playing with flour

Category: Strawberries

Strawberry Bread

Sometimes it’s good to be creative, to give something new a go. This strawberry bread was a bit of an experiment that stemmed from having three punnets of ripe strawberries and a tub of Greek yogurt in the fridge. I had no idea how it would turn out but it was worth a try, and I’m so glad I did.

An incredibly moist and quite heavy loaf, this bread has a similar texture to banana bread but is somewhat more airy. The juicy pockets of strawberries are delicious and the aroma of the cinnamon and brown sugar baking is enough to have you checking the oven every 10 minutes to see if it is done! The batter is a gorgeous caramel colour and tastes so good I was disappointed I didn’t leave more in the bowl to eat.

I would recommend eating this on the day you bake it (best still slightly warm from the oven) but it will keep for a couple of days. I served it with some extra Greek yogurt through which I stirred some golden syrup and pistachios. Super easy to make and perfect to share for afternoon tea.

Strawberry Bread

1 ½ cups plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 eggs
8 oz Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 cup chopped strawberries

Preheat oven to 180° and prepare a loaf tin. Beat the butter in a large bowl until light and creamy then beat in the sugars. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the yogurt and vanilla.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Mix through until combined. Stir through the strawberries. Pour into prepared tin and top with a sprinkling of raw sugar and some extra cinnamon. If you like you can mix a chopped strawberry in a small bowl with a teaspoon of sugar and spread over the top also.

Bake for 55-60 minutes or until golden on top and if a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. If the bread is browning too quickly cover with foil for the last 10 minutes. Fantastic served with Greek yogurt and honey or golden syrup.

Miniature Neapolitan Cakes

Did you find when you bought neapolitan ice cream that there was a favourite flavour that always went first? For us it was chocolate and then strawberry, but at a distant second. It was only when low on the others or when told off by the adults that we would eat the vanilla. Which is funny really because I love vanilla ice cream these days, although if given the choice I think I’d still choose the same order of preference.

These miniature cakes bring together that classic combination of chocolate vanilla and strawberry so that you don’t have to choose just one. While you could bake each of these in individual moulds, to make life easier I baked 3 larger cakes and then use a cookie cutter to make smaller ones. You do end up with a lot of excess cake so I blitzed this in a food processor and combined it with the leftover frosting to make cake balls. You could easily make them into cake pops if you were so inclined. I wont write a full post for them but I will put a picture up on my Facebook page if you want to see them.

The cakes are dense and very flavourful with rich creamy frosting in between. I used the same frosting as in the cappuccino cupcakes but feel free to use buttercream frosting or any other that you prefer. The cakes are made from one simple recipe with minimal variations. If you’d prefer you can substitute your own recipes but I’d try to keep them similar so each layer is as dense as the next.

I took these cute towers of cake to an 80s themed birthday party over the weekend and they were a hit. Not that neapolitan is particularly 80s but it does evoke childhood memories which for many of us were from the right era. Being so tall it is hard to eat all 3 flavours at once (unless perhaps you use a fork) so it’s interesting to watch and see who eats what layer first. I haven’t quite decided which I like best so perhaps it’s time for another taste test!

Miniature Neapolitan Cakes

Vanilla Cake

1 cup caster sugar
4 oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ cup milk

Preheat oven to 180° and prepare an 8 x 8 inch pan.

Cream butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly. Add the vanilla, baking powder and flour and mix until incorporated. Stir through the milk until smooth. Pour into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Chocolate Cake

As per vanilla cake with the following variations:

Decrease flour to 1 ¼ cups
Add ¼ cup sifted cocoa when adding the flour
Omit vanilla essence

Strawberry Cake

As per vanilla cake with the following variations:

Combine 1/3 cup chopped strawberries with ½ tsp sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes. Mix into batter with milk. Add ½ tsp strawberry essence and a few drops pink food coloring to batter and stir through before baking.

When all three layers are baked and cooled cut out small rounds of cake with a cookie cutter and level the tops so they’re all the same height. Stack each cake with corresponding frostings in between and finish with a frosting swirl on top.


Sour Cream Frosting

Vanilla and strawberry frostings

170g white chocolate
60g unsalted butter
120g sour cream
300g icing sugar

Melt the butter and chocolate in a large bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to cool slightly before adding the sour cream and stirring through. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat well until the frosting is smooth.

Split the frosting in to two bowls and add a teaspoon of vanilla essence to one and ½ tsp strawberry essence + a couple of drops of pink food dye to the other.

Chocolate frosting

As for basic frosting above but substitute in dark chocolate for the white chocolate. This frosting can be quite thick so add a splash of milk if required.

Sweet Strawberry Cupcakes

After going overboard at the local markets and buying 3 large punnets of strawberries I had to find another way to use them up. I used a recipe for strawberry cheesecake cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and modified it slightly to make the cupcake bases. Instead of pairing it with a cream cheese frosting I used a sweet strawberry one.

The cupcakes are soft and crumbly with a mild strawberry flavour which pairs well with the stronger taste of strawberry in the frosting. There are a couple of modifications I would make next time around though. The frosting is very sweet and I feel would be better with less sugar. The chopped strawberries are delicious and moist but are very difficult to eat on the bottom of the cupcakes, however they would be perfect on top of the cake batter (but under the frosting).

 

Strawberry cupcakes

Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

1 cup plain flour
¾ cup caster sugar
1.5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp strawberry extract
1 egg
12 large strawberries

Preheat the oven to 180°. Prepare 12 cupcake cases.

Mix the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and butter on low speed until you get a sandy consistency.

Add the milk and vanilla and mix at medium speed until all combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and strawberry extract and beat well for a few minutes.

Chop the strawberries into small pieces as place in the bottom of each cupcake case. Spoon the batter over the strawberries until two-thirds full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow to cool before frosting.

Strawberry frosting

¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup pureed strawberries
2 ¼ cups sifted icing sugar
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp strawberry extract

In a small saucepan heat the strawberry puree on medium heat until it reduces by half. Add the vanilla and strawberry extracts. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Continue to mix, adding the puree slowly, a small amount at a time, until you get a thick spreadable frosting.

Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.

Strawberry Rhubarb Tartlettes

One of my favourite things about winter in Queensland is the abundance of fresh delicious strawberries. An impromptu invitation for family to come over for dinner left me wondering what quick recipe I could whip up that would take advantage of these without disguising them too much with other flavours.

This recipe is fast to make, especially if you have the dough pre-prepared. It’s just a matter of macerating the fruit and baking. While strawberries and rhubarb are a classic combination you could easily substitute with other berries or stone fruits such as plums and nectarines. The pistachios on top give colour and an added crunch but can be left out if you’d prefer.

This recipe makes 6 10cm tartlettes. You will only need about 1/3 of the amount of dough but this can be halved or the excess can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.

 

Tart dough

285gm unsalted butter, at room temperature
1.5 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp salt
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3.5 cups plain flour

Beat the butter in a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the caster sugar, almond meal, salt, vanilla and eggs and mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Add the flour half a cup at a time, mixing on a low speed until the dough comes together. It should be quite soft.

Roll the dough together with your hands and wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least an hour. The longer it cools the easier it will be to handle. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

When ready to make the tartlettes, break off a piece of dough and place the rest back in the fridge. Roll the dough out to approximately a 0.5cm thickness. You can make the dough thicker or thinner depending on your preference but cooking times should be adjusted accordingly. I like to roll my dough out on a piece of baking paper to avoid sticking to the bench and you can dust with some flour if the dough is hard to handle.  Fit the dough into your tartlette tins (I like to sit my tin upturned on the dough then flip it all over with the baking paper) and lightly press in. If you have any gaps or cracks use the scrap pieces of dough to fill them. Prick the bases with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 180° and blind bake your tartlette cases for 10 minutes or until lightly golden. You can weigh the dough down with weights or beans if you like but I found it wasn’t necessary.

Allow to cool before adding the filling.

Strawberry rhubarb filling

1.5 cups diced strawberries
1.5 cups diced rhubarb
¾ cup caster sugar
1.5 tbsp cornflour
Juice of half a lemon

Preheat oven to 180°.

Combine the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and lemon in a bowl. Stir to mix. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.

Spoon the filling into the prepared tart shells but don’t overfill them. Add a spoonful of the juices from the fruit to each tartlette. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the filling is no longer runny.

Allow to fully cool before removing the tartlette cases. Top with extra diced strawberries and chopped pistachios. Serve with dollop cream or ice cream.



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