Lemon strawberry cake – and a new kitchen

Summer finally seems to have arrived in Scotland! And with it the chance to relax a bit. The past six month have been very busy – we moved house in the beginning of the year, and I now appreciate why they say moving house is one of the most stressful events that can occur throughout your life. Although having moved several times in the past {including between countries}, I found moving with kids and gutting and redecorating the whole house immediately on entry meant the experience was taken to a whole new level!

Living without a kitchen for three weeks was also an experience. Getting a brand new kitchen at the end of the process was definitely worth it though! Just in case you are a tiny bit curious, this is how our kitchen looked for about two months before it got ripped out…
Kitchen_before
We weren’t using any of the drawers or cupboards, which is why everything was piled on top of the counter.

We then had to use this for three weeks..
Kitchen_during_renovation
…while the kitchen looked like this…
Kitchen_gutted

…before finally getting our new kitchen!
New_kitchen

It’s now a pleasure to cook and bake again. One cake I make every summer, usually as a birthday cake as there are a lot of summer birthdays in our family, is this one.
Lemon_strawberry_cake
I usually make it in a round tin, and without lemon curd in the filling, but I thought I’d mix it up a bit when some friends came round recently. The sponge is flavoured with lemon zest and the addition of lemon curd in the filling makes it very fresh. If you don’t want to fill it, the sponge cake is very good on it’s own too.

Lemon Strawberry Cake

Ingredients
2 eggs
250 ml  sugar
300 ml  plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, zest finely grated or 1 tsp vanilla extract
80 butter
225 ml milk

Filling
3-4 tbsp lemon curd
300 ml whipping or double cream
1 punnet of strawberries
possibly a little bit of icing sugar

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 175 degrees and prepare the cake tin.
2) Whisk eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Gently mix in flour, baking powder and grated lemon zest (or vanilla extract if using)
4) Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the milk and once hot pour over the batter. Gently stir until smooth.
5) Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 30 mins, until golden and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
6) Once cool, slice the cake into two or three layers and whip the cream.
7) Spread each of the layers (apart from the top one) with lemon curd, then add whipped cream and top with sliced strawberries. For the top of the cake, either spread it with the remaining cream or lightly dust with icing sugar and decorate with whole or halved strawberries.

Lemon_strawberry_cake2

Little strawberry and marzipan cakes

As mentioned a while ago, there are a lot of summer birthdays in my family. I never had a chance to make my hubby a cake on his birthday, but I made these little cakes the following weekend instead.
Little strawberry and marzipan cakes
When making the pirate cake for my son, I had opened a packet of marzipan instead of icing by mistake. Not wanting to waste the marzipan, I made little strawberry cakes wrapped in marzipan – inspired by the traditional Swedish Princess cake {which I made last year for my son’s birthday}. Very simple but pretty little cakes!
Mini strawberry and marzipan cakes
Little strawberry and marzipan cakes

Ingredients
3 eggs
200 ml sugar
2 tbsp water
200 ml flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
200 ml whipping cream
100 ml custard (ready made or from powder)
1 tbsp strawberry jam
strawberries to decorate, 1-2 per cake
about 250g marzipan + a few drops of red food colouring  (enough for 4 cakes, use more if making more cakes)

Method
1) Preheat the oven to 200C and line a deep baking tray or large roasting tin with greaseproof paper.
2) Beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Add the water, flour and baking powder and gently combine.
4) Pour onto the baking tray and bake for about 5 mins or until golden.
5) Leave to cool, then cut out circles with a cookie cutter or a glass, about 5 cm / 2 inches wide. You’ll need three discs for each cake.
6) Whip the cream, and mix about a third of it with them custard.
7) Spread the bottom layer of the cake with the jam and then add some custard cream on top.
8) Add the middle cake layer and spread it with whipped cream before adding the top layer and a final thin layer of cream.
9) Add the food colouring to the marzipan and knead it until it’s evenly coloured. Roll out the marzipan until a few millimeters thick.
10) Measure how high the cake is and cut out a ribbon of marzipan the same height and wrap around the cake. Trim off any excess. Repeat for all the cakes.
11) Slice the strawberries and decorate the cakes.