water making sure the bottom doesn’t come into contact with the water. Place a thermometer in the bowl and using an electric hand whisk, whisk until you have a meringue like mixture and the temperature reaches 130F.
  2. Remove from the heat and attach to your stand with a whisk attachment and whisk until the outside bowl feels cool to the touch. This will take between 8-15 minutes.
  3. Add cubed butter, adding the next once the previous has been incorporated. Once all the butter has been added keep on mixing it until light and creamy. It may look curdled but don’t worry just keeping on mixing, it will come together. Now add the vanilla extract, salt, cherry puree and the cherry oil, whisk for a few minutes more to incorporated it fully. Remove from the mix and give a final stir by hand.
  4. I wanted to try something different with the icing so once I’d inserted my icing tip I turned my piping bag inside out and added lines of purple food colouring. Turn the right way and spoon in your buttercream. Pipe onto each cupcake and top with a fresh cherry.

Notes

* Both of these recipes are adapted from Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson

* These are best eaten the day they are made but will last for up to 3 days stored in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid.

* Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

* The colour in the buttercream is optional, as is the cherry on top.

 

Strawberry & Vanilla Bean Snacking Cake

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Who doesn’t love snacking? I know I do, and what better snack to treat yourself with then a little piece of cake. Don’t feel guilty, a little treat every now and again won’t do you harm and if that’s not enough words of encouragement I am here to tell you that there is just a cake made for such things.

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Snacking cake is a great name for a cake. It’s not too heavy, its light and in this case full of fruit. One of your five a day in each slice. Another reason to not feel guilty for snacking on this summer inspired bake.

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I adore strawberries and only eat them in Summer when they are made to be eaten. No point eating them in the other three seasons of the year, strawberries are made for Summer time.

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I love eating them by the handful straight from the little plastic containers that they come in fresh from the market stall with the sun shining brightly upon me and I also like to bake with seasonal produce. So with strawberries being in peak season right now, what better time to incorporate them into a little light and bouncy crumbed cake.

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Sweet, juicy, intoxicating, aromatic strawberries fill this light cake which has been laced with vanilla bean. I wanted a light flavour to balance out the strawberries sweetness, the delicate scent of vanilla does the job wonderfully. I used a whole vanilla bean for the cake as well as a drop of pure vanilla extract. For an extra boost of vanilla I used vanilla sugar in place of regular sugar. I love the simplistic flavour of vanilla and I love the delicate almost floral notes it emits.

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Of course this cake had to have a glaze, don’t get me wrong, the cake on its own is super yummy enough but drizzle on a glaze and it makes cake super duper yummy! Sour cream is used in the cake to keep it from being dry and I used it in the glaze for the cake too. I didn’t want too sweet a glaze for the cake, and this glaze has a slight twang which balances out the sweetness of the cake nicely.

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I love cakes like this as they are light in texture, perfect for any occasion and are a doodle to make. Perfect for when you want cake but don’t have that much time on your hands.

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Here’s how to do it. In a large jug add the egg, egg yolk, sour cream, seeds from the vanilla bean and the vanilla extract and give everything a light whisk to combine. Now its the dry ingredients time to be combined, get yourself a medium bowl and sift together most of the flour, baking powder bicarbonate of soda and the salt and set aside. Set your electric mixer to high-speed cream together the butter and vanilla sugar until you’ve got the signature smooth, creamy and light coloured consistency. Don’t forget to scrape down your bowl so nothing get’s missed being mixed together.

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With your mixer set to low slowly add your wet ingredients then your dry. Give everything a final mix together with your spatula then toss the strawberries with the remaining flour and stir through with the spatula. Now bake your cake.

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See how quick and easy this cake is to make, that’s one of the reasons I love it. Once it’s cold drizzle over your glaze then it’s all good to eat. Yum!

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Perfect summer strawberries are great to eat as they are or for an extra special treat this weekend pop some into this delicious cake, you can even top the cake with some fresh strawberries. A perfect little fruity snack wouldn’t you say!?

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Yields – One 8 x 8 inch square cake

Ingredients

{cake}

  • 1 Large egg
  • 1 Large egg yolk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) Sour cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
  • 1 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 180 grams (1 1/2 cups) Plain flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon Bicarbonate soda
  • Pinch of Maldon Sea salt
  • 80 grams (3/4 stick) Unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 200 grams (1 cup) Vanilla sugar
  • 200 grams (8 ounces) Strawberries, hulled and halved

{glaze}

  • 2 tablespoons Sour cream
  • 85 grams (3/4 cup) Icing sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 175C,350C and spray an 8 x 8 inch baking tin with cake release spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a large jug add the egg, egg yolk, sour cream, seeds from the vanilla bean and the vanilla extract and give everything a light whisk to combine.
  3. Now its the dry ingredients time to be combined, get yourself a medium bowl and sift together 155 grams (1 1/4 cup) flour, baking powder bicarbonate of soda and the salt and set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment set to high-speed cream together the butter and vanilla sugar until you’ve got a smooth, creamy and light coloured consistency. Don’t forget to scrape down your bowl so nothing get’s missed being mixed together. Whilst the creaming is going on toss the strawberries with the reaming flour and set aside.
  5. With your mixer set to low slowly add your wet ingredients then your dry. Give everything a final mix together with your spatula then add the strawberries stirring through with the spatula.
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave the cake in the tin on a wire rack for 20 minutes before transferring to the wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Once cool, make your glaze by adding the sour cream to a medium size bowl then sift over the icing sugar and add the vanilla extract. Whisk together then drizzle over your cake.

Notes

* Recipe adapted from Cake Keeper Cakes – Lauren Chattman

* This cake is best eaten on the day it’s made as It contains fresh fruit but will be okay for the next day too.

* Keep in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid, storing in a cool, dry place.

* If you don’t have vanilla sugar, plain caster sugar will be just fine.

 

This recipes was featured on

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Strawberry Gateau Mini Layer Cake

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Be brave make a cake! Strawberry Gateau Mini Layer Cake 2

Not just any cake though, this is genoise cake. I’ll explain what that is in a second. This cake has a lot of components.  You also need to make a sugar syrup and whipped cream frosting which is stabilised by using gelatin.

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The cake is like a gateau. A light and tender cake, layers of smooth whipped cream and juicy, fragrant strawberries layered throughout. A feast for the eyes.

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This bake is May’s cake for The Cake Slice Bakers. It was the hardest choice trying to decide which cake to make for this months reveal. We had four choices and I only decided this past weekend what I was going to make when I actually made it. I made the right choice. What could be better for the near approaching Summer than strawberries and cream. This combination is one that should be had multiple times every Summer.

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The Cake Slice Bakers had four choices this month that we could all choose from and every one sounded just as good and the other. The group bakes its way through the book Great Cakes – Carole Walter. We are halfway through the book and so far I’ve loved everything I’ve made from it. Next month’s choices seem even harder than this month so stick with me to see what I choose.

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So the cake. A genoise is an Italian cake named after the city of genoa. It’s leavened with air instead of a chemical leavener. You do this by whipping eggs and sugar incorporating air into them during the process. I was a little nervous when making the cake part as I’ve never made one before and you have to be quick when mixing the batter and getting into the oven so that you don’t lose any of the air that you’ve worked so hard to incorporate into the batter.

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The cake turned out a success, I followed the steps down to the last letter and had no problems with it whatsoever. The only thing I did different was using melted better at a temperature of 100F rather than the clarified butter that was called for. The cake itself has a nice taste. It has notes of lemon and a rich egg flavour. Five large eggs are used in the recipe after all. It’s the perfect backdrop for your filling of whipped cream and strawberries.

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Make the cake this way and you’ll be guaranteed success. First off, melt down some butter and make sure you keep it between 100-110F. Set it aside. Next grab the bowl from your electric mixer and add your eggs and sugar mixing until just combined.. Place over a pan over simmering water and gently mix until your mixture resembles either of the following. A deep golden colour, is runny when let to drip of the hand whisk, the sugar is dissolved when rubbed between thumb and finger or until it reaches 110-120F. Once either of these has been reached attach the bowl back to the mixer and on a high-speed using a whisk attachment whisk until it’s tripled in volume, is light and thick.

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Next reduce the speed of your mixer to medium and add the vanilla extract and some lemon zest. For this recipe I used a little more lemon than was asked for. Instead of one teaspoon I used the zest of half a large lemon. Once these have been added remove the bowl from the mixer. Now is where It can get tricky.

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Sift in the cake flour 2 tablespoons at a time and using a spatula fold the flour through only using 10-12 strokes. Keep on doing this then just before your about to add the last of the flour pour in the butter then immediately add the remaining flour. Fold everything together with only 12-15 strokes and get it into your baking tins right away. Bang on the counter top to get rid of any air bubbles then place in the oven and bake.

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If any of the butter has collected as the bottom of your mixing bowl then leave it there. If you add it to your tins it will hinder the rising of your cakes. Strawberry Gateau Mini Layer Cake 12

The second component is a simple syrup which gets  brushed onto each sponge before you apply your cream filling. This adds a great layer of moisture to the cake as well as flavour. I used some pure lemon extract in my syrup to accentuate the flavour of the lemon in the cake. I also happen to think that lemon and strawberries go really well together.

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Simple syrup is an easy thing to make. Simply add the sugar, water and in my case pure lemon extract and heat whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. The syrup can be made advance. Simply pour it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature until your ready to use it.

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The final thing to this cake is the filling and in my case the topping too. I decided to make my cake into a three-layered 6 inch cake. As you may know I love cakes of this size, they are super cute and also great if you don’t want a large cake. I also decided to use the rose technique to decorate my cake with. I love how this looks on the cake so I decided not to adorn it with anything else. Seeing as there will only be strawberries inside the cake I suggest you serve some additional strawberries with it to help mop up your luscious creamy topping.

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The whipped cream topping calls for gelatin to be used. The gives the cream structure and will make it hold its shape once it’s been whipped. I was also a little nervous using gelatin as I’ve never used it before but found my nervousness uncalled for as there’s nothing to get worried over. I used a little bit of amaretto liqueur in the cream mixture. This gives a nice subtle sweetness to the cream. Delicious! Strawberry Gateau Mini Layer Cake 15

To make the whipped cream you start of by adding water and powdered gelatin to a small, ovenproof bowl. Leave to sit for five minutes before add to a shallow pan with 1/2 inch of hot water in it. Gently heat and stir until the gelatin has dissolved and you have a clear mixture. Cool to tepid.

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Add the cream straight from the fridge into the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high-speed until it starts to thicken. Add icing sugar, vanilla extract, amaretto and your gelatin mixture. Continue to whisk until it begins to hold its shape. Finish whisking by hand until it’s a spreadable consistency.

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To decorate my cake I used a large piping bag fitted with a Wilton 1M Nozzle . Grab a plate and put one of the cake layer on it. Brush with some of the sugar syrup then pipe a layer of cream on top. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top then the next layer of cake. Repeat the process. Once you’ve put your top layer on either pipe on a rose design or simple spread the cream onto the cake.

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You also need to keep this cake in the fridge as it contains fresh cream and will go bad if left out.

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It’s perfect for a Summer’s afternoon treat or for serving at a get together. You can make the cake and syrup the day before you make the cream filling, though by sure to make the cream filling on the day your going to serve it. Store it in the fridge then bring it out when your ready to devour it.

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It’s light, luscious and filled with the promise of more of Summers strawberries and cream, I can’t wait!

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Yields One, 3 layered 6 inch cake

Ingredients

{genoise cake}

  • 5 Large eggs
  • 100 grams (2/3 cup) Caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 Pure vanilla extract
  • Zest of half a large lemon or the juice of 1 small one
  • 3 tablespoons Melted butter at the temperature between 100-110F.
  • 85 grams + 2 tablespoons (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) Cake flour

{simple syrup}

  • 125 ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons Caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Pure lemon extract

{whipped cream filling and covering}

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Powdered gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons Cold water
  • 750 ml (3 cups) Whipping cream, cold
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) Icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon Amaretto
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Pure vanilla extract
  • 100-200 grams  (3 1/2 – 7 ounces) Strawberries

 

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C,350F and spray three, 6 inch cake tins with non-stick cake spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Next grab the 120F. Once either of these has been reached attach the bowl back to the mixer and on a high speed using a whisk attachment whisk until it’s tripled in volume, is light and thick.
  3. Next reduce the speed of your mixer to medium and add the vanilla extract and some lemon zest. One these have been added remove the bowl from the mixer.
  4. 15 strokes and get it into your baking tins right away. If any of the butter has collected as the bottom of your mixing bowl then leave it there. If you add it to your tins it will hinder the rising of your cakes.
  5. Bang on the counter top to get rid of any air bubbles then place in the oven.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges of the cakes have come away from the sides of the tin.

{simple syrup}

  1. Add the sugar, water and pure lemon extract to a small saucepan and heat whilst stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat. The syrup can be made advance. Simple pour it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm and leave at room temperature until your ready to use it.

{whipped cream filling}

  1. To make the whipped cream you start of by adding water and powdered gelatin to a small, ovenproof bowl. Leave to sit for five minutes before adding to a shallow pan with 1/2 inch of hot water in it.
  2. Gently heat and stir until the gelatin has dissolved and you have a clear mixture. Cool to tepid.
  3. Add the cream straight from the fridge into the bowl of your electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until it starts to thicken.
  4. Add icing sugar, vanilla extract, amaretto and your gelatin mixture. Continue to whisk until it begins to hold its shape. Finish whisking by hand until it’s a spreadable consistency.
  5. To decorate my cake I used a large piping bag fitted with a wilton tip 1M. Grab a plate and put one of the cake layer on it. Brush with some of the sugar syrup then pipe a layer of cream on top. Place a layer of sliced strawberries on top then the next layer of cake. Repeat the process. Once you’ve put your top layer on either pipe on a rose design or simple spread the cream onto the cake.

Notes

* The recipe is adapted from Great Cakes – Carole Walter

* Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to two days.

* You can make the cake and the sugar syrup in advance. One the cakes have been baked and cooled, wrap them up in clingfilm and store in a cake tin with a tight-fitting lid. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Keep the sugar syrup in a bowl also covered with clingfilm.

* Whipping cream is also known as heavy cream.

* The whipped cream mixture does contain gelatin so make sure no vegetarians are going to eat this. If you are catering for vegetarians make sure you used a vegetarian friendly gelatin.

 

See what the other members of The Cake Slice Bakers choose to bake for May.

 

 

My cake was featured here:

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