September crept up on me this year, partially because we had a VERY hot few days in the UK recently so I was blissfully unaware that summer is coming to an end. Uni starts in a few weeks and I’m internally starting to panic about the fact that I only have 1 year left of education. I’m partially excited to finish and start being a *real* person but also, like everyone else, pretty terrified about that too.
This is the cake-form of my denial that summer is ending and that reality will hit soon when I return to Leeds. It features a fresh strawberry buttercream and elderflower cordial – can’t get more summery than THAT. As I find layer cakes endlessly frustrating to make, I decided to go sheet cake style here. They’re very easy to make and decorate so are much better for my level of patience!
Strawberries are definitely something that taste best in season. But as we’re cooking them down into a jam for the frosting here, using slightly crappy strawberries (or frozen ones!) is definitely a good option.
- 150 g (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
- 160 g (10 tbsp) unsalted butter
- zest of 1 lemon finely grated (you need the juice for the buttercream)
- 3 eggs
- 250 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
- 120 g (1 cup) plain white flour (all purpose flour)
- 150 g (1 1/4 cup) plain wholemeal flour (wholewheat pastry flour)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp elderflower cordial
- 100 g (3.5oz) fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped (plus a few for decoration)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 70 g (5 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
- 100-200 g (1- 1.5 cups) icing sugar (powdered sugar)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 20 x 20cm square tin or a 25 x 17 cm rectangular tin.
Cream the sugar, butter and lemon zest together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and soft. Beat in the eggs one at a time - it’s okay if it looks like the mixture is curdling. Stir in the yogurt. Add in both flours, the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold in gently until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes until it’s golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Dilute the elderflower cordial with 2 tbsp of water in a small bowl and spoon this over the warm cake to soak in. Set aside to cool before frosting.
For the buttercream:
Blitz the strawberries and lemon juice together in a blender/food processor or in a jug using a hand blender. Pour the blended mixture into a medium pot and heat over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced down to about 80 to 60ml. Let it cool - this is your strawberry ‘jam’.
Beat the softened butter together with the cooled strawberry ‘jam’. Gradually mix in the icing sugar, adding up to 300g until you have a spreadable consistency. Spread this over the cooled cake and top with the extra strawberries (I slice them) to decorate.