Strawberry and Blueberry Sponge Cake

Whether you are looking at a traditional Sunday afternoon tea sitting on the lawn served with cups of tea, whiling away the last days of summer or simply a tasty slice of cake when you have a sweet craving come calling, this sponge cake topped off with strawberries and blueberries makes a very nice treat.

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Dawn: This delicious, beautiful cake proved to be a big hit for a birthday celebration recently. So, without further a-do, let’s start with the ingredients. 

Ingredients

Serves 10-12

Cake:

200g softened butter (plus a little more for greasing the cake case)

200g castor sugar

4 eggs

150g plain flour (or self-raising, omitting the baking powder)

2 tsp baking powder

Buttercream:

150g softened butter

300g icing sugar

Few drops of vanilla essence

Decorations:

200g blueberries, washed and dried

150g strawberries, hulled, washed and dried

A little icing sugar to dust

Equipment:

1 x 8″ cake tin, with removable bottom

Greaseproof paper

1 x baking sheet

1 x cake board, large enough to carry an 8″ cake

Dawn: Decoration could be anything you decide! You may choose to add a teaspoon of cocoa powder to the buttercream and then pile on top of this a mixture of white, milk and dark chocolate shavings. You might decide to sprinkle the top with a selection of kids’ sweets or add a drop of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the buttercream and then add candied lemon slices across its top.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 5, 190°C electric.
  • Line the 8″ cake tin with greaseproof paper, and lightly grease the paper with a thin smear of butter. Set aside.
  • Cream the butter and castor sugar together until they become light and fluffy in texture and appearance.
  • Break one egg at a time into a dish or mug, beat until pale yellow and light  in appearance. Slowly add the beaten egg to butter and sugar mixture until it is combined. Add each of the remaining eggs this way, beating well each time until all four eggs are mixed into the butter and sugar. The mixture will look pale yellow.
  • Slowly add a little of the flour and baking powder (if using), sifting them into the mixture. Fold the flour into the mixture.

Dawn: Folding is a term used to gently combine a whisked or creamy mixture with other ingredients so as the mixture’s overall lightness quality is retained. Folding is done with a metal spoon and is largely used when making certain cakes, meringues and souffles to keep the air in the mixture. 

  • When all of the flour is folded into the mixture, pour the mixture into the cake tin, spooning the top level. Place the cake tin on a baking sheet in the middle of the pre-heated oven. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes until golden brown in colour.
  • Take from the oven when cooked and set aside until cool. Leave the cake in the cake tin to ensure the cake retains its shape.

Dawn: To test the cake to find out if it’s cooked, simply take a sharp knife and pierce the centre. If the knife comes out clean, then the cake is baked; if it comes out with a googy mixture on it, then it needs further baking time and you will have to keep checking it to see when it is baked. 

  • To make the buttercream topping, put the softened butter into a bowl and gradually sift the castor sugar, all the time beating the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Add a drop or two of vanilla essence and mix well.
  • When the cake is completely cold, remove from the cake tin.
  • Place a tiny amount of buttercream on the cake base and then place the cake on top. This dollop of buttercream under the cake secures the cake in place.
  • Now, cover the top of the cake with lashings of the vanilla infused buttercream until the top is completely covered.
  • Taking the hulled strawberries, position these around the edge of the cake creating a ‘wall’ of strawberries to ‘house’ the blueberries in. Add a further strawberry to the centre. Scoop the blueberries into the centre. Sprinkle with a little sifted icing sugar, if you prefer.

Dawn: Baking made easy! “How to Hull Strawberries” is here as well as How to Cream Butter and Sugar”.

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There’s a multitude of variations to be made on this classic sponge recipe. One variation of this sponge could be chocolate sponge cake which simply needs you to substitute 45g (3 level tbsp) of the flour with 45g of cocoa powder.

So, happy baking everyone and for more recipes, cooking tips and meal ideas that are quick and cheap to make, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and click “Follow” over on Twitter @Love_Food_UK for regular food chat as well as finding the cooking sensation over on Facebook (please pop across and ‘Like’ Love Food). Oh, not forgetting the fab MumsNet Bloggers Network and Foodies100, too! 

 

How to Knead Bread Dough

DSCI2665Our “How to Make Bread” recipe really does knead – get it? – the know-how on how to knead it so we’re setting out a few simple steps here for you to get to know how to work those magical few ingredients that make such a staple cupboard necessity for many.

Tips on Making the Dough

When making the dough, try to warm the bowl to speed up the process.

Measure all the ingredients – don’t guess the weights! You’re unlikely to guess correctly.

Add the yeast liquid to the dry ingredients using a wooden spoon or fork until they are blended together.

Work the dough until all the ingredients are combined, the dough is smooth in appearance and leaves the sides of the bowl clean.

Kneading the Dough

This is the essential part of making bread. Kneading strengthens the gluten in the flour, making the dough elastic-like in texture and enables the dough to rise more easily.

Turn the dough out onto a flour-dusted work surface and knead it by folding it towards you then quickly and firmly pushing it down and away from you with the heel of your hand. Give the dough a quarter turn and continue kneading in the same way as described kneading towards you and then pushing the dough from you for about 10 minutes until it is firm, elastic and non-sticky.DSCI2644

Rising

Once kneaded, the dough is ready for rising. Place in a bowl and cover the bowl with cling film.

Rising times may vary with temperature. Allow 1.5 – 2 hours at room temperature for the dough to rise. It should be double in size and the risen dough should spring back to its original shape when gently pressed with a floured finger.

The dough’s rising time can be quickened by placing it in a warm place such as an airing cupboard or on top of a radiator for about 45-60 minutes until it is twice its original size.

A second, short 2 – 3 minutes kneading and then shape, pop onto a baking tray and put in the oven.

Our recipe for bread is in our “How to Make” series and is found here, at “How to Make Bread” http://wp.me/p3lk3r-utDSCI2653

For regular cooking tips and food advice from the Cooking Duo, simply follow this blog by popping your email address in the box as indicated at www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com or if you’re a blogger, too, Follow us. We want to get to know you, too! If you’re a fellow tweeter, we want to tweet with you, too! We’re @Love_Food_UK so let’s tweet together very soon! And you’ll find us on Facebook, Mumsnet Bloggers Network and Foodies100, too. See you over there soon, we hope! Happy bread making!