Wednesday 29 October 2014

Strawberry and yoghurt cake

I had my doubts. It was a cake with no eggs, one of the major ingredients was 200ml of warm water, and the tin we had was slightly smaller than the one specified. I shouldn't have worried. The recipe was by Neil Perry, who probably knows a thing or two about cooking. I had a Year 6 sous-chef who exuded calm and confidence, and produced a muffin tin to handily accomodate the excess batter. And the resultant mini-cakes provided an opportunity for decorating fun, with edible wonders foraged from my friends' beautiful Hobart garden. 

Though this cake might seem on paper, a bit strange - the aforementioned lack of eggs, the weirdly large quantity of warm water, and the two hour (!) cooking time, the results more than speak for themselves. Chewy with polenta, tangy with yoghurt and studded with pale pink fruit, this is a real spring time surprise, and versatile too - the sort of thing you could serve at a dinner party (topped with yoghurt and piled high with strawberries), a high tea (prettily pastel), or pack in a lunchbox (sturdy and filling)... or in my case, in my carry on baggage to take back to Sydney as a memory of a lovely weekend in Tasmania.

Strawberry and yoghurt cake
Adapted from a recipe by Neil Perry, as published in the Sydney Morning Herald

You could use any sort of berries (except cranberries - too tart) with this, or even stone fruit. If you have any excess batter and decide to make some mini-cakes too, fill the holes in a muffin tin to about the two-thirds mark and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

200g polenta

200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
275g caster sugar
110g butter, melted
500g natural yoghurt
200ml warm water
600g strawberries, chopped 
icing sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 170°C.

Line and grease a 20cm spring-form tin. 

Place dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine and make a well in the centre.
Add the butter, 300g yoghurt and water and beat until well blended. Stir through half the strawberries and pour into the tin.

Bake for two hours or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Remove from oven to a cooling rack and stand for 15 minutes before removing from tin. Once completely cool, top with remaining yoghurt and strawberries.

Dust with icing sugar before serving.

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