Strawberries and cream. And cake. It's hard to say no this classic and winning combination of flavours. Maybe I didn't do a good enough search but I couldn't find a recipe like this one online so I had to draw from different sources to put this cake together. It's pretty labour intensive but the reward is worth it!
1 and 1/3 c cake flour or in Australia it's biscuit pastry & cake plain flour (it comes in a box and Woolworths stocks the Lighthouse brand); alternatively, you can use self-raising flour and take out the baking powder
1 c caster sugar
1.5 t vanilla extract
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1/2 c and 2 t cold water
5 egg yolks
5 egg whites
1/3 c and 1 t vegetable oil
1/4 t cream of tartar
Preheat oven to 165 °C.
Line the bottom of a square 20 x 7 cm cake tin with baking paper. Set aside. Do not spray your cake tin with any oil as this will brown your cake.
Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Stir with a whisk to combine well. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Add egg yolks, oil, vanilla and water and beat with an electric mixer until light and smooth.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on high speed. Once frothy, add the cream of tartar. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
Fold in the egg white mixture into the batter with a rubber spatula in 3 batches. It's important to use a spatula and a folding motion so as not to deflate the egg whites. It's done when there is no streak of white or yellow and all you have is a uniform pale yellow colour.
Pour batter into prepared tin. Place cake at the lowest oven rack so the top of the cake does not brown too much. Bake for 40-50 mins. The cake is done when a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the middle of the cake.
When cake is done, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Cool for 5 mins then run a sharp knife around the edges until the cake can easily slide out of the tin. Place the wire rack on top of the cake then turn the cake over onto the wire rack. Remove the tin and baking paper. Allow to cool completely. Using a long knife, cut the cake in half horizontally.
1 c chopped strawberries
1/2 c caster sugar
1/2 c water
Place all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium high heat and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium low heat and cook for 20 mins or until the sauce has thickened. Cool then store in the refrigerator until needed.
You can make this a day head and use the leftovers for toast, scones or milkshakes.
strawberry filling and icing
450 ml thickened cream
45 g icing sugar
2 t gelatine powder
4 T cold water
1 cup finely chopped strawberries (about 140 g)
8-12 strawberries (depending on size), halved lengthwise, to decorate the top of the cake
Brush some strawberry syrup on the two cut sides of the cake.
If you happen to get a batch of sour strawberries, you can sweeten the chopped strawberries by adding 1-2 T of the strawberry syrup.
Beat the thickened cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add icing sugar and beat until sugar has dissolved.
In a small saucepan, place 4 T of cold water and then sprinkle gelatine powder over it. Let it stand for 5 mins. Place over very low heat, stirring constantly, just until the gelatine dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool until it reaches the temperature of your finger. Do not let it cool past this point or it may solidify.
In a small bowl, place 1 T of the whipped cream and gradually stir in the cooled gelatine until well combined. Replace this mixture back into the bowl of cream. Whip the cream until stiff.
Spread 6-7 T of cream on one of the cake halves. Arrange the chopped strawberries on top. Cover with another 5 T of cream. Sit the other cake half on top, cut side down. Use the remaining cream to cover the top and sides of the cake, working quickly before the gelatine sets.
Place the strawberry halves on top of the cake and drizzle with a bit of strawberry syrup. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Note: You will need about 3 x 250 g punnets of strawberries for the entire recipe, with some leftover.
Optional: top with rose petals or other edible flowers. Try to get home-grown roses from your own garden or someone else's so you where pesticides haven't been used.