This summer showstopper is the perfect centrepiece for your barbecue, picnic or garden party. It’s refreshing, full of strawberry deliciousness, and has the perfect balance of sweetness. This tall layer cake is made with layers of vanilla sponge cake, whipped cream, meringue kisses, shortbread biscuits, white chocolate and fresh ripe strawberries.
Summer is one of my favorite times of year. There are fresh berries galore. This stunning Summer Strawberry layer cake recipe is the perfect way to celebrate seasonal berries. There is nothing more delicious than a freshly picked, sun-warmed strawberry. The buttery cake soaks up the strawberry juices, while the whipped cream adds an airy richness.
Strawberries and cream are, quite simply, a match made in heaven. The crisp yet gooey meringue strawberry kisses are not only gorgeous to look at but also sumptuous to eat.
The beautiful striped effect is achieved by painting stripes of gel food colouring down the inside of a piping bag before you fill it with the meringue mixture. I used this Americolor red colouring but you can go for any colour you like.
The cake is also topped with buttery shortbread biscuits and white mini chocolate bars, which are made with another fantastic mould by Silikomart.
One of my favorite looks for a cake is the naked look. I love being able to see the pretty layers and it’s even easier to put together, as you don’t have to worry about icing it.
This is a great cake for sharing with friends and family. It makes a statement of it’s own and is a light treat that’s perfect for the warm weather.
- 300g salted butter
- , at room temperature
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste (or the seeds from 2 vanilla pods with 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 6 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 300g self-raising flour
- 75g icing sugar
- 75g white caster sugar
- 2 tsp strawberry jam
- red food colouring gel
- 3 medium egg whites, at room temperature
- 150g Plain Flour
- 100g Butter
- 50g Sugar
- 900ml double cream
- 1 heaped tbsp icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 300g good-quality or homemade strawberry jam (see tip)
- 1kg strawberries, chopped into even slices for neat layers (save 8 to decorate)
- Heat oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two 23cm tins with baking parchment. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a tabletop mixer until the mixture is very light, pale and fluffy.
- Gradually mix in the beaten eggs, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition, until fully combined. If using a mixer, on slow, add the flour until just combined - don't over-beat as it can make the sponge heavy. If you're not using a mixer, fold in the flour with a large metal spoon.
- Divide the mixture between the tins and bake in the oven for 30 mins or until the cakes come away from the side and the skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove and cool in the tin for 5 mins. Turn out onto a wire rack and remove the parchment to allow the steam to escape and the cakes to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the decorations.
- For the meringue kisses, line two large baking sheets with baking parchment. In a small bowl, mix both sugars together. In another small bowl, mix the jam with enough food colouring to create a vibrant red colour.
- In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks, using electric beaters or a tabletop mixer. Add about a third of the sugar, whipping for 1 min or so, until stiff and glossy. Gradually add the remaining sugar until you have a glossy meringue that holds stiff peaks.
- Heat oven to 120C/100C fan. Turn your pastry bag inside out and, using a spoon, paint three lines of coloured jam from the top to almost the end of the bag. Fill with the meringue mix and twist the end to close.
- Holding the bag vertically over the tray, apply enough pressure to create a base, then quickly draw the bag upwards to create little points. The jam will give the meringues a stripy pattern as they pass through the bag.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hr or until the meringues sound hollow when you lift one and tap the base - they should have a crunchy shell and not be too chewy. Leave to cool in the oven with the door closed, then store in a plastic food bag or airtight container until ready to use.
- To make the shortbread biscuits, preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
- Put butter, flour and sugar in the mixing bowl.Mix together with wooden spoon and hands so that the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Then use hands to squeeze mixure together so that the mixture looks like a dough.
- Roll out the dough with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface.Cut out the shapes using your chosen cutter. Place on a baking tray and leave in oven for 20 minutes or until they turn golden brown.
- Now assemble your cake. Before you split the sponges, trim the domed tops off each cake with a bread knife. Use the same knife or a cake wire, to split each sponge horizontally, so you're left with four sponge layers. A good tip is to cut a marker line on each sponge using a bread knife, so that once you've cut the sponges and filled them, you can use the line to put them back together in the right place. That way, if your cutting was a little wonky, it won't make the cake uneven.
- Whip the double cream with the icing sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, and just holding shape. Put the bottom layer on a cake stand or board. Spread with a thin layer of jam, then spread or pipe on a good layer of cream. Arrange an even layer of strawberries neatly round the edge, then dot the middle of the sponge with more fruit. Repeat with two more of the cake layers.
- For the top layer, add the sponge and jam, but neatly pipe the cream over. Gently press on the strawberries, a few meringues and some of the chocolate bark.
- Arrange the chocolate-coated strawberries on top of the creamy sponge, then nestle in shards of bark, meringues and biscuit. Finish with a sprinkling of crushed meringue. Serve and eat within a few hours.