Nothing says summer to me more than strawberries, especially when British strawberries come into season and they are as flavoursome as you remember them in your head. I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner when they’re at their best. When baking with them I don’t really want to mess with them too much, I want to let them shine, but there are a couple things we can do to amp up the flavour and make this strawberry cake something special.
For this recipe I have gone with a sheet cake style, partly because it’s unfussy, partly so the ratio of fruit to cake is higher and partly because I just love a sheet cake. The cake is a very simple affair, a classic cake mixture using Doves Farm Organic Self Raising White Flour (LINKED) and sour cream for the perfect texture, almost like a moist pound cake. The topping is built around strawberries that have been very lightly roasted in a little sugar and lemon juice to intensify their flavour (this a great recipe if your strawberries are not quite as ripe or flavoursome as you’d hope). To marry with the strawberries I sprinkled the cake with flaked almonds for a little extra texture, a few small dollops of jam, to amplify the strawberry flavour and a little white chocolate. Now the chocolate, let’s talk about it for a second. Sure, white chocolate and strawberry is a classic combination, but take a closer look at the cake, the chocolate has browned a little. As the cake bakes the white chocolate actually caramelises a little, giving us hints of that caramelised white chocolate we all love.
Once the cake is baked you can serve it a few different ways; on its own, warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream or maybe with some whipped cream and fresh berries. Whichever way you fancy it, once the cake is baked it needs serving with 2-3 days.
Doves Farm organic flours are available at Sainsburys, Tesco, Ocado and from www.dovesfarm.co.uk
Roasted Strawberry Sheet Cake
150g unsalted butter, room temperature
300g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
300g Doves Farm Organic Self Raising White Flour
200ml sour cream
400g strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
4 tbsp flaked almonds
75g white chocolate, cut into chunks
2 tbsp strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and lightly grease, and line with parchment, a 9x13 cake pan (the same one you use for brownies).
Before you make the cake, prepare the strawberries. Toss together with the sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Pour onto a small rimmed baking tray and roast for about 20 minutes or until the strawberries have softened a little, whilst still holding their shape, and have released some juice.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the beater attachment attached, beat the butter and sugar together for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Don’t underestimate this stage as if you under mix this part the cake will be denser than intended. Add the vanilla and salt and mix for about 30 seconds to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until fully combined before adding another. Add the flour in three additions, alternating with the four cream, starting and finishing with the flour. Once you have a smooth cake batter pour it into the prepared pan and spread it into an even layer.
Scatter over the berries, reserving the juice, and repeat with the almonds, white chocolate and jam, placing small dollops across the cake. With all the toppings don’t press them into the batter as they’ll sink a little as the cake bakes, if you press them in before the cake goes in the oven they may sink too far.
Bake the cake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown or a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.