Strawberry and almond cake

I am so excited to share this recipe. It is one of my favourite cakes to make and eat. Somehow every time I make this, it cheers me up and makes me feel lighter and happier emotionally. Usually shared with friends over a coffee and a chat in the garden, but I’ll take what we can right now and tomorrow we will head to the park and pack this in our snack boxes. We haven’t ventured the parks or playgrounds in a couple of months so this will be a real treat.

This cake is fluffy and light and super moist and creamy and the almonds on the top add such a great texture. This is one of those cakes that you can make and eat tucked up on the sofa, enjoy on a picnic or served to guests at a dinner party. It is so versatile and always enjoyed by everyone.

These days I have a LOT of fruit in the fridge. My son adores all fruits so I always have good stock of it, and at the moment usually an over stock of his favourite items such as strawberries. I refuse to waste food. Either I chop it up and pop it into the freezer or I bake and cook with it, Even if we don’t actually eat all of the food made, I’d rather have tried making something and not eaten all of it then throwing away untouched produce. This morning I woke up to find a full punnet of strawberries just simply not looking their best, what better way to use them up than in a cake! The sun is shining (for the next 5 minutes anyway) and tomorrow we will see Alexander’s best friend in the park for Alex’s mini 5th birthday celebration. I feel so terrible that he has now missed two birthdays due to full lockdowns that I need to brave the world and allow him a play date in the playground for the first time since last year.

STRAWBERRY AND ALMOND CAKE

  • 110 g of unsalted butter at room temp
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 70 g Demerara sugar
  • 3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 235 g self raising flour
  • 55 g ground almonds
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 heaped tablespoons of thick Greek yogurt
  • 250 g strawberries, tops removed and sliced (before weighing)
  • 40 g flaked/sliced almonds

THE HOW

Heat the oven to 180°C (fan oven) and line an 8.5 inch cake tin with baking paper.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and 2 sugars together until well mixed and slightly creamier looking. I find that creaming Demerara and butter together, it doesn’t really lighten and go creamy until you add the oil.

Add the sunflower oil and beat until smooth, light and fluffy.

Next and 1 egg and beat well. With a spatula, scrape down the sides to ensure thorough mixing.

Add in the next egg, the vanilla and almond extracts and grated lemon zest and beat again until creamy.

In a small bowl, sieve the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. I always sieve my flour twice once when I am weighing it and then when I am adding it to my cake batter. This adds more air and volume to the cake.

Sieve about half of the flour mix into the large bowl and mix on gentle speed until it is fully incorporated.

Then add 2 heaped tbsp of the Greek yogurt and gently beat again.

Next sieve the remaining flour mix in and mix until fully incorporated again. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again

Add the final heaped tbsp of Greek yogurt and mix.

The batter should NOT be of a dropping consistency. The strawberries add more moisture to the cake when mixed and cooked so the batter needs to start on a slightly firmer side.

Fold in about 220 g of the sliced strawberries (leaving a few for the top) and spoon the batter into the prepared tin. Roughly smooth it down.

Top with the remaining few sliced strawberries and then the flaked/sliced almonds.

Bake for 40 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer and if it comes out clean then you can remove the cake from the oven and cool in the tin.

After about 10 minutes, I remove from the tin and allow to cool fully before dusting with icing and slicing.

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