mini strawberry cakes


At the beginning of the year I made a list of things I'd like to bake in 2021 but as I keep adding to the list, there's no way I'll ever complete my list by year's end.

These mini strawberry cakes from Sweet by Ottolenghi and Helen Goh were on the list. As we're in the midst of strawberry season here in Sydney their time had come and not even a power shut down could stop me. I just made the cake batter with a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. 

The cakes are made from a classic almond butter cake batter studded with strawberry pieces. The mini cakes were originally topped with a strawberry flavoured glace icing but I wanted to go with a strawberry and cream vibe so I swapped out the icing for a vanilla bean flecked cream cheese icing. 
I decorated the cakes with my DIY St Honore piping tip. A St Honore piping tip was on my list of things to buy during last year's abandoned trip to Paris. At the moment you can only buy a St Honore piping tip online but I baulked at the delivery price quoted so I made one myself. I found an unused plastic piping tip and hacked away at it with a box cutter and a pair of sharp scissors. It seemed to do the trick.

The recipe I used was adapted from one in Sweet which is much the same as this Helen Goh recipe. In autumn Helen suggests swapping the strawberries for plums and changing the lemon zest to orange.

Here's the recipe for you which makes 6 small cakes. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60 g eggs. My oven is a conventional oven so if you have a fan-forced oven you may need to reduce the temperature by 20°C.
Mini strawberry cakesmakes 6  
60g self-raising flour 
¼ tsp sea salt flakes
70g almond meal
125g unsalted butter at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
125g caster sugar
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs at room temperature
100g strawberries, washed, hulled and cut into 1 cm dice
150g cream cheese, at room temperature 
100g icing sugar, sifted 
60ml thickened cream 
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste 
3 strawberries, halved lengthwise
Preheat the oven to 180ºC conventional. Grease, flour and line the bases of 6 Texas muffin tins with baking paper.
Sift the flour into a bowl and then stir in the salt and the almond meal. Set to one side.

Place the butter, sugar, lemon rind and vanilla in a large bowl and beat with a wooden spoon or hand mixer until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing. Don’t worry if it looks a little curdled at this stage, it will come together again later.

Add the sifted dry ingredients in three batches. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a flexible spatula to make sure the batter is evenly mixed. If the batter looks a little stiff add a tablespoon of milk or yoghurt to loosen the batter. Gently fold in the diced strawberries.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared tins, levelling the tops with a small metal spatula or spoon to ensure they are smooth and even. The batter should come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the tin. 

Place the muffin tin on the middle shelf of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Remove the tin from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes before easing the cakes out of the moulds with a small knife or an offset spatula. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before icing.

Place the cream cheese into a small bowl and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed until smooth – about a minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the icing sugar, cream and vanilla paste. Mix just until combined, then increase the speed and continue to beat until soft waves form. Return the icing to the fridge for 30 minutes to firm before spooning or piping onto the tops of the cakes.

Place the halved strawberries on top of each mini cake, pressing just lightly to embed them into the icing. Any leftovers will keep, refrigerated, for up to two days.

As you'd expect from a Helen Goh/Ottolenghi recipe, these cakes were absolutely delicious. I'll definitely make the cakes again but just to let you know, the cakes are quite dense. If you'd like them to be a bit more sponge like, I would increase the quantity of flour to 100g and reduce the quantity of almond meal to 30g and then I think they'd be absolutely perfect!

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.
Bye for now,


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