Strawberry Polka Dot Cake

I made another cake for a 2 year old this week – needless to say, it was lots of fun! Kid’s cakes are wonderful!!

So, the recipe comes from here, and the deal was, essentially make it as it is, and how it looks, but make it strawberry – no rhubarb. So that’s what I did! (Although I used a different butter cake recipe…)

 

Strawberry Cake

500g unsalted butter, softened

3 tsp vanilla

2 1/2 cups (550g) caster sugar

6 eggs at room temperature

4 1/2 cups (670g) self-raising flour

1 1/2 cups (360ml) milk

500g fresh or frozen strawberries, hulled and quartered

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180C or 160C if you’re oven is fan forced.
  2. Line the base of 3 17cm springform tins with baking paper or line the whole tin with foil.
  3. Beat butter in an electric mixer until smooth, then add caster sugar and vanilla and beat until light and creamy.
  4. Beat the eggs into the butter mixture, one at a time.
  5. Then add the flour alternately with the milk (ie. a bit of flour, then a bit of milk etc.)
  6. Spread into pan and top with strawberries. Bake for about an hour. But I recommend checking on the cake at 45 or 50 minutes and just keep cooking until the top of the cake is springy and a skewer comes out clean.
  7. Leave it to cool in the tin for about 5 or 10 minutes before turning it out – this gives the cake time to cool down a bit, which helps the shape settle, and makes the cake a lot less fragile and easier to handle.

 

Strawberry Filling

200g strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 tbls sugar
200g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
  1. Place strawberries and sugar in a small saucepan or fry pan over low heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
  2. Reduce heat as much as you can and simmer until strawberries are very soft, about 5-10 minutes. Then mash them a bit just with a wooden spoon. Set aside to cool to room temp.
  3. Beat butter with an  electric mixer until smooth.
  4. Add the strawberries and icing sugar alternately, and combine slowly until you have a smooth icing consistency. Set aside.

Buttercream Icing

450g butter, softened
about 700g icing sugar
About 1/4 cup milk, depending on texture
1 tsp vanilla extract
Variety of food colourings – whatever colours you like!
  1. Beat butter in an electric mixer until smooth and pale.
  2. Gradually add the icing sugar, milk and vanilla until combined. Increase speed and beat until pale and fluffy. (Add more milk or icing sugar depending on the texture – you want it to be solid enough to hold its shape but soft enough to pipe.) Set aside.

 

Assembly

It’s always easiest to work with cakes that are semi-frozen or at least chilled, because they won’t be as fragile! So if you can, refrigerate the cakes overnight or freeze them and work on them when they’re still cold.

  1. Trim the cakes if necessary – they will all be stacked, so it’s always good if each layer of the stack is the same height as the other layers. To trim, take a solid bread/serrated knife and starting on one side, slice your way around the cake, turning it as you go. It’s a good idea to quickly run your knife around the cake just to mark it so you know where you want to cut and don’t end up with a hugely lopsided cake! Discard any left over bits of cake – or, turn them into another cake!! See my post about that here.
  2. Place the bottom layer of the cake on a board – it doesn’t have to be the final presentation board, but just something to work on – cake boards are useful! Top this layer with some of the strawberry filling, spreading it evenly around the top of the cake. Place the next layer on top of that one – make sure it’s lined up nicely, then top that with the strawberry filling. Repeat with the final layer and then crumb coat** the cake with the remaining strawberry filling.
  3. Leave the cake to set in the fridge for a few hours – otherwise the icing and filling will mix and you won’t get a nice perfect buttercream finish.
  4. After a few hours, bring the cake out of the fridge again and coat it with the buttercream. It’s always easiest to start with the sides, then move to the top of the cake. Also, use and offset spatular (because they’re amazing!) and have a mug of warm water nearby so you can manipulate the icing more easily.
  5. Once you’ve covered the cake in buttercream, divide the remaining icing into small bowls and add the food colouring – one colour per bowl. Place each colour in a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle. If you have lots of piping bags, then fill each with a different colour as it will save you a lot of time and hassle!
  6. Pipe coloured dots all over the cake or in whatever pattern you like. Make sure the icing is still a good consistency to work with – sometimes adding a little bit of colour can make the icing too sloppy so it won’t pipe well. If that happens, then add more icing sugar as needed.
  7. I started with one colour, did as many dots as I wanted, then moved onto the next colour, so that I could reuse the bags with as little fuss as possible so it looks like this:

 

** crumb coating is a neat little trick to prevent any cake crumbs from showing through the final layer of icing. Use a thin layer of icing and ice all around the cake, trapping any lose crumbs as you go, then set aside so the icing can set and then do your final layer of icing – if the crumb coat has worked then you won’t get any pesky crumbs poking through your otherwise flawless icing!

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