Happy Saturday everyone! Hope you had a great week and enjoyed Pancake Day and Valentine’s Day. Our pancakes were a great success this year and although we didn’t plan anything for Valentine’s Day, when we got home we were surprised with a bag of treats from Matt’s mum. She’d bought us chocolate hearts, a special Valentine’s meal from M&S, heart-shaped chocolate desserts and a bottle of bubbly! She is so sweet and thoughtful. I was also spoiled with my favourite chocolates, a heart-shaped cookie and a ticket to a production of Oliver at the school Matt works at, while he got a card and some gourmet jelly beans :). The Oliver performance was last night, and it was really entertaining. So I’ve had a lovely week.
Today I’ve been catching up with the housework-washing up, changing the cat litter, hoovering, emptying the bins and putting the clothes on to wash-and I also found time to bake a cake for Matt. It’s our Valentine’s Day tradition that we cook something special for each other, but as we were both working on Tuesday we agreed we would wait until the weekend when we had more time. Matt loves strawberries so I opted to bake a vanilla and strawberry sponge cake with strawberry buttercream topping. I only served it about twenty minutes ago and he’s already eaten nearly half of it, so it must be good. I must say, I’m pretty pleased with myself!
Makes one cake approx 24cm diameter and 3cm deep. If preferred you can double the mixture and make two tiers of sponge with a layer of butter cream or jam in between.
Large wooden or plastic spoon
Ingredients for sponge
250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour (or plain flour+4tsp baking powder)
3-4 tsp milk, at room temperature
Ingredients for topping
1 punnet fresh strawberries
87g unsalted butter
175g icing sugar
1 tbsp boiling water
Method1) Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer or with a handheld electric whisk (or with a spoon and some elbow grease as I did today) until pale, light and fluffy for about two to three minutes. Gradually add the eggs, mixing well between each addition.
2) Stir in the vanilla extract, Sift together the flour (and baking powder if needed) and add to the cake mixture in two batches, mixing until smooth. Add the milk and keep mixing until smooth and creamy.
3) Pour mixture into your baking pan and place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes (keep looking through the door to check on it)
4) While the cake is baking, mix the butter and icing sugar for the topping in a bowl with a little hot water to make it soft. Mix into a smooth buttercream. Chop 3-4 large, fresh strawberries into tiny pieces and add to the mixture, stirring together into a paste. If it gets too sloppy add a little more icing sugar as you go. No added colourants or flavourings are needed because the strawberries give it a lovely pink tint and sweet taste when mixed in. Leave to cool in fridge for a while.
5) When cake is done baking, place on a wire rack to cool. When completely cool, spread on the strawberry buttercream with a spatula. Slice some of the remaining strawberries to decorate the top, and it’s ready to serve!
So what do you think? Have you tried anything similar or do you fancy having a go at this recipe? If so, let me know how it went in the comments. How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?