The Taste of Tennis
Wimbledon might be off the agenda in 2020 but my love of strawberries won’t be taking a year out. With the rules of seeing friends and family changing (is it just me, or are the Zoom nights in wearing a bit thin now?), and after so long without seeing anyone, it is definitely a great time to show off new baking skills. And I certainly have the perfect centrepiece for a summer socially distanced meet-up.
This is a cake that would have been perfect for a Wimbledon tennis fortnight party but it will be just as adored as we reconnect with those important to us. It combines the iconic Wimbledon flavours of strawberries, cream and, of course, Pimm’s!
If you enjoy a glass of Pimm’s and you love cake this bake is a match (let’s skip the game and set) made in heaven. My Pimm’s cake combines the softest sponge drizzled with the summertime gin-based tipple, sandwiched together with a cream cheese buttercream filling and topped with fresh strawberries, orange, cucumber and mint. This recipe can easily serve 20 and would make a perfect event or party cake. Honestly, it’s just too good not to try creating it yourself at home.
Pimm’s Drizzle Cake
For this cake I used two Masterclass bakeware tins which are high-sided 8-inch, 20cm tins with a removable base (available in-store). I prefer high-sided tins cakes as it helps create tall or thin layers and gives you maximum versatility when baking. They are especially good if you are looking to create multi-layer cakes like this drizzle cake as you can get two layers from a single tin saving you time.
For the cake
- 500g of unsalted butter or Stork butter
- 450g caster sugar
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 500g flour
- A small pinch of salt
- Half a teaspoon of baking powder
- 300ml semi-skimmed milk
Cake decorative garnish
- Strawberries, cucumber, orange and mint leaves
Cream cheese frosting
- 250g unsalted butter
- 300g icing sugar
- 340g full fat Philadelphia cream cheese
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100ml Pimm’s
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 50ml water
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 160ºC fan
- Grease and line two 8-inch cake tins with parchment paper
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until smooth
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract
- Sieve in the flour, pinch of salt and half a teaspoon of baking powder
- Gently stir in the milk
- Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for around 45-minutes until golden brown. Use a cake tester to make sure the middle is baked through
- Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins
- Trim to level the tops and slice the two pieces to make 4 equal layers
- In a mixer (or using a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar together to make a smooth buttercream
- Drain off any excess water in the cream cheese and add it to the buttercream mix along with the vanilla extract
- Beat again until smooth and pop it in the fridge to set slightly (this is essential if it’s a particularly warm day)
- Add the Pimm’s , sugar and water to a saucepan set on a medium heat. Allow the mixture it to bubble and thicken slightly (it should only take a few minutes). Keep stirring, and remember to give it your full attention as it could bubble over if the saucepan gets too hot.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and set aside
Putting it all together
- To assemble, take a cake stand or plate and position the first cake layer. Using a pastry brush quickly brush over the Pimm’s drizzle. Be careful to not add too much, this should only be light drizzle.
- Either pipe with a large circular nozzle, the buttercream onto the cake, or use a knife to covering the sponge with a thick layer it on thickly with a knife. You will need a quarter of the buttercream for each layer. Repeat with the remaining layers finishing with a buttercream cream cheese layer on top. Pop it in the fridge until ready to serve
- Complete the cake, simply add the iconic Pimm’s toppings – strawberries, orange slices, cucumber and some fresh mint leaves.
If you have some extra berries, here are some more ideas to ensure you don’t let them go to waste…
Sisley’s Tip 1
For an unusual combination, try your strawberries with a sprinkle of sugar and a light drizzle of balsamic vinegar. The sharpness of the balsamic vinegar against the sweetness of the strawberries is juxtaposition that just works. I made this Strawberry Balsamic Tart in the Le Creuset stoneware dish, which you can find in-store.
Sisley’s Tip 2
To make a quick, hot and cold dessert, chop up some strawberries, pop them in a saucepan along with a tablespoon of water and the same quantity of sugar. Let the ingredients bubble and mush down until it turns into a coulis. Remove from the heat and add to a scoop (or two!) of vanilla ice cream. Add a wafer for some extra crunch. In the Cookware department on the Third Floor, there is a great range of gadgets including ice cream scoops designed to help you create an Instagram worthy looking dessert!
Sisley’s Tip 3
On a hot summer’s day, cool your Prosecco down with a frozen whole strawberry. The strawberry will keep the drink cold rather than water it down as ice cubes would when they melt. The large whole strawberry also looks the part in the glass, adding colour and sophistication to your drink. To serve your Prosecco, check out the glassware range in-store (Third Floor). The space is adorned with unique and elegant shapes; my favourites are the Champagne bowl style glasses!
If you are feeling inspired to create more strawberry treats, take a look at the Strawberry and Prosecco Cake recipe on my blog.