Today is Mother’s Day in the UK. I’m not going to home for it this year, but it’s still a date that can’t go unmarked. Its not long since I told you all about my Mum and how special she is, but it’s something that we just can’t say enough.
In my day job at school I see Mums on a daily basis. Working with the under 3s age group, many of my children still come to playgroup class accompanied by an adult. One of the best parts of my job is getting the chance to share the joy of being with the children with their Mums. Being a Mum isn’t an easy job. I see tiredness and frustration on a Mum’s face when their child is the one who just can’t sit down, or the one who is screaming and crying. It’s wonderful to see this frustration turns to happiness and pride when the child finally get its, finally wants to join in with the songs or dances at circle time. Seeing the beaming pride on their faces when their little one says their name for the very first time is always incredible. I see how hard Mum’s work to give their children the very best opportunities, and how much they do just to make sure their children are happy. The older I get the more and more I realise this had work, and pride, and worry doesn’t stop when we grow up.
Yes, Mum’s are fantastic, i’m in awe of each and everyone of you!
This is the cake I would be making for my Mum if I was at home for Mother’s Day.
It’s light, fresh and fruity. A perfect cake for spring.
The sponge is flavoured with orange zest and has a lovely citrus tang. It perfectly compliments the aromatic flavour of the poppy seeds. I love the look of the sponge speckled with the little black seeds, and I love the subtle crunch and bite they give to the cake.
We add the orange zest in right at the start, as we cream together the butter and sugar. As you work the butter you release all the lovely oils from the orange zest, making the taste stronger and more pronounced than if you added it in later with the flour.
Piled between the 3 layers are lashings of cream, a little strawberry jam for extra sweetness, and lots of fresh strawberries.
Its a long time since I’ve made a layer cake that just uses cream. I resisted the urge to make a flavoured buttercream. This cake doesn’t need it. The simple cream allows all the wonderful fruity flavours, and the aromatic poppy seed to shine. Nothing goes better with strawberries than cream.
To all wonderful Mum’s out there, but especially my Mummy and Andy’s Mummy, happy Mother’s Day!
Strawberry and Poppy Seed Layer Cake
230g unsalted butter
230g caster sugar
zest of 1 large orange
210g self-raising flour
4 large eggs
120ml whole milk
30g poppy seeds
500ml double cream
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Grease and line 3 x 6inch round tins. (I only have one tin so I cooked the cake in batches, washing and relining between layers)
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until smooth and pale.
Add in half the butter and half the flour. Mix until combined. Mix in the rest of the eggs and flour.
Stir in the milk, then the poppy seeds.
Divide equally between the 3 tins.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until firm to the touch, and an inserted skewer comes out clean.
The cakes may have doomed slightly during baking. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice off the dooms so the cakes are all level.
Whip your cream until it forms peaks.
Wash, hull and thinly slice about 2/3 of your strawberries.
Now assemble your cake.
Put the bottom layer of your cake onto your serving plate. Thinly spread about a tablespoon of jam over the top. Generously spread with a third of the cream. Top with half of the sliced strawberries.
Repeat with the second layer of cake.
Add the top layer of cake.
Decorate with the remaining strawberries.
If you’re not serving immediately, store the cake in a sealed container in the fridge.