Friday, 1 July 2011

Gluten Free Wild Strawberry & Orange Cake

This simple summer cake is my own creation, designed to showcase the the wild strawberries that grow in the sunniest patches of the garden. Wild strawberries are natural beauties, too frequently ignored in favour of their large watery domestic cousins. The tiny fruit jewels have a stronger, more intense berry flavour, and they taste amazing thrown into salads as well as used in cake toppings or fruit compotes. Have a forage around your local hedgerows or woodland and you can easily spot them; don't wash them before use or you'll drown them. You can of course create the glaze topping with large domestic strawberries, just be prepared to use more of them to create as much flavour as the wild variety.

Serves 8 -10

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
200g gluten free plain flour (Dove's Farm or M&S recommended), sieved
1 tsp baking powder
1 or 2 tbsps ground almonds
grated rind of half an orange
juice of half an orange
3 eggs

1. Turn the oven to 160C (140C fan oven). Grease and line a 23 inch round baking tin.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Add 1 egg, the orange juice and rind, and beat well. Add the 2nd egg, plus the baking powder and a third of the sieved flour and combine. Finally, fold in the 3rd egg along with the rest of the flour and all the ground almonds. Mix gently until the batter is totally combined.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and put in the oven for approx 50mins. It will be done when a skewer comes out clean and the top bounces back when you touch it with your finger. Take it out of the oven and leave in the tin for 15 minutes, before carefully turning it out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the glaze topping:

1 small bowl of wild strawberries
quarter of a cup of golden caster sugar
juice of half an orange
carton runny cream to serve (optional)

4. Mix together the topping ingredients in a large bowl and then spoon over the cake. Serve straight away with runny cream.

This cake was idly baked while thinking about Wild Strawberries, my favourite Ingmar Bergman film and a real classic. Here's one of the more whimsical bucolic scenes as an old man looks back at his youth. Have a peek while eating the wild strawberry cake.

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