Strawberry and Elderflower Cake

For those who are lucky enough to have a summer birthday, there is an abundant choice of summer fruits that can adorn a cake, but nothing says summer quite like the British strawberry; red, lush, juicy and incredibly sweet. So, for C’s mum’s birthday cake, this very pretty celebration of pink and red seemed to tick all the boxes. Not only does the cake look great, but when you cut it open, it is gorgeous on the inside too with strawberries and cream oozing out from between the layers of the cake. Although there is a fair amount of elderflower cordial, the flavour is quite difficult to detect; perhaps more could be added to the original recipe which came from Sainsbury online.  Anyhow, the cake was delicious and the birthday girl was very happy.

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour

225g slightly salted butter at room temperature

2 tsp baking powder

225g caster sugar

4 large eggs

 3 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the strawberry and elderflower filling

150ml double cream

1 tbsp elderflower cordial

100g mascarpone

175g strawberries hulled and sliced

For the meringue buttercream

200g caser sugar

3 medium egg whites

250g slightly salted butter, at room temperature, cubed

1 tsp elderflower cordial

Pink food colouring

To decorate

150g strawberries, sliced

Sprinkles or any other cake decorations 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan / gas 4. Grease and line 3 x 20cm sandwich tins with baking parchment. Sift together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt; set aside.
  2. Beat the butter in a bowl until soft and creamy. Add the 225g caster sugar and beat until very pale (this should take about 5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, adding a small spoonful of the flour mixture with each one to prevent curdling. Sift in the rest of the flour and gently but thoroughly fold in.
  3. Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins and lightly level out. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen, golden and the tops spring back when gently touched.
  4. Leave to cool in the tins for 1 minute, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack, drizzle each one with a tablespoon of elderflower cordial and leave to cool.
  5. For the strawberry and elderflower filling, whip the cream and elderflower cordial into soft peaks. In another bowl beat the mascarpone until smooth and fluffy. Mix in the whipped cream and fold in the strawberries.
  6. For the meringue buttercream, put the sugar and egg whites into a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and whisk gently by hand for 5-8 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm. It should reach a temperature of 60C. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk in high speed for 5-6 minutes or until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Reduce the speed to low and add the cubed butter one small piece at a time making sure each has been incorporated before adding the next. When it has all been added and the mixture is smooth, add in the elderflower cordial and food colouring. Chill the buttercream for 20 minutes to allow it to firm up to a spreadable consistency.
  7. To assemble, put one layer, bottom side up, on a plate or cake stand and spread with half the filling. Top with another sponge and add the rest of the filling, then add the final sponge.
  8. Spread the sides and top of the cake with the buttercream. Pile the sliced strawberries on top then scatter over some sprinkles.

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