Monday, March 22, 2010

Mini Strawberry and Cream Pound Cakes

I loooovvvveeee Alice in Wonderland, I am addicted to the book and as it turns out loved the new Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland! I was very happy that it contained Lewis Carrols classic ideas. One in particular that I always loved, is the cake that makes Alice grow so big that she becomes stuck in the hall of doors. I always loved the little “EAT ME” cakes, and after seeing them in 3D I was I was  inspired to bake a miniature layer cake, something that Alice would find once she had fallen down the rabbit hole.... or this was the plan.

I did not really realise how fiddly this would be. I started off with the intention of making Petit Fours- however as it turns out, the icing is a tricky thing to master. Not only that I decided it was time to get rid of my old piping kit and get something a little more fancy with a proper piping bag and tips, but once again I discovered that my piping skills were not as good as I once thought they were. All in all my original idea of making cute dainty petit fours with the words “eat me” elegantly piped on the top turned out to be something close to a disaster! So I just decided to make to something that I knew would not turn out to be a mess of pink icing and kitchen frustration- little strawberry and cream pound cakes. Phewww crisis averted!

The not so elegant piping skills

I just used a simple pound cake recipe, the reason being is that it is slightly denser than a sponge as it has a tighter crumb, which makes it easier to cut and decorate. The icing for Petit Fours is basically a poured fondant- I found that while easy to make it was hard to decorate the cakes with the perfect amount of icing so that you had a lovely thin layer of sweet fondant without overpowering the whole thing with sugary goodness. I think I will have to practice, practice practice, because my first attempt was not as sucessful as I hoped, but one way or another I am determined to master these delicate French cakes!!

The pound cake was baked in a jelly roll tray- which is just a cookie with sides, this helped to get a cake which could be sliced in half to get the thin layers. Also it is important when baking to have all of the ingredients at room temperature- if you use eggs straight out of the fridge just put them in some warmish water for a couple of minutes.

Normally you would slice fresh strawberries to put with the jam and cream in between the layers, however because they were so small and the layers were thin I just used a thin layer of strawberry jam (store bought of course- I think this makes everyone’s life much much easier!!) and covered the whole thing with freshly whipped cream. All in all my afternoon of baking was not a successful as I had hoped. Oh well what’s a few kitchen mishaps? I am sure we all have had them…. I hope anyway! I promise next time I will have something that I would be proud to serve at afternoon tea!

3 tablespoons of full cream milk at room temperature

3 extra-large eggs, room temperature

1 3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour- can get this in the flour aisle of a supermarket

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

14 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup of jam warmed
1 cup of full fat cream whipped

Strawberries or candy silver balls to decorate

Preheat oven to 175 Degrees Celsius, and line a jelly roll ray with baking paper- have the paper protruding out the side of the tray as this will help you to lift the cake out of the tray.

In a bowl mix together the milk, eggs and vanilla
In a spate bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, then using an electric beater mix in the butter and half of the egg mixture. Beat for 1 minute on a medium speed. Then add the remaining mixture in 2 batches scraping down the bowl each time. Beat for a another 30 seconds after adding the final egg mixture.

Pour into the prepared tray and bake until a skewer comes out clean (keep an eye on how the cake is cooking as it will depend on how deep the tray you use is- mine took about 20 minutes)

Once the cake is done, cool in the tray then turn out onto a wire rack.

Once completely cool carefully the ends of the cake to that you are left with a neat rectangle. Then cut the cake lengthways in half- this is the tricky part just cut slowly ensuring that the knife is level the whole time. The cut each half in half again so that you have 4 thin layers of cake

Then spread a thin layer of the warmed jam onto 2 of the cake quarters. You do not need a lot of jam and you should be able to see the cake through the jam.

Next stack the layers on top of each other, alternating between cake and jam until you have four layers (I only ended up with 3 as my knife nicked the corner my other quarter, it ended up as collateral damage)

Put the cake in the fridge for 1 or 2 hours, this will help the jam to set- ensure it is tightly covered with cling wrap so that it does not become dry.

Now cut the cake into squares- how many you end up with will depend on how big your cake is and also how large you want your mini cakes to be.
Next cover each individual cake with the whipped cream and decorate with fresh strawberries or like I did with the silver sugar balls.

Now I hope that your kitchen creations turn out to be slightly more successful than mine!

Happy cooking!

Miss SS xx


  1. How adorable! I would definitely do what my cake tells me too!

    Looks super tasty too!

  2. Greta job! :) I can't wait to see this movie in a couple of weeks! I love Tim Burton and I love the story too.