Strawberry Cake

So there was no Wednesday baking day this week folks. I got sidetracked at the office and then at Fresher’s Fair and before I knew it the day was gone. Poof. Just like that. I hate it when that happens. And it’s been an awful week so I didn’t have the opportunity or will to bake anything until today. But I wanted to make something to celebrate the newest arrival to my family – my niece Lilly.

It so happens that my cousins and I grew up together, rather like peas in a pod. The first six of us were all born within seven years of each other. We spent all our summers together – running amok on the farm and getting up to mischief. My father shakes his head now when we tell him all the stories from back then. And let’s not pretend it was all totally idyllic – our alliances changed with each passing year and there were feuds and disputes and tears. But we had a lot of fun and many many adventures which we look back on quite fondly these days. I don’t think many people have cousins that they grew up with so closely and continue to be friends with. That’s the thing about my cousins, we continue to be friends today. And whilst our lives have led us in opposite directions, to live in many different places on earth, when we get together we still have loads to talk about. I just wish we could do so more often.

So this is a cake for Lilly. She is my cousin’s child but I see her as my niece. And as the first of my grandfather’s great grandchildren I’m sure she’ll be plenty spoilt and slightly overwhelmed at the madness of my family. Welcome to the world Lilly!  

This is a pink cake made with pureed strawberries that I had in the freezer. I know I’m breaking all the rules about not gender stereotyping girls into pink but this also happens to be a last ode to summer cake so I feel it’s okay. It’s frosted with strawberry cream cheese icing which adds to the richness of the cake. I thought the actual cake would be pinker than it turned out to be so I guess you could add in some food colouring if you wanted a very pink cake. I baked 6 cupcakes and a 2 layer cake from the recipe. You’re supposed to make a three layer cake but I wanted some cupcakes to take to London tomorrow (I’m going to visit the Princess) so I adjusted the recipe slightly.

Strawberry Cake
Adapted from I made that! 
For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups plain flour
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup yoghurt
1/4 cup sunflower oil
120g unsalted butter, soft
1 1/2 cups golden caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pureed strawberries
zest of one lemon plus juice of half
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Frosting:
450g cream cheese
170g butter
1 cup icing sugar
6 tbsp strawberry jam
1 tsp vanilla
juice of half a lemon

Preheat the oven to 180C and line either 3 sandwich pans/1 springform pan/muffin tin (makes about 18 cupcakes).
Beat the butter, lemon zest and sugar together until it looks paste like – you don’t need to beat the mixture white.

Add in the eggs and now beat until the mixture is white and fluffy.

In a separate bowl sift the flour, bicarb and salt.
Whisk the yoghurt and oil into the egg mixture. Fold in the flour in two parts.
Lastly add in the strawberries, lemon juice and vanilla, folding everything together.

Place the mixture into the tin you’ve selected and, if making the cake, smooth it down with the back of a spoon so that it is even.

Bake for: 1/2 hour (springform cake), 20 minutes (sandwich pans), 15 minutes (cupcakes). Obviously this will differ according to your oven, these are just a guide. When done the cake will spring back when touched and a skewer inserted will come out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin(s) before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add in the rest of the ingredients and beat until fluffy and thick. Use generously.