It’s that time of the year when baking takes over my kitchen. Cakes, cupcakes and cookies are churned out to make delectable treats for Hari’s birthday!
This year was special since it was his 9th birthday and next year onwards it is going to be double digit numbers. Since he loves strawberries, he wanted a strawberry cake and this Strawberry Cream Cake was his surprise birthday cake.
If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen a little of the fun and chaos that his 9th birthday brought in. This time he had 5 of his friends for a sleepover and it was great fun to see the boys and feed them all the goodies from my kitchen. The melting moments, the chocolate chip cookies, the chocolate cupcakes, waffles with whipped cream and all other delectable were savoured by the kids which was my prize for toiling in the kitchen with an injured ankle.
Cakes have always had a special place in my heart and no birthday is replete without making and eating loads of cake. This is also the time when I make exceptions and bake with flour, butter, cream and sugar. Life without treats would be boring and when you are eating healthy at other times, celebratory food should be relished is what I believe!
These nine years with Hari have been the most special years of my life. Watching him grow has been very fulfilling and the way children transform, adapt and grow is one of the greatest wonders of life.
It seems like yesterday when he wouldn’t move without the assurance of my presence. And now all of a sudden he has grown into this big boy who took a flight alone as an unaccompanied minor to be with his grandparents. But my heart will always hold the memories of my little one jumping on my lap at every take off and landing with those marble eyes peering at me.
Thank you Hari for bringing so much joy and happiness into my life. My prayer everyday is that I’m able to do justice to your presence in my life and execute my duties to the best of my abilities. Like every mother I try my best! At times I succeed and at times I falter, but know my little one that I try my best every time!
This Strawberry Cream Cake, so reminiscent of an English Summer is one of the best cakes I have made. The layers of sponge, the cream and the freshly made jam is nothing short of divine!
I hope you will make and savour this beauty in the special occasions of your life.
Eggless Strawberry Cream Cake
When strawberries are not in season, use berries or any other seasonal fruits of your choice.
For the sponge:
250 gm (1 3/4 cup) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda/ sodium bicarbonate
1 tin/400gm sweetened condensed milk
100 gm (1/2 cup) butter, melted
175 ml (scant 3/4 cup) milk
3 tbsp powdered sugar (optional)
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
2 tbsp hot water
For the soaking syrup:
125 ml (1/2 cup) water
2 tbsp sugar
For the filling:
200 gm strawberries
5 tbsp sugar
For the whipped cream:
2 cups whipping cream*
4 tbsp sugar (if using unsweetened whipping cream)
fresh strawberries for decoration
Make the Cake:
Grease and line the bottom of two 8” round cake tin or one 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment/butter paper.
In a mixing bowl, assemble the flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix with a spoon and sieve once to make the mixture uniform.
Preheat the oven to 150 C.
Put in the condensed milk, melted butter, vanilla extract and water into the mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients. Beat with an electric hand mixer, whisk or spoon or in a stand mixer until the mixture comes together and there are no lumps. This should take 3 to 4 minutes with an electric hand mixer/beater. Be careful not to over beat the mixture as this could result into a hard cake. Stir in 2 tbsp hot water and beat for a minute more.
Divide the batter into two halves and pour the batter into the cake tins, equally distributing the batter into both the tins. Bake for 30 minutes or till done.
The cake is done when a knife or cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the cake.
Allow the cake to cool completely.
Prepare the soaking syrup:
In a saucepan put in the water and the sugar and heat until the sugar dissolves completely. Allow to cool. You can even place this in the refrigerator.
Prepare the filling:
Blend the strawberries with the sugar in a blender. Place the strawberry in a saucepan and cook on low heat until thick, about 8 to 10 minutes. Alternatively, use 4 to 5 tbsp of strawberry jam.
Prepare the whipped cream:
Chill the bowl and the whisk of an electric beater or stand mixer in the refrigerator. Beat the cream until you get soft peaks, adding sugar if using unsweetened cream.
Place one half of the cake over a serving plate. Prick the cake all over with a cake skewer. Put some soaking syrup all over it. With the help of a palette knife, spread the strawberry puree, leaving 1/4” space at the borders.
With the help of a palette knife spread the whipped cream over the jam.
Carefully place the other half of the cake, prick with the skewer and moisten it with the soaking syrup. With the help of a palette knife level both the cakes, by pressing the knife over the sides, rotating the cake at the same time.
Whip the remaining cream until stiff peaks form.
Spread the whipped cream on top of the cake and cover it over the sides as well.
With the help of a cone and an icing nozzle place stars or rosettes on the edges of the cake.
Decoratively arrange fresh strawberries on top of the cake.
Chill in the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 hours before slicing.
Makes one tall 8″ cake