Archives for category: Strawberry

Oh yessss it’s that time of year again! I’ve swiftly moved on from pretending to care about the football to wholeheartedly getting excited about Wimbledon. It starts today and I’m so looking forward to enjoying the tennis, drinking Pimms and eating strawberries and cream. Last year to celebrate I made these, but this year I wanted to go for something a little bigger. I picked up a couple of these tins and was inspired to make some slightly larger than life tennis ball cakes filled with fresh strawberry buttercream. I used a basic vanilla cake recipe to make 8 cake halves for 4 tennis balls. Once baked, I left them to chill in the fridge overnight so they would be easier to cut. To make the halves fit together better I trimmed the flat tops and edges so they would be spherical. I made sure to cut a tiny bit off the top of one of the halves so they would each stand up without rolling over. Then using a spoon I scooped out a bit of the inside to make room for the filling. For the frosting filling I beat some fresh strawberries into some vanilla buttercream and then folded in some larger pieces. I heaped the filling so when I put the other half on top the whole centre would be full of frosting. I covered the whole ball in a thin layer of vanilla buttercream so that the fondant could be stuck to it. After chilling it in the fridge for 20 minutes I covered the ball in yellow fondant and smoothed it using these which I’ve just discovered! They have totally changed my life. To decorate I made the stripes using white flower paste and placed it on a 5 inch cake board covered in royal icing ‘grass’. To finish I used a purple ribbon so it would look like the signature green and purple of Wimbledon. While it doesn’t compare to last year’s Wimbledon final, cutting into it and seeing the strawberry pink centre was still pretty damn exciting.

This week has been a busy birthday cake making week for me. I’m so excited to share them all with you. First up is this adorable cake for a strawberry loving three year old. I was asked to make it by my sister’s friend from work for her niece. The brief was anything strawberry related, and when I saw this image I knew it would be sweet to make a giant version. The cake was vanilla and filled with a strawberry buttercream and strawberry jam. The best part was making the strawberries. I shaped them by hand using fondant and piped tiny dots on to look like the seeds, then used a flower cutter to make the stalks. I put three on top as it was for her third birthday and chose an extra wide board so I could place the rest around the bottom of the cake.  

Most of you probably think I’m a little nuts for hanging out by an oven today. Yep it’s hot and yes this fact has probably been mentioned in every conversation I’ve had for the past two weeks since it’s been hot. But actually I don’t want to talk about how my skin feels like it’s on fire all day, or how I looked like I’d been for a swim after my Pilates class this week, I want to talk about cookies. These cookies actually. Some might think that chocolate dipped strawberries are a Valentine’s related thing or a let me welcome you to my hotel thing, but in my house chocolate dipped strawberries are a regular feature. My mum makes the best ones using Green & Black’s white chocolate and I can easily consume platefulls at a time. I even used to take trays of them back for my housemates at uni after the weekends. I think everyone likes them because they feel ok about eating them. Sure, it involves chocolate but the fruit is the main part…right? I’m definitely going to apply that thought process to these cookies. To make the cookie version of dipped strawberries I chose this recipe as it used large pieces of fresh strawberries so would be full of flavour. The cookies turned out nice and soft with a slight crunch on the outside. When they had cooled I coated half with the same Green & Black’s white chocolate my mum uses and put them in the fridge to set. These are super easy to make and are a good summer tea time snack especially when they are a little chilled.

There is something special about Wimbledon. Not only do I love watching incredible players gather at SW19 to play some unbelievable tennis, but I also love all the traditions that go along with it. The Pimms, the white clothing and the strawberries and cream. Last year we had a Wimbledon party and I have already made Pimms macarons this summer, but I couldn’t let these amazing two weeks go by without celebrating it in some way. My sister thought that tennis ball macarons would be perfect and I chose to combine them with a strawberries and cream filling to capture a small part of the Wimbledon experience. I began by making the shells which I coloured bright yellow using this yellow colouring paste, with a touch of this lime coloured paste. When they had completely cooled, I piped white icing on to each macaron half  to look like the markings on a tennis ball. After that had set I sandwiched the halves together with the strawberries and cream filling and put them in the fridge. These might be my favourite macarons so far as they almost look like little round tennis balls. They taste light and fresh, and are the perfect treat for some summer-time tennis viewing whether you’re watching from Henman Hill or the sofa.

Strawberries and Cream Macaron Filling

(for approx 30 whole macarons)

250g icing sugar

80g unsalted butter

1 1/2 tbsp double cream

1 huge strawberry or 2 smaller ones

In a mixer beat together the icing sugar, butter and double cream until just combined. Quarter the strawberry and beat in until the filling is smooth but there are still some strawberry pieces visible.

So it was summer for like 5 seconds. Over last weekend’s bank holiday there was actual sun and it was warm. I wasn’t aware that this country was capable of warm anymore so it was a pleasant surprise, and perfect timing too. I mentioned we went to a birthday picnic but after that we went to a BBQ. This BBQ was amazing for many reasons, but one being the Pimms that was served. It was stuffed full of fruit and having not had it in so so long, it tasted even better. Although this weekend we didn’t have a repeat forecast (It rained and I got drenched. Boo) my friend Fiona came to stay and we decided to make macarons and immediately I knew what flavour to make. Pimms has such a great flavour and it’s one of those drinks that doesn’t taste like you’re drinking any alcohol (Dangerous. In a good way.) and reminds me so much of summer and tennis and our garden. For these macarons I began by making the shells using this recipe and had a tough time getting the pimms colour; they ended up a bit pink but I now I know for next time. For the fiilling I made a buttercream, flavoured with neat Pimms and mixed in strawberries, cucumber and mint. When assembling them I added in a large piece of strawberry in the centre which I might not do next time as it made the macarons go softer the next day and ooze strawberry goo. But boy did they taste like Pimms, especially when they were still a little chilled from the fridge. These definitely distracted me from the lack of sunshine and made it feel like summer again for 5 seconds.