I am pretty stoked strawberries are back in season. I've been a little unconventional in my consumption as I have been chopping them up and tossing them through salads. I decided to make a light summery cake and put my punnets to sweeter use.
This cake is just a simple vanilla cake but the addition of fresh chopped strawberries in between the layers is a nice break from the sugar crash inducing buttercream fest that a vanilla cake usually is. I also iced this cake naked which not only helped reduce the sugar fest (slightly) but it also suited the rustic appeal that this simple cake has.
This cake is best eaten the day it is assembled as the juice from the strawberries can leech into the sponge making it soggy. I made my cake layers the night before though so if you are making this for a barbecue to special occasion you can easily do the biggest bit of prep the day before.
I used the Hummingbird Bakery vanilla cupcake recipe for the layers of sponge. While it does have a mega amount of sugar in it, what I like is the low butter content which makes the final product more moist and less crumbly.
Strawberries and Cream Cake
Wildly adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
For the cakes
120g butter, softened
420g white sugar
360g plain flour
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
For the buttercream
180g butter, softened
600g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
A couple of tablespoons of fresh cream to loosen
300g fresh strawberries, hulled and diced
More fresh strawberries to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees on bake and line and grease three 15cm cake tins.
In a cake mixer, mix together the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder and salt until a sandy consistency is reached. Mix the vanilla in with the milk. With the beater still on add the eggs one at a time alternating with the milk. Once the final lot of milk has been added, beat on high for three minutes until a fluffy and smooth batter forms. Divide the batter evenly between the three tins then bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer only just comes out clean (mine took exactly 37 minutes). Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once the cakes are fully cool make the buttercream. Beat the softened butter and vanilla on high until it becomes pale. Gradually start pouring in the icing sugar adding a few splashes of cream to help loosen it up. Once you have a reasonably stiff buttercream, remove half of it and combine with the chopped strawberries. Add another splash of cream to the remaining buttercream and beat until it almost has a whipped consistency.
Level all of your cakes so that they are totally flat on the top. Smear a small amount of buttercream on a cake board on top of a turn table. Place your first cake layer on top. Spread a thin layer of butter cream over the surface followed by half the strawberries and buttercream mix. Spread that evenly and flat across the cake. Place the second layer on top and repeat with the remaining strawberries. Take a disposable chop stick or length of cake dowling and insert it right down the centre of the cake. Mark where the top of the cake reaches but don't trim it just yet. Smear the remaining whipped buttercream all over the cake with a pallet knife dipped in hit water. Smooth it until it reaches the effect desired. I have a small 15cm ruler that I use to smooth the edges. Remove the chopstick, trim it to the cake's height and then return it to the cake. Place the cake in the fridge for an hour or so so that the buttercream firms up and makes the cake sturdier. Decorate with strawberries just before serving.