Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Strawberries and Cream White Chocolate Cake

This cake really is as good as it sounds. It was my mum's birthday this weekend and I made this for her birthday cake. Its easy to make and it isn't difficult to make the decoration look impressive; if your cake decorating skills aren't brilliant, you're bound to be able to make this cake look good! I got this recipe from one of my baking recipe books but I changed a few of the steps along the way.

To make 1 large cake you will need:
2 fairly large sandwich tins, greased and the bases lined
For the sponge
150g of good quality white chocolate
200g of unsalted butter, softened and diced
3 large eggs at room temperature
150g of caster sugar (both white or golden will be fine)
Finely grated zest of half an orange
200g of self-raising flour
For the filling and topping
At least 400g of ripe strawberries
Juice of half an orange
Caster sugar to taste (about 1 tablespoon)
200ml of double or whipping cream
About 20g of good quality white chocolate, grated
Firstly, preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare the cake tins. A useful tip when lining the bases of cake tins is to draw around the base on greaseproof paper and cut out the outline so the paper will fit the tin perfectly.
Start by melting the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water, being careful not to let the bowl touch the water, over a very low heat. Stir frequently to ensure the chocolate is melting well, and when it is nearly all smooth, remove the bowl from the pan and add the butter, stirring to ensure it all melts and combines smoothly. Its important to make sure the butter is soft before adding it to the chocolate otherwise the butter won't melt.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric whisk until frothy. Add the orange zest and sugar and whisk on a high speed until the mixture is thick and leaves a ribbon-like trail (shown in the picture, right).
Add the chocolate and butter mixture to the egg and sugar mixture and stir until just combined. Sift in the flour and gently fold in using a large metal spoon until you're left with a thick, smooth batter. Split the mixture between the cake tins and make sure the batter is pushed up against all the edges and its fairly level. Bake for about 20 minutes and try to put both tins on the same shelf so the cakes bake evenly at the same speed.

When the cakes are cooked, run a sharp knife around the edge of the cakes to release them from the tins and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. While the cakes are cooling, thinly slice around 300g of the strawberries (saving the best looking ones), place in a bowl and add the orange juice and a little sugar. Taste to see whether more sugar needs to be added, and then leave for about half an hour to let the flavours infuse.

When the cakes are cooked, and the strawberries have been soaking in the juice for a while, place one of the sponges on a serving plate and spoon the strawberries and juice on the cake, spreading them out evenly. Whip the cream until it is lightly whipped (I find its better to do this with a manual whisk to prevent the cream from becoming over-whipped) and spoon roughly half on top of the strawberries and spread so the cream is even. Place the other sponge on top and put the rest of the cream on top of the cake. Spread the cream out but it doesn't need to be spread to the edges of the cake. Cut the rest of the strawberries in half, removing the stalks and arrange in the middle of the cake, and sprinkle the grated white chocolate over the top.

This cake is great for a celebration or just for afternoon tea, particularly in the summer when strawberries are in season!

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