It’s coming into the middle of April here in Ireland and we are finally beginning to see hints of summer and any bit of sunshine is a welcome break from the rain. We don’t have all those green fields for nothing!, and with summer come the start of strawberry season.
The first harvest of Irish Strawberries are just now appearing in the shops and one very delighted person is my hubbie! Strawberries are one of his most favorite things in the world, I think (I know )he would eat absolutely anything if it was accompanied by strawberries.
Of course I agree with him, to a degree , I love all kinds of berries in equal measure but a fresh strawberry signals summer for me. I mean who could resist a strawberry so beautiful, sweet and juicy and so versatile. Great on their own , with cream, in smoothies, in deserts. For me they come into their own in a cake, they can turn a simple victoria sponge into a decadent cake , make lovely pies and tray bakes but one of my personal favorites is this Red Velvet Strawberry Cake! Red Velvet Cake on its own is delicious but add strawberries and it takes it to another level.
And just to make this one extra special, I’m adding mascarpone whipped cream OMG whipped fresh cream is good but add mascarpone to it and it just becomes something heavenly.
Making the decadent mascarpone cream is so simple, whip the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar & vanilla together until thick. I just use a hand held electric mixer for this, it makes it much easier not to over- whip which I always tend to do with my Kitchen Aid !
Of course we just have to add some chocolate somewhere around the sides, finishes things off nicely…
RED VELVET STRAWBERRY CAKE WITH MASCARPONE WHIPPED CREAM
175g unsalted Butter softened
500g plain flour
1tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
3 tbsp cocoa powder
450g caster sugar
3 eggs at room temp
1 heaped tsp “Sugarflair” extra red food colouring or 38ml Dr Oetkar red colouring
Punnet of strawberries
Grated milk chocolate
1 tub mascarpone cream
250ml whipping cream
2tbsp icing sugar
1tsp Vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease 2 x 20cm/8in diameter cake tins and line with baking parchment.
Beat the butter for a minute or so, until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl to ensure all the ingredients are combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the cocoa, food colouring and vanilla extract.
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, then add to the butter mixture in three stages, alternating with the buttermilk and scraping down after each addition.
Put the bicarbonate of soda and cider vinegar in a small bowl and whisk until it bubbles up. Add this to the cake batter and give it one last quick beat. Spoon the mixture into the tins and level the top of the batter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. After 30 minutes, cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from browning too much. Test the cake after 45 minutes; when it is cooked, a knife or skewer inserted in the centre will come out clean.
Remove the foil and leave to cool on a wire rack for around 30 minutes. Remove from the tin and leave until completely cool before decorating.
To make the frosting, whip the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar & vanilla together until thick.
Cut each cake in half horizontally; again, use a bread knife. Now you have four layers of cake. Put the bottom layer of cake on your cake plate. Spread with jam and cream, making sure it’s not too thick; about 1cm/½in is perfect. Repeat with all the layers.
Cover the outside with cream, on the top layer spread a little strawberry jam and pipe some cream swirls. Cut strawberries in half and place in centre of cake.
Decorate the sides of the cake with grated chocolate….