Strawberry Tea

Summer!  A time for BBQs, sunshine into the lazy evenings, drinks on terraces and trips to the beach.  But not necessarily a time for afternoon tea.  In my opinion, tea and cake (pleasant as that combo may be) really belongs to the more blustery days of autumn and winter.  But sometimes on a June afternoon (and in my case rather too often if truth be told) rather than that cooling glass of lemonade or sticky ice lolly, I crave a coffee and slice of something sweet.  And it is also true that friends come round for tea even in the summer.

These occasions call for a cake that’s a bit different to something you may wish for on an autumn day- something lighter and more pillowy but still has a decent crumb.  Above all it needs to be packed with plenty of seasonal fruit.  This berry cake is just the ticket for a summer’s afternoon tea.  I’ve added apricots too, which add a bit of tart sweetness.  You could top this with a dusting of icing sugar or maybe some toasted flaked almonds, but I find that a dollop of creme fraiche is all I need.  Serve with pots and pots of tea or coffee. 

Strawberry and Apricot Cake

You will need:

85g unsalted butter, plus a bit extra, softened
200g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
150g caster sugar, plus extra
1 large egg, beaten
240ml milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g strawberries and apricots, hulled and halved

Method:
 

1. Preheat oven to 170 C and grease a 20cm cake tin (ideally with a loose bottom) with the extra butter.  Dust with a little sugar.   In a bowl, toss the fruit in a little extra sugar to coat and set aside.

2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium sized bowl.  Beat the butter and 150g of sugar until light in colour and fluffy.  Use electric beaters if you prefer!  Gradually add the milk, egg and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture.

3. Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake tin.  Working quickly, lightly press the sugar-coated the fruit into the cake.

4.  Bake until cake is golden brown and coming away from the sides of the tin, approx 1 hour.  Leave to cool slightly before removing from the tin and transferring to a wire rack to continue cooling.  Serve warmish or a room temp. 

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