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Happy Birthday Mum!
STRAWBERRY SPONGE CAKE
6 eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
1/4 vanilla pod scrapings
90g butter, melted
150g self raising flour
200ml whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
500g fresh ripe strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Butter two 20 cm tins and line the base and sides with baking or parchment paper.
- Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside. Beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla seeds until thick and creamy.
- Add the warm melted butter and sift on the flour, but do not stir. Now add a third of the whipped egg whites.
- Using a whisk to fold everything together gently but thoroughly. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into mixture.
- Gently spoon sponge cake batter into the prepared tins and bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow the cakes to cool completely. Whip the cream with vanilla extract until soft peaks form, then chill slightly.
- Spread one sponge cake with a layer of cream. Top with sliced strawberries, cover with the second sponge cake.
- Spread top of cake with remaining whipped cream. Decorate with fresh whole strawberries. Makes 10 servings.
Adapted from Adrian Richardson’s Strawberry Sponge Birthday Cake
For all white chocolate lovers out there…
WHITE CHOCOLATE MUD CAKE
For the White Chocolate Mud Cake
100g unsalted butter, chopped
100g white chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup caster sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
For the White Chocolate Ganache
4 tablespoons whipping cream
100g white chocolate, chopped finely
- Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a deep 15cm round cake pan and line the base and sides with baking parchment.
- Combine chocolate, butter, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan; stir over low heat until smooth and melted.
- Cool for 15 minutes. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and egg. Pour mixture into pan.
- Bake, uncovered, for about 1 hour. Cool the cake in pan. Meanwhile make ganache by bring the cream to a boil.
- Pour over chocolate in a heatproof bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until chocolate is melted. Cover bowl.
- Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes until thick and spreadable. Turn the cake, top-side up
- Place on a cake stand. Spread ganache over top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate curls, if desired.
Bring a bit of sunshine in your kitchen this winter with the bright and sunny Peach & Almond slice. Adapted from Happy Home Baking, the underlying base is a spongy layer of almond infused cake. While you may use other nuts like hazelnut or pecan nuts, I think almonds are the perfect pair when it comes to fruit desserts like this one. I used canned peaches here, fresh ones are nowhere to be found at this time of the year but substitutions such as apricots, mangoes and plums are very much allowed. Serve with freshly whipped cream, if you can.
PEACH & ALMOND SLICE
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
30g + 60g caster sugar, divided
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
80g all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
70g ground almonds
6 peach halves, fresh or canned
50g almond flakes
- If using canned apricots, wash them to remove the syrup, drain, pat dry with paper towel and set aside.
- Place butter in a mixing bowl, beat with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk till smooth. Add the sugar.
- Continue to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually add egg yolks, whisking after each addition.
- Add vanilla extract, whisk to combine. In a clean mixing bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer.
- Add half of the sugar and turn to high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in remaining sugar.
- Beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy.
- Add the beaten egg whites into the butter and egg yolk batter in 2 separate additions, folding gently.
- Sieve over the flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Fold with the spatula until just combined.
- Spoon batter into a 18cm square pan lined with parchment paper. Spread and smooth it out evenly.
- Arrange the peaches, cut side down. Sprinkle the almond flakes on the surface of the exposed batter.
- Bake in preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 30-35 mins or till the almond flakes start to brown.
- Remove from oven and leave to cool in pan for 5 mins. Serve warm or cold. Makes 6 individual slices.
Smells of Almonds & Peaches