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Friday, 6 March 2015

My 17th Birthday! Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake


In case you didn't pay much attention to the title of today's post...it was my birthday this week. And as per usual - time to make myself a big old cake (well sometimes my friend has made it in the past) That's just not how I roll, so I went with 2 of my favourite things - white chocolate and strawberries. 



Well actually, if I had to pick the best chocolate, I think I would probably go with milk chocolate, but in the case of making buttercream, white chocolate is always best. It's just so creamy, rich and velvety and a perfect match with little specks of vanilla dotted throughout. It's irresistible, anything iced with this one is always quickly devoured and can be used generously for the ultimate treat. 



Between the layers of white chocolate sponge cake I spreaded some good-quality strawberry jam with the buttercream. But if you perhaps prefer another fruit I feel this would be equally good with blueberry jam and fresh blueberries on top, or raspberries. Go with whatever is in season! Mmmm can't wait to try them all just thinking about the endless possibilities. 


Anyway, back to my birthday... I went to pizza express with friends and family. I had doughballs (of course you have to get them, that's like their speciality) then the Il Padrino pizza - that's embellished with all manner of chargrilled vegetables and chicken - for my main which was big to say the least. I really don't get why they just don't buy bigger plates, it was inches hanging off the edge and they always do! But not really a complaint as such because your getting lots for your money. Then for the grand finale I had the leggera chocolate cheesecake! I'm not a cheesecake sort of girl but it's actually more like a chocolate mousse cake then anything else. The best thing of all was when I got another complementary cheesecake because it was my birthday - complete with a candle. How sweet of pizza express!! 



Strawberry and White Chocolate Cake 
(where the buttercream recipe is adapted from the Primrose Bakery Cupcakes book)


Ingredients 

150g good-quality white chocolate
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs, beaten
250g self-raising flour

For the buttercream
175g good quality white chocolate
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar, sifted

To finish
about 4 tablespoons good-quality strawberry jam
3-4 large strawberries
 

Method


Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ gas 3. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn and go grainy (this can happen very quickly if not watched). Leave to cool until needed.

Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, then add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is very light in colour and fluffy in texture scraping down the bowl from time to time. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of the weighed flour with the last portion of egg (to prevent curdling.) Sift in the rest of the flour and fold in using a large metal spoon. Add the cooled white chocolate and fold in until all the ingredients have been incorporated.

Spoon the mixture equally into two 8 inch/ 20cm cake tins that have been greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and just firm to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean in the centre. You may need to place a foil covering over the cakes in the last 5 minutes of baking time to prevent from browning too much. Then leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Meanwhile, to make the buttercream melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then leave to cool. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy. If it looks too runny to use just keep beating - this will thicken it and improve its consistency. 

Once the cakes are completely cold, place one sponge on a plate or board that you can ice on, preferably a turning cake stand will make it easier. Spread your jam onto the sponge and spread about 1/4 of the icing onto the bottom side of the other sponge and then place this iced side down onto your jammed sponge. Lightly press down and then coat the sides and top with the rest of your buttercream, smoothing as you go with a pallette knife. Then, to finish place your fresh strawberries in the centre of the iced cake. 


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