Miss Two and I have started planning her upcoming (November) birthday party. Well, ok, I have been planning her party, and every now and then she throws me a bone and helps with a detail or two. Like the theme. Now, normally, you'd think that would be the most important decision in planning a child's birthday party. The essential, first thing, that everything else hinges on. Yes, it is. Of course, it's not terribly helpful when your two and a half year old little girl, when asked what sort of party she'd like for her birthday says simply "blue". I tried offering other themes, Dora, circus, cooking, rainbow, but nothing would sway her. Blue it is, and blue it is staying.
Lots of cupcakes - yum!
Fine, that makes decorations easy. And food too, since a quick google for 'blue food party' came up with many people complaining that the food prepared with copious amounts of food dye for their blue themed parties went mostly untouched. There is no true blue coloured food in nature, be honest, anything called a blue food is really purple with another name, and so the brain just can't trust a blue food. So I don't have to theme the food. Just the games, and a flash of inspiration drawn from Master 8-Week-Old's Baby Sesame bottle led me to Pin the Cookie on the Cookie Monster.
But what about the cake? Of course I could just make any plain vanilla cake and add food dye, but I was pretty sure she'd want blue icing, and there is such a thing as food dye overload. So I did the simple thing, and asked her. The response was deceptively simple. She wants a strawberry cake with blue icing (see, I told you). Now, the icing I can deal with when the time comes, but a quick search of the net revealed that strawberry isn't that common a flavour for a cake. There were strawberry 'poke' cakes (made by pouring unset jelly over a just baked cake with holes poked in it then refrigerated) and people adding a packet of jelly crystals to a boxed white cake mix (which I may try some other time), but no real strawberry cake recipes from scratch. So I put out the call for help on the forums at Taste.com.au and Queenie shared this with me. Of course, we had to try it out to make sure it was good before her party, but as we don't really eat a lot of cake, so cupcakes it was.
See? He's blue!
Strawberry Cake - from Cooking a Fairytale
for 25-28cm baking pan
baking time = 50minutes @ 180C
suitable for freezing
5 egg whites
3 cups SR flour
2 cups caster sugar
1 cup strawberry flavoured yoghurt
2/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp strawberry essence
a few drops of red food colouring
Place all ingredients in the mixer bowl and beat for 4 minutes, to form a smooth, fluffy, homogeneous mixture.(Try and keep the mixture in the bowl as much as possible)
Transfer mixture to a well buttered and floured baking pan and bake the cake at 180C for 45-50minutes.
Can you pick where Miss Two was sitting?
We're going to have to keep looking for another strawberry cake recipe I'm afraid. This was a lovely, light cake, but the flavour was a lot more subtle than I was hoping for - I wanted the strawberry to really stand out. However, these are really great cakes. I've already eaten far more of them than I should have, they are so more-ish, and because they are so light it's hard to stop at one. Thankfully, I've put the rest in the freezer, wrapped in sets of two, in foil, so I can pull them out on days we'll be in the car or away from home at afternoon tea time, or for when we run out of snacks and haven't been shopping yet.
Look how pink this mix is!
So, does anyone have a good strawberry cake recipe? I'm open to all suggestions, but I'm really not looking to make a poke cake, as I'm not sure how that would go with icing. Please leave comments, I'd really like to hear from you all on this.