Strawberry sponge ‘traycake’

Strawberry sponge traybake

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 ‘traycake’
Makes 12 squares / Hands on time 30 mins  / 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

TIP: This recipe is easily doubled if you fancy making a two tiered cake.

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 mins until light and fluffy. Crack in one of the eggs along with 1 tbs of the self-raising flour and mix with a spoon before whisking for a further 2 mins (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 mins. Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 10 mins 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 mins 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. Store in the fridge in an air-tight container. Consume within 3 days.

Strawberry sponge traybake

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian.

Light & crispy roast potatoes

Light & Crispy Roast Potatoes
Light & Crispy Roast Potatoes
Light & Crispy Roast Potatoes

What’s the deal with the Quaker Oats man? Who is he? Is he an actual real person?
On my way back from the hospital I could see his stupid smug face staring up at me from my shopping bag. ‘What the hell is he so happy about’ I thought. Knob.
On further investigation, I discovered he wasn’t supposed to represent an actual person but in 1909 the ‘Quaker Man’ was identified as William Penn, the 17th-century philosopher and early Quaker, who I thought, bore a striking resemblance to Danny Devito’s Penguin in Batman Returns. That being said, today’s ‘Quaker Man’ doesn’t seem to resemble either William Penn or Penguin, so what the hell?
Jumping forward to 1969, I was surprised to learn that the ‘Quaker Man’ now known as ‘Larry’ by insiders at Quaker Oats, was illustrated by Saul Bass, a famous American graphic designer, known for his iconic poster art and film title sequences. Okay so ‘Quaker Oats Man’ has gone up in my estimation but I still hate him, stupid hat wearing twat. STOP SMILING AT ME!

William Penn & Penguin Man

Anyway, enough about the ‘Quaker Oats Man’, lets talk roasties because Christmas Day is literally this week, AGH! For the first time ever, I’ll be making Christmas dinner, I mean how hard can it be right? If you get the roast potatoes right you can’t go far wrong… Roast potatoes… Shit. I’ve never actually made roast potatoes before. Okay so a little practice was in order but after several attempts, I am now the proud owner, of a roast potato recipe that makes crispy, fluffy roasties without drowning them in oil. I prefer to save my calories for mince pies thank you. Oh, and if you want to know what I’m making for Christmas dinner, then check out my blog on the 23rd of December for a special Christmas post and recipe.

Light & crispy roast potatoes
Serves 4 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 1 hour 10 mins / V Vn Df 
1 kg potatoes (roughly 4 baking potatoes)
1 tsp of rapeseed oil
1 ½ tsp plain flour
Few sprigs of thyme (optional)

1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Cut 4 large baking potatoes into 4 evenly sized pieces (I leave the skins on mine but you can peel them if you prefer). Put in a large saucepan and fill with cold water just covering the potatoes. Season well with salt and bring to the boil before reducing the heat and simmering for 2 minutes
2. Once boiled, pour the potatoes into a colander and give them a good shake to rough them up a bit. Add one and half teaspoons of flour and give them another good shake until evenly covered.
3. Tip out onto a baking tray and drizzle evenly with oil. Give it a toss until well covered. Season well with salt and scatter a few thyme sprigs on top.
5. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes before removing and giving a second shake. Return to the oven and roast for a further 25 minutes, shaking halfway through. Discard the thyme storks and serve as part of a roast dinner.

light & Crispy Roast Potatoes
light & Crispy Roast Potatoes

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V– Vegetarian    Vn– Vegan    Df– Dairy free