2 June 2012

Strawberry and Clotted Cream Jubilee Cake

As I draw closer to the end of exams and, indeed, the end of my time in this lovely house with my lovely housemates, I am beginning to once again dream of the foods that the South West offers. I have told you numerous times how the North just can't get it right when it comes to things like pasties, but at least, hundreds of miles from home, I can take comfort in the fact that my local supermarket stocks clotted cream.

On my way up the dairy aisle I was actually a little frightened that they wouldn't have any in stock as this would spell the end of my fantastic cake plans. Luckily they had some, all the way from Cornwall. I particularly enjoyed the Cornwall-Devon rivalry that Roddas, the manufacturer, had put on the inside of the packaging: much as I enjoy partaking in the debate over which of Newcastle and Northumbria University are better (Newcastle, obviously), the never-ending debate over how to correctly assemble a cream tea is something that will always be a fond reminder of where I grew up.

This cake, as with almost all of the ones that I plan for a long time, did not come without its diffuculties. The cakes almost fell apart when I tipped them out of the tins because the strawberries had made them more flimsy. Luckily I managed to avert disaster by doing a lot of complicated flipping with plates in order to get them into the clingfilm so that I could freeze them (this makes them easier to ice later). When they came out of the freezer several hours later they were much more solid and easier to handle.

Problem number two was a mysterious liquid at the bottom of the buttercream. The best I can make of it is that because I had doubled my usual recipe, not all of the egg whites had been properly whisked and I couldn't tell until it was too later because of the layer on top and the opaque mixing bowl. I think this is also the reason why the buttercream didn't take up the vanilla flavour as well as last time - because more butter was added to less meringue and therefore less flavouring. Still, once I'd drained off said mysterious liquid the butercream was easy enough to colour and pipe.

Speaking of piping, this was my least problematic piping experience to date. I've been through at least three piping bags in the past six or so months: two were cheap and the seams simply split (when I was baking with  S we tried to fix this by tightly wrapping it up with cling film) and the third was a more sturdy material one but the icing had a habit of squeezing through the holes from the stitching in the seam. When I was shopping for icing for the Portal Companion Cube Cake I came across some extra strong disposable piping bags in Lakeland - the pack of 50 was only about £6 so I snapped them up and am extremely glad that I did as it has made the whole piping process entirely stress free.

The cake looked so good that I was reluctant to slice into it, but having just eaten some I can tell you that it tastes very much of both strawberries and clotted cream so is definitely a success. The strawberries have made the sponge very moist, which makes it extra-appealing to me!

The clotted cream was actually what led me to making this lovely cake because I wanted to enter the Best Of British Challenge. The challenge is set over six months, each month from a different region of the UK and this month it is set in Cornwall and is hosted by Choclette of Chocolate Log Blog - one of my favourites! The competition has been put together by Karen of Lavender and Lovage and Fiona of London Unattached and is sponsored by New World Appliances.


The Union Jack on the cake is obviously in celebration of the Jubilee weekend so I'm also entering this cake into the Blogging Jubilee Baking Competition, hosted by Homemade By Fleur and sponsored by Appliances Online.


And yes, this may be my second post involving strawberries and cream in the space of a month, but it is the summer so I'll let myself off.

For the cake:
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 500g Strawberries
  • 200g Clotted Cream
  • 200g Self Raising Flour
  • 200g Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 100mL Milk
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
  • 12 Egg Whites
  • 600g Butter
  • 4 Tbsp Vanilla Essence
  • Red and Blue Gel Food Colouring
  • Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan and line two sandwich tins with parchment paper.
  • Cream the clotted cream and sugar together. 
  • Stir in the eggs, the baking powder and then gradually stir in the flour.
  • The clotted cream seemed to make the batter almost doughy after all of the flour has been added so more milk than normal will be needed. Add enough to achieve a soft dropping consistency.
  • Remove the tops from 3/4 of the strawberries, then thinly slice them and fold them into the cake batter.
  • Divide the batter between the sandwich tins and bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool completely in their tins.
  • Run a knife round the inside of the tin to loosen the cakes from the sides. Place a sheet of clingfilm over two small plates, then place them face down over each cake tin. Flip them over, hopefully taking the cakes with them. 
  • Wrap the cakes up in cling film and freeze them for at least 4 hours. This will make them less flimsy and easier to ice later.
  • To make the Swiss meringue buttercream, first pasteurise the egg whites by putting them in a bowl with the sugar over a pan full of hot water (make sure the bottom of the bowl is not in the water). Gently whisk the egg whites until the sugar has dissolved - you can test for this by putting your fingers into the egg whites and rubbing them together: if you can feel grains then the sugar still hasn't dissolved.
  • Pour the egg whites into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla essence and whisk until the egg whites have a stiff peak consistency. 
  • Chop the butter into cubes, then add it, piece by piece, to the whisked egg whites. Count to 20 after adding each piece so that it has time to be fully incorporated into the mixture.
  • At first the mixture will turn a bit soupy, but after you've added about 3/4 of the butter it should start to thicken and eventually will have a smooth consistency. If it doesn't thicken, try putting it in the fridge for 30 mins and whisking again, or adding 100g more butter.
  • Remove the cakes from the freezer, unwrap them and place one onto a stand.
  • Spread a dollop of the buttercream over it, then de-stalk and slice the remaining strawberries before spreading them over the top.
  • Place the second cake on top of the strawberries.
  • Dollop some buttercream over the top of the cake and spread it over the top and sides, filling any gaps in the sides of the cake in order to make an even base for your decoration. Try to keep this layer as thin as possible.
  • Next, divide the remaining buttercream into three. Keep one third white, dye one red and dye the other blue. The buttercream is dyed most easily by whisking the food colouring in. You'll probably need twice as much gel food colouring as normal to get your desired colour. 
  • Take three piping bags with star nozzles and fill them with the buttercream, then pipe the Union Jack on top of the cake (I'm ashamed to say that I had to use my Union jack apron as a guide) and then random dots on the sides.
  • Don't store the cake in the fridge as it will give the buttercream a solid quality that isn't as nice as when  it is soft. It will also reduce the lifespan of your sponge.

Not sure what to do with all those egg yolks you now have kicking around your kitchen? You could make custard, but it is now officially summer so you're better off making ice cream with them instead. You can also freeze them for up to two weeks.

For tips on whisking egg yolks and baking cakes, take a look at The Basics.

My last exam in on Thursday and I can't wait for it to all be over (for now), but I honestly don't know what I'll do with myself when I don't have to spend at least 8 hours a day revising. Did you know that I've nearly gone through 400 sheets of paper since I started revision? Don't worry though, I'm saving the trees and recycling them when I'm done with them.

Have a happy Jubilee weekend - I hope this cake has inspired to you do some baking of your own!


  1. Wow! What an amazing cake. Anything with strawberries and clotted cream in it gets a thumbs up from me :). I could do with a slice of that right now and a cup of tea to go with it. Thanks for entering my bloggers Jubilee competition.

  2. Thanks! Looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

  3. Oh, a clotted cream cake, how absolutely fabulous. And strawberries too. It looks absolutely stunning and something to be proud of. I'm useless at doing anything fancy so am in complete admiration. Thanks for supporting Cornwall in the Best of British - you can't really get better than strawberries and cream :)

    Thanks also for liking my blog :D

  4. Thanks, I'm looking forward to seeing the round up. I was hopeless at decorating until I discovered Swiss meringue buttercream - it's really easy to use once you've mastered making it!


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