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Posts Tagged ‘berries’

For the last few family birthday gatherings I’ve been baking the birthday cakes just for fun.  I like to bake, but it’s always too much cake to eat at home.  So occasions like this are perfect to share the cal…the goodness.  And generally the family are willing to try my experiments, however badly they may turn out haha.

Since we were going to have a full Chinese dinner, I decided something light and fruity would be good.  The berries this season are exceptionally sweet, so they were a natural choice.  Instead of a triple layer cake, I stuck to a two-layer cake.  And I searched for an alternative sponge cake recipe, because the one I used to use has been falling out of favour with me because I find it too sweet.  I also searched for a less-sweet frosting recipe because I really, really, don’t like sweet frosting.  I’m the kind that will sweep away all the icing on a cupcake because it’s usually just too cloyingly sweet.  It’s really wasted on me.

After some researching, I decided on a Victoria sponge recipe, and found a cooked frosting recipe to try.  I generally try to find recipes that aren’t too complicated and that do not need too many ingredients.  The Victoria sponge turned out pretty well, though I think I can still cut back on some sugar.  I added lemon to give it a zesty boost to complement the berries.  The frosting was also less-sweet than regular icing as promised, but again, I think I can cut back on the sugar.  Why are these things so sweet??  I added cinnamon to the recipe too as cinnamon and berries just go so well together.

My little helper grating the zest

My little helper grating the zest

Folding in the flour

Folding in the flour

Assembly was easy.  I wanted to do the ‘unfinished’ look, so cake, frosting, berries, cake, frosting, berries, and I was done!  And the best part, it looked so beautiful because of the berries!  I was very happy when everyone, including the service staff at the restaurant, thought we had bought the cake.  And it was no effort on my part really.  The prettiness of the berries just brought the cake to another level.

Berry cake

The cake tasted good after a heavy meal.  It was light as intended, not too sweet (though in my opinion still can be less sweet.  But I’m a savory person, really), and was pretty as ever.

Here’re the recipes I used, adapted from here and here.

Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake

Ingredients:
225g self-raising flour, sieved
225g butter, at room temperature
225g extra fine caster sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
2. Cream butter and sugar together until smooth and fluffy
3. Add eggs and juice to the bowl and whisk some more
4. Fold in the flour, baking powder and lemon zest
5. Pour into 2 round tins
6. Bake in the oven until golden brown for 20-25 minutes
7. Cool on a wire rack before decorating

 
Less-Sweet Cinnamon Cooked Frosting

Ingredients:
1 cup milk
3 tbsp corn starch
200g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter*
100g vegetable shortening*
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-4 tsp ground cinnamon (depending on how strong you like it to be)

* You can use all butter for more flavour, or more shortening for more stiffness (good for warm weather).  I did 50/50 to get the best of both worlds.

Method:
1. In a saucepan, mix the milk and cornstarch and heat while stirring until the mixture thickens into a paste-like consistency.  Cool to room temperature.
2.  Cream the sugar, butter and salt together.  Add the vanilla, cinnamon and cooled milk paste then beat until the mixture is smooth and light.  The frosting is ready for use!

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