WOOD­LAND MOSS CAKE

Your Home and Garden - - A Very Merry Food Bag -

SERVES 12-16

I’ve adapted this recipe from a tra­di­tional

Pol­ish for­est moss cake in or­der to show­case the abun­dance of sum­mer ber­ries avail­able in New Zealand at Christ­mas. It makes a won­der­fully whim­si­cal red and green fea­ture for the Christ­mas ta­ble. The cake it­self is coloured green with chopped spinach, but don’t be freaked out by the amount. It’s a lovely, light, sweet, le­mony flavoured sponge. I got my straw­berry se­lec­tion from Straw­berry Cor­ner farm in Al­fris­ton, Auck­land.

550g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed to re­move most of the liq­uid then finely chopped

Zest and juice 2 lemons

6 large free-range eggs

190g caster sugar

500ml sun­flower oil

560g self-rais­ing flour

1 quan­tity cream cheese but­ter cream (see trop­i­cal co­conut cake recipe on pre­vi­ous page)

Ic­ing sugar, for dust­ing

Fresh strawberries, straw­berry leaves and flow­ers, to dec­o­rate

1 Grease and line two 23cm spring­form tins.

2 Pre­heat oven to 170°C fan­bake.

3 Place thawed, squeezed-out spinach in a bowl and mix to­gether with the le­mon zest and juice. In a stand mixer, beat to­gether the eggs and sugar un­til pale and slightly thick­ened. With the mo­tor run­ning add the oil in a thin stream – the mix­ture will emul­sify and thicken.

4 Mix in the spinach mix­ture on a low speed un­til in­cor­po­rated, then fold in the flour by hand un­til com­bined.

5 Di­vide the cake bat­ter be­tween your pre­pared tins and bake for around 50-60 min­utes or un­til a skewer comes out clean when tested. Let cakes cool in the tins.

TO AS­SEM­BLE

6 Place one cake on a serv­ing plat­ter and spread with one-third of the but­ter cream. Place the other cake on top and se­cure with a bam­boo skewer or two (snip off skewer(s) level with the top of the cake).

7 Spread the whole cake with the re­main­ing but­ter cream and smooth with a spat­ula. Chill in the fridge for a cou­ple of hours.

8 When chilled, sprin­kle ic­ing sugar all over sur­face and press into sides with your hands to make a snowy matte white coat­ing. Ar­range strawberries (plus leaves and flow­ers) over top and serve. If not serv­ing im­me­di­ately, keep in fridge (for up to 2 days; cover in cling film).

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