Friday, 26 April 2013

Sofia's Cherry Blossom and Vanilla Birthday Cake

In my eyes, spring starts in April, when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
The light pinks to delicate white flowers take me back to childhood. I have no idea why, but cherry blossoms  would fascinate me. I could have stood for hours just dreamily staring at all the dainty little flowers. 
To me those flowers are magic and will always make me smile. Even today as an adult I still smile at the sight of a cherry blossom tree.
The start of spring is special to both me and my friend Sofia, as we both celebrate our birthday's in April!
Born just 4 days apart, ever since we met 12 years ago, we have always celebrated our birthdays together.  


This year, I struggled to decide what to make my dear friend as she knows what she likes. Stumped for ideas, I was taking a walk and saw a beautiful pink cherry blossom tree and just stared for a moment....
Then it hit me!
A Cherry Blossom Cake! First I texted Sofia to double check if she liked cherry:
I love cherry!

Awesome, now to find some cherry blossoms to bake and decorate the cake. I sadly did not succeed.

I tried so very hard to find Sakura (Japanese Cherry Blossom) jam and when I found some on the internet, it was too expensive to purchase for a single cake. My luck changed when I stumbled upon a recipe in a cookbook for cherry and almond cupcakes!
Success!

I adapted the recipe to make a cake instead of twelve cupcakes. I would say that next time I make this cake I will be using two 7 inch sandwich tins, instead of one 23 inch cake tin as it turned out really flat. I think a good cake has good height.

Recipe: The Cake (Adapted from Making Cupcakes with Lola)
  •        100g self-raising flour, sieved
  •        70g plain flour
  •        ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  •        95g butter, at room temperature
  •        150g caster sugar
  •        ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  •        2 eggs
  •        85ml whole milk
  •        90g morello cherry jam
  •        2 tablespoons flaked/slivered almonds


Recipe: Cherry Blossom Frosting
  •        75g Morello Cherry Jam
  •        125g butter, at room temperature
  •        1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  •        250g icing sugar
  •        Decorations of your choice like writing icing and glitter. I made   my own cherry blossoms made from royal icing which I will soon publish soon! Promise!


Equipment:
  •        Bowl x 2
  •        Electric hand-held whisk
  •        Sieve
  •        Scraper
  •        Saucepan
  •        7 inch sandwich tins x 2 lined with silicone paper
  •        Measuring jug


    1. Pre-heat oven to Gas Mark 5/375f/190c. Grease and line the sandwich tins.
Step 2. Sieve the dry ingredients.
    2. Sieve the flour, baking powder, and salt together in one bowl.
Step 3. Cream the sugar and butter.
    3. Cream sugar and butter together with an electric whisk, in a separate, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at the time and then add the vanilla extract. Mix until smooth.
Step 4. Mix the dry and milk alternatively 
   4. Add the sifted dry ingredients and milk alternatively and beat on a low speed until the cake mix is combined.
Step 5. Heat the jam for 30 seconds
Step 5. Pour the jam into the cake mix
Step 5. Roughly swirl 
   5. Put the cherry jam in a saucepan and heat gently for about 30
    seconds or until slightly runny. Pour the warm jam into the cake mix and roughly swirl in with a spatula.

Step 6. Sprinkle the almonds on top
   6. Pour the cake batter into the prepared tins, sprinkle the almonds on top of cake batter and bake for 35-40 minutes. 
   7. Make sure that the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer or a knife into the middle of the cake, if it comes out clean, it’s cooked. Once baked leave in the tray for 10 minutes and transfer to a wire rack.
   8. To make the icing, put the cherry jam into a saucepan and heat gently for 30 seconds. Strain the warm jam and discard any bits.
Step 9. Beat the frosting until smooth
   9. Put the butter in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer, until very smooth. Stir in the vanilla and sift half of the icing sugar in the bowl, beating until all of the frosting is smooth.
Step 10. Creamy and Pink frosting
   10. Add the other half of the icing sugar as well as the smooth jam and beat for 5 minutes until thick creamy and pink. Add a tablespoon of milk, if the frosting is stiff.
Step 11. Sandwich the frosting between the two cakes
   11. To assemble the cake, place one of the cakes on a cake board and spread a layer of frosting.
    12.  Place the second cake, with the flat bottom pressing down on the frosting, on top of the first cake.
    13. Spread some more icing on top with a palette knife. Decorate as desired. 


I know it turned out very flat but the birthday girl was happy. She was a little embarrassed when the staff at Prezzo sung happy birthday to her, before cutting the cake and enjoying a slice. 
I hope you had a wonderful birthday Sofia and thank-you for my pressie as well. Of course, that will be mentioned on the blog soon!

Bake On!

Bake On! Penny x
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