Throughout my childhood, strawberries and cream marked the beginning of summer. My primary school would serve the season’s first juicy strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream as a lunchtime pudding, and as a special treat on sports day, everybody was given a bowl of strawberries and cream.
I still associate it to this day with the heady excitement of the summer holidays officially beginning, and back then the full two and a half months off from classes felt like a lifetime!
As we’re at the end of June and heading with speed into July (despite the torrential rain in Dublin today), it felt like the perfect time to share this delicious Vanilla and Strawberry Cream Cake recipe.
I actually baked it a few weeks ago, as anybody following me on Snapchat might remember (I’m rosiedavison5 if you’re on it and want to add me!), and I’ve been so excited about sharing it with you all. But the past few weeks have been insanely busy with work, travel and finishing off the final few bits and pieces of my new book, that I’ve had very little time to update this site with recipes. I do apologise!
I love the simplicity of this sponge, which is moist, fragrant and works so well with the creamy coconut whip and fresh berries.
As you probably know, I love to create recipes free from dairy, wheat and refined sugar for everybody to be able to enjoy. So for this cake, I used an all-purpose gluten-free white flour by Dove’s Farm (€2.45 per kg in Tesco) , which contains a mild-tasting blend of rice, potato, tapioca, maize & buckwheat.
You can of course use regular caster sugar if you prefer, but I used Natvia (€6.29 for 200g) to keep calories lower and it can be used in exactly the same way as sugar. It’s a plant-based, completely calorie-free sweetener, which is produced by using a process that blends Stevia and Erythritol. It’s available in most good health food shops and some stores and supermarkets too.
Another option is to use Dr. Coy’s Stevia Erylite (€10.75), which is very similar to Natvia and also calorie free.
I’m a little bit obsessed with this creamy coconut whipped ‘cream’ and couldn’t resist licking the bowl clean! It’s simply chilled full-fat coconut milk, whipped using a normal handheld electric whisk. I added a little vanilla extract to really enhance the vanilla in the sponge. Add some fresh berries for their gorgeous colour and flavour, and it’s as simple as that.
This cake makes the perfect summer pudding for parties, birthdays, special celebrations… or just because!
- coconut oil, to grease
- 440g (3.5 cups) all-purpose white flour (I used a gluten-free flour by Dove's Farm)
- 400g (2 cups) Natvia (regular caster sugar and coconut sugar in the same quantities can be used, but coconut sugar will give a slightly darker appearance to the cake.)
- 1.5 tsp baking soda
- pinch of sea salt
- 500ml (2 cups) unsweetened almond milk or your favourite plant milk
- 160ml (2/3 cup) coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cans full-fat coconut milk, chilled overnight in the fridge
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla seeds/powder
- 1 tbsp Natvia, to sweeten (optional)
- Fresh strawberries and raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 180C and lightly grease two 7" round baking tins with coconut oil.
- Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the Natvia, baking soda and salt. Mix together well.
- Add in the almond milk, melted coconut oil, vinegar and vanilla extract and combine thoroughly until a thick dough is formed.
- Divide the mixture evenly between the two cake tins, and bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the sponge becomes lightly golden.
- Use a toothpick or narrow knife to check that the centre of the cake is done. If it comes out clean, then it is properly baked.
- Gently turn the sponge out of the cake tins and allow to completely cool on a wire cooling rack.
- To make the icing, gently open the chilled cans of coconut milk. The coconut cream should have separated from the water and have hardened at one end of the can.
- Scoop the cream into a mixing bowl, add the vanilla and Natvia (optional), and use a whisk to whip it just like normal cream, until it's light and fluffy.
- Wait until the sponge is completely cool before spreading one side generously with coconut whip. Add the other half on top and cover with the whip.
- Allow it to chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes before serving, and add the berries when ready to serve to avoid them discolouring the icing.
- Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days but the berries may not last that long.