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Friday, 17 July 2015

Strawberry Pinata Cake

It was my daughter's 11th birthday last week. This is my "fruit monster" daughter I'm talking about. She is fortunate in that she absolutely loves fruit and veg and would actually rather eat it than anything else and puzzles over why other children spend their money on buying sweets. She is also fortunate that her birthday falls in prime soft fruit season. This means that usually I make her a birthday fruit-related cheesecake as her birthday cake. Her favourite is raspberry and white chocolate, with her age marked out in fresh raspberries.

I was all set to make this cheesecake again this year when I came across a "Strawberry Pinata Cake" on facebook a few weeks ago. This instantly caught my attention. Recently there has been surge in the popularity of pinata cakes and you can even buy special cake tins for the purpose. Every other one I have seen have had Smarties or something similar tumbling out of the middle so I have been uninspired. This cake, however, had fresh strawberries as the hidden central surprise... and I instantly knew a suitable occasion for such a cake. I pinned it to my Pinterest page and checked with my daughter that this cake would appeal. She was very enthusiastic.

Last year Steve revamped our strawberry bed so this year we have had a lovely crop of strawberries but I was a little anxious that by the time it came to her birthday, the strawberries would be tailing off. This is why raspberries are usually my fruit of choice for her cake. I was so unconvinced that I would have decent strawberries that for a moment when I was doing my online grocery order I hovered over the punnets of strawberries and considered buying some just to be safe. However, I figured that if I wasn't in the shop to choose the punnet, I would probably end up with a collection of unripe, tasteless fruit anyway.

As it turned out, I needn't have worried. On the eve of her birthday I went out to pick the required fruit and quickly filled my basket up with beautiful strawberries. The recipe called for 300g and it was clear that I had more than enough. So the next morning I set about making 3 sponges for the layers using a straightforward sandwich cake recipe. The recipe suggested that each sponge should be cut in half horizontally to make a stack of 6 layers of cake but my sponges were a little skinny for slicing in half so I decided 3 layers would be adequate. I think 6 layers would have been a bit excessive and over done on the jam and cream in between anyway.

Whilst the sponges cooled, I went out to her sports day. She was excited to have sports day on the same day as her birthday. Then, when I got back from that I set about assembling the cake, using smaller strawberries to fill the centre and the larger ones to decorate the top. Anyway, it turned into an impressive stack of a cake and my daughter was thrilled to see it when she got home. But of course, the best part was cutting into it and seeing the fresh strawberries inside. I have a feeling this cake might feature again in future birthdays... or even next time we have a flush of lovely strawberries.

  1. 300g unsalted butter
  2. 300g sugar
  3. 6 eggs
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 300g self raising flour
  6. 400ml double cream
  7. 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 1 tbsp icing sugar
  9. strawberry jam
  10. 300g (approx) strawberries
  1. pre heat the oven to 180°C / 160°C (fan)
  2. grease and line 3 x 8 inch baking tins
  3. cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
  4. add the eggs, the vanilla extract and a tbsp of flour and beat well for a few minutes
  5. Lightly fold in the flour
  6. divide the batter between the cake tins and cook in the oven for approx 25 mins until golden brown, risen and cooked all the way through
  7. leave to cool
  8. when you are ready to assemble your cake, whip the cream with the vanilla extract and icing sugar until just thick as you want it to have some movement
  9. using a large scone cutter, cut out rounds from the middle sponge.
  10. Starting with the bottom sponge, place onto your cake stand/plate and place the scone cutter in the middle and add jam around the circumference and cover the jam with some cream then remove the scone cutter.
  11. top with with the middle sponge with the hole in the middle and cover this layer with jam and cream
  12. Fill the void up with small strawberries cover with the top sponge layer
  13. Top this sponge with some more cream and decorate with some more strawberries
  14. keep in the fridge, unless serving right away
  15. although it will keep for a day or two, it will be best on its first day

Adapted from recipe by By Jenny Paulin - http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk/

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