Sunday, 17 August 2008


Another Saturday, another birthday celebration, and this time Rowan's. With only three weeks until the next one I am thinking about sourcing a new group of friends with more conveniently spaced out dates of birth.

Of all my friends, I particularly enjoy cooking for Rowan. She's such a brilliant cook herself (this girl has a way with chicken which is unparalleled) that I feel especially flattered when she enjoys my wares - and there's nothing nicer than cooking for someone who truly loves food.

When it comes to cake, Rowan has a certain fondness for buttercream. And I mean a fondess which borders on 'hold the cake, just give me the buttercream and a spoon'. With this in mind, I set about concocting a birthday cake which would satisfy her particular er, fetish. The result was an old fashioned cake made with hazelnuts, strawberries and a lightly whipped vanilla buttercream - I think it did the trick.

Serves 8-10

175g butter, soft
175g unrefined golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
175g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
65g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
200g strawberries
1-2 tbsp strawberry jam

For the buttercream icing:
200g butter, soft
400g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

For decoration:
200g strawberries
60g toasted hazelnuts, half roughly chopped, half left whole

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 20cm loose bottomed cake tins.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar using an electric whisk until pale and fluffy.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and break up with a fork. Add to the butter and sugar mixture a little at a time, whisking throughly after each addition.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together and carefully mix into the butter mixture using the whisk on it's lowest setting. Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the chopped hazelnuts.

Divide the cake mixture evenly between the two tins and lightly smooth out the top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and lightly browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely an a wire rack.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until pale using an electric whisk, then add the icing sugar and vanilla extract and beat until light, creamy and smooth. Add a tablespoon of just boiled water and whisk further to soften and loosen up a little.

Chop 200g of the strawberries into small pieces, place in small bowl and stir in the jam.

Once the cake has cooled, turn one half of it upside down and place on a serving plate or cake stand to ice. A good tip is to place strips of greasproof paper just under the edges which can be pulled away at the end, taking with them any buttercream debris.

Spread with a third of the buttercream. Spread the strawberry mixture thickly on top. Place second cake half on top to sandwich.

Spread the remaining buttercream on top and around the sides.

To decorate, pile up whole and halved strawberries on top and scatter with the toasted hazelnuts. The strawberries look pretty if the stalks are left in.



Dhi said...

Wow, what a delicious looking shot. This photo fits with the theme of photo contest that we're holding.

Today is the deadline, but please find out more info on how to submit here:

There're some prizes for the lucky winners too :D

Good luck!

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Great flavors for a cake!

gkbloodsugar said...

It's my brithday in a couple of weeks...

...Hint, hint. :-)

What a brilliant cake though. Nice job!

Jennie Landels said...

Is this the delicious cake that you have placed on UKTV/ Market Kitchen website!? It looks amazing!

I will def leave a comment...

So funny I was reading out your e-mail whilst sitting at my sisters kitchen table yesterday and my Grandma pipied up... poor girl does she not have a blender... she could have mine if she's that desperate!!

I tried to explain I didn't think it was about the blender... although a very good prize!!

So fingers crossed you get on the tele... and if not.. you can always have my grandma's blender!! ;-)

amritac said...

Woooo! That looks YUMMY! You have a delicious blog here.

Grace said...

"hold the cake, just give me the buttercream and a spoon"

i've never heard it put quite like that, but i like it, and i agree 100%. :)

cindy* said...

mmmm! love hazelnuts and berries together. lovely!

Joy the Baker said...

I love how simple and elegant a hazelnut sponge is! With strawberry it sounds outta sight! Love!

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