TIME FOR TEA

Cel­e­brate the Easter week­end with show­stop­ping cakes and tra­di­tional scrump­tious treats

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

Fab­u­lous cakes and Easter treats

SERVES 6 FOR THE COM­POTE

250g straw­ber­ries, washed,

hulled and quar­tered 1tbsp caster sugar

1 point of a star anise

(op­tional)

A few drops of lemon

juice

FOR THE SPONGE

200g soft­ened but­ter 200g caster sugar 4 eggs

200g self-rais­ing flour 1tsp bak­ing pow­der 2tbsp milk

TO FILL AND DEC­O­RATE

200ml dou­ble cream

50g ic­ing sugar, plus ex­tra

for dust­ing

1tsp vanilla bean paste

(or vanilla ex­tract) 4 small straw­ber­ries Crushed freeze-dried

straw­ber­ries (op­tional)

Crys­tallised flow­ers

(op­tional)

YOU’LL ALSO NEED

2 x 16cm-di­am­e­ter

cake tins

1 Pre­heat the oven to 200°C/

180°C fan/gas 6. Grease the two cake tins and line with bak­ing pa­per. Put the quar­tered straw­ber­ries in a bowl with the 1tbsp caster sugar, stir­ring to coat, then set the fruit to one side to mac­er­ate.

2 Put the soft­ened but­ter and

200g caster sugar in the bowl of a free­stand­ing mixer and cream to­gether un­til the mix­ture be­comes light and fluffy. Crack the eggs into a sep­a­rate jug and beat. With the mixer run­ning, add a lit­tle of the egg mix­ture at a time, let­ting it com­bine be­fore adding more. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl be­tween each ad­di­tion.

3 Sieve to­gether the self-rais­ing flour and bak­ing pow­der into a sep­a­rate bowl, then sieve again di­rectly over the mix­ing bowl. Add the milk and beat to­gether un­til ev­ery­thing com­bines.

4 Di­vide the bat­ter equally be­tween the 2 pre­pared tins, lev­el­ling out the sur­face of each with the back of a spoon. Bake for 40min or un­til an in­serted skewer comes out clean. Turn out of the tins, re­move the bak­ing pa­per and leave the cakes to cool com­pletely on a wire rack.

5 Mean­while, make the straw­berry com­pote. Tip the mac­er­ated straw­ber­ries and any juices into a small pan. Add 1tbsp wa­ter and the star anise (if us­ing), and bring to a sim­mer. Cook gen­tly for 10min or un­til the berries start to col­lapse and the juices turn syrupy. Add a few drops of lemon juice to sharpen, then trans­fer to a bowl and leave to cool.

6 Whip the dou­ble cream, ic­ing sugar and vanilla into soft peaks, trans­fer­ring to a pip­ing bag if you have one. Cut the 4 small straw­ber­ries into pieces and set both aside. Slice the very top of each cake off to cre­ate an even sur­face, then spoon the straw­berry com­pote and the syrupy juices over the sur­face of one half.

7 Top the straw­berry com­pote with most of the softly whipped cream and place the other cake on top.

Dust the cake with ic­ing sugar. Cover with more cream, pip­ing it on if you wish, then dec­o­rate with the fresh straw­berry pieces, a sprin­kling of freeze-dried straw­ber­ries and crys­tallised flow­ers, if us­ing.

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