It just would not be summer without a trip to the seaside. Add just a hint of the beach by serving these bite sized British strawberries, dipped in dark glossy chocolate flavoured with just a hint of orange over a bed of crushed biscuit crumbs or press the mixture into mini buckets or dariole tins for a fun take on a sandcastle.
British strawberries just encapsulate summer. Gently cooking fresh strawberries with dried hibiscus flowers, a little chilli and fructose sugar in a sealed bowl over hot water brings out and captures the very essence of summer. Keep the nectar in the fridge or even the freezer and serve ice cold in shot glasses or topped up with prosecco or champagne for a kir style cocktail.
These fab sandwiches in true Alice in Wonderland style are not all that they seem.
While they may look like white bread spread with butter and filled with salad they are actually made with thinly sliced white chocolate cake topped with delicious olive oil white chocolate ganache flavoured with just a hint of chamomile tea, a thin layer of chocolate ‘grass’, fresh British strawberries, mint leaves and strawberry jam pepped up with black pepper and orange blossom water.
White Chocolate Cake
100g/31/2oz good quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
100g/31/2oz plain flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of fine salt
85g/3 oz butter, at room temperature
100g/31/2 oz caster sugar
1 medium eges
85g/3oz soured cream
1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways and seeds scraped out of the pod
White Chocolate, Olive Oil and Chamomile Ganache
3 tablespoons whipping cream
11/2 tablespoon light olive oil
2 teaspoons runny honey
Pinch of salt
1 chamomile tea bag
100 g/31/2 oz pack good quality white chocolate, finely chopped
White Chocolate ‘grass’
200g/7 oz good quality white chocolate, broken into pieces
1 teaspoon powdered wheatgrass
100g/31/2oz strawberry jam
Large pinch roughly crushed black peppercorns
1 teaspoon light olive oil
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
200g/7oz small British strawberries, hulled, thinly sliced crossways
15g/1/2 oz pack fresh mint, leaves torn from the stems
To make the cake
Preheat the oven to 180oC/160oC fan assisted/Gas Mark 4.
Cut a large piece of non-stick baking paper a little larger than a 30 x 20 x 5cm/12 x 8 x 2inch shallow cake tin or a roasting tin with the same base measurement.
Snip diagonally into the corners then press the paper into the tin so that the base and sides are lined with paper.
Add the chocolate to a bowl, set over a saucepan of gently simmering water and leave until melted.
Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides from time to time until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg then the soured cream and vanilla until smooth.
Gradually mix in the flour then fold in the melted chocolate.
Spoon the mixture into the lined tin and spread into an even layer.
Bake for 17-20 minutes until pale golden on the top and the cake springs back when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
Leave to cool in the tin.
To make the Ganache
Add the cream, oil, honey and salt to a small saucepan.
Snip the top off the teabag and add the tea to the pan, bring just to the boil take off the heat and leave to infuse for 5 minutes.
Add the chocolate to a bowl, bring the cream mixture back to the boil then pour through a fine sieve over the chocolate.
Stir until the chocolate has melted.
Cover with clingfilm and chill well in the fridge until thick enough to spread.
For the White Chocolate ‘grass
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water as before.
Stir in the wheatgrass powder.
Spread over a large sheet of non-stick baking paper or sheet of acetate set on a baking sheet until a rectangle a little larger than the size of the cake tin.
Stick the edges of the paper or acetate to the baking tin with a little melted chocolate to stop it curling.
Chill in the fridge.
For the Jam
Mix all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge.
When ready to assemble the sandwiches
Lift the cake from the tin, peel away the paper then cut into 3 thin 30cm/10 inch strips.
Cut a very thin slice from the top, bottom and sides of the cake to remove the brown crust.
Cut each strip into 5 squares then each square into 2 triangles.
Spread half the triangles with the chilled ganache.
Trim the edges of the white chocolate ‘grass’ with a hot knife then cut into triangles the same size as the cake, wiping and warming the knife to make cutting easier.
Lift chocolate triangles onto the cake triangles with a palette knife.
Top with the sliced strawberries and mint leaves.
Spread the remaining cake triangles with the jam and add these jam side downwards.
Arrange on non-stick baking paper, wrap and tie with string to resemble a savoury sandwich and chill in the fridge until ready to serve or up to 2 hours.
The cake, ganache and white chocolate ’grass’ can all be prepped the night before.
Wrap the cake in clingfilm still on the baking paper to stop it drying out.
White chocolate can also be coloured with a little finely ground green tea leaves.
My second born sons birthday is in a fortnights time so our cake making winter fun usually starts then, carries on throughout Christmas and finishes in the New Year, (or at least I try to ease off then!) We always try new recipes which we have found throughout the year. Hoping to perfect them ready for Santa. We love to try out fun recipes, cake topping, new cooking trays or cookie cutters that we have spotted in the shops to see who can come up with the best looking cakes in the party season.
Last week I was invited to take part in a fun baking challenge from find me a gift, to review one of these lovely Heart Cake Mould. Also I get to enter my cake creation into the draw, which one blogger will win a bundle of kitchen goodies worth £100.
Bring back childhood memories of jelly and custard with these fun looking two tone jellies, a clear fresh tasting strawberry jelly flavoured with cranberry and raspberry juice then topped with a second creamy custard layer.
Everyone loves profiteroles but why not try adding a little summery fruity freshness with sliced strawberries and crumbled raspberry cream then drizzle with warm chocolate sauce or a fresh berry sauce – see Cook’s Tip.
It’s got the wow factor : This tart is definitely dressed to impress, with a crumbly buttery tart case spread with melted chocolate then filled with homemade crème patissiere and the very best of British strawberries, glistening with strawberry jelly – what’s not to like?