This week I’ve been craving those little strawberry Tom and Jerry cakes, Remember those? Anyone born before 1984 in Britain should, but if you don’t, allow me to enlighten you. They were small, strawberry flavoured fairy cakes topped with strawberry icing and sugar-paper illustrations of Tom, Jerry and friends. They were deliciously artificial and came in a box ready for you to just add water. Sickly sweet and with a bright pink sponge, these tiny cakes featured in many a party bag in my youth and go hand-in-hand with other ‘wrong’ foods of the ’90s, such as Push Pops, Micro chips and Squeezit’s.
That being said, I’ve had a real hankering for them, so I’ve made a slightly more acceptable ‘grown-up’ version with real strawberry icing. They’re not quite the same, but perhaps that’s no bad thing, as I’m pretty sure the original mix wouldn’t even be classified as food today.
Strawberry sponge traybake
Makes 12 squares / Hands on time / Total time 50 mins + cooling / V
You’ll need: 25cm square cake tin, electric whisk and a food processor
110g soft unsalted butter + extra for greasing
110g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
110g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
Handful fresh strawberries, stalks removed and blended
50g unsalted butter
100g icing sugar
6 fresh strawberries, sliced to decorate
1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F/gas mark 4 and grease a 25cm square tin with butter. Line the bottom of the tin with baking paper and put to one side.
2. Measure out the self-raising flour in a small bowl and put to one side. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric whisk, cream the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Crack in one of the eggs along with 1 tbs spoon of the self-raising flour and mix with a spoon before whisking for a further couple of minutes – adding flour prevents the mixture from curdling and mixing it with a spoon stops flour going everywhere. Once incorporated, add the second egg along with another tbs of the self-raising flour and repeat the process, although this time add the vanilla extract.
3. Add half a tsp of baking powder to the remaining self-raising flour and fold into the mixture using a wooden spoon, being careful not to overwork the batter. Spoon into the tin and spread the mixture out evenly using the back of a spoon to push it to the edges and smooth the surface. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once baked leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
4. Once the cake has cooled completely, make the icing by blending a handful of strawberries in a blender. In a small bowl whisk the butter until light and fluffy with an electric whisk for a couple of miutes before adding 2 tbs of the pureed strawberries and 100g of icing sugar. Mix carefully with a spoon (to prevent icing flying everywhere) before whisking with an electric whisk until you have a light fluffy icing.
5. Spread the icing over the cake evenly and leave to set for 20 minutes before decorating with slices of fresh strawberries. Cut in to squares and serve immediately.
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V – Vegetarian