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SUNDAY MAGAZINE RECIPE: strawberry and black pepper cake with honey cream cheese icing

strawberry and black pepper cake with honey cream cheese icing

I love the comforting taste of baked strawberries which, for me, are the fruit that epitomise summer.

The hint of black pepper in this cake is subtle, but offers unusual warmth and elevates this recipe to another level of sophistication. 

serves 12

For the cake:
200g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
4 organic eggs 
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g ground almonds
50g buckwheat flour (or any preferred flour)
generous pinch freshly ground black pepper 
200g strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered

Filling:
3 tbsp good quality strawberry jam 

Icing:
300g cream cheese
juice of ½ lemon 
3 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract 

Decoration:
Fresh As freeze-dried strawberry slices, crushed between dry fingers
fresh flowers (optional)

Preheat oven to 170ºC fan bake. Line 2 x 22cm cake tins with baking paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Gradually fold in the ground almonds, flour and pepper. Evenly divide the batter between 2 tins. Dot with strawberry quarters.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes. The cakes are ready when golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool for around 10 minutes before turning onto a rack.

Meanwhile, make honey cream cheese icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until perfectly smooth, then add remaining ingredients. Beat until combined.

Once the cakes are cool, spread strawberry jam onto one layer and place the other layer on top. Ice the top of the cake. Decorate as desired. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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This recipe was originally published in the Sunday Star Times.

Photography: Emma Boyd