I’m feeling for my colleagues this week who are busy dealing with the fallout from the conflict in Libya. I must admit to be itching to know what is going on at work, who is deployed where and what clients we are working with. It is always an interesting job; it is at its most interesting during times of crisis, but also, obviously at its most stressful. Despite the worry about leaving my baby boy (and the logistics of breast feeding and the potential Dolly Parton outcome), I am looking forward to the Offshore Europe Conference I’m going back to work for (temporarily) in a couple of weeks time. (If any of you are interested in what is going on in Libya right now, my colleagues are producing a free report on Libya which you can access here - Weekly Libya Report)
Back on the mum front, I’ve had a different kind of stress with my eldest daughter starting pre-school nursery. On the whole that has gone very well and she seems to love it. I have had a rather nice week which started last Sunday when I spent the afternoon with my bestest bud, her wee girl and my brood making cakes and cheese straws. I am also happy to report my first venture out alone with all three of my little darlings to the Duthie Park. I managed fine and it was nice to prove to myself that despite the general chaos, things are good and fun and I can do it! I have also had a successful week developing recipes which I’ll share in the coming weeks. So, all in all a happy Clairey!
Last week I gave you a recipe using lovely summer peaches and this week’s recipe includes scrummy strawberries by way of my ...
Strawberry Party Cakes
As promised, here is the recipe for these summer beauties! These are smaller than the now rather large cup cakes that I too am guilty of making (they look so pretty), and more akin to the fairy cakes I remember as a child. (I call them party cakes to avoid having to cut the tops off and make the little fairies – lazy I know). I think they are a much better size for my little ones and the fruity toping makes me feel less guilty about their cake consumption too!
I can take no credit for the sponge recipe which is from a book by Rose Prince called Kitchenella. It is a fabulous recipe and can be made not only into these little party cakes, but also into a splendid sandwich sponge and also a loaf cake.
Back to the wee party cakes, for which this recipe makes approximately 36 - so great for catering for parties or playdates. They can also be frozen before being decorated.
My twist is the strawberry topping which we love and hope you do too.
280g Softened Unsalted Butter
280g Caster Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Essence
280g Self-raising Flour
2 Tablespoons Ground Almonds
250g Icing Sugar
Around 15 Strawberries
Small carton Whipping/Double Cream
Small Bar of White Chocolate
Heat your oven to 180 oC (160 oC fan) and place the fairy cake cases into bun trays (you may have to do this in batches, like I do, due to the number of cakes this recipe makes).
Cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time together with a teaspoon of the flour. Add the vanilla essence, and then fold in the remaining flour and the ground almonds.
Spoon the mixture evenly between the paper cases and bake for 10 minutes.
To make the icing, blitz five or six of the strawberries with a hand blender and push the puree through a sieve to remove any of the larger seeds.
Sieve the icing sugar into a separate bowl and add the strawberry puree until you get the right consistency – thicker than a glace ice, but not too thick.
Once the cakes have cooled you can ice them and grate over a little of the white chocolate. You can leave them like that (I always leave about half like this as my eldest will not eat an actual strawberry) or for an extra special little cake, I do this...
Whip the cream, adding a little icing sugar to sweeten it and chop the remaining strawberries into quarters.
Once the icing is set, put a dollop of the cream on the top of each cake and top with a bit of strawberry. (Do this on the day you are eating them as obviously, they won’t keep well like this)
(I have often used this sponge recipe for a sandwich cake and would highly recommend it for this purpose too).
My girls and their big cousin Finlay
one of my gorgeous girls