Life is sweet

Teatime treats don’t get more decadent than these rich poke cakes

Life is sweet

Strawberry cheesecake poke cake

Ingredients
For the icing

500g strawberries
500g cream cheese, at room temperature
250g butter, at room temperature
1 kg icing sugar

For the cake
500g butter
400g sugar
8 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
375g flour
2 tsp baking powder
125 ml milk
500 ml strawberry jam

Method
For the icing
1. Hull and roughly chop half the strawberries – leave the rest whole for garnishing.
2. Whip the cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy.
3. Fold in the chopped strawberries and icing sugar. Don’t overwork the icing – it should be thick enough to pipe.
4. Store in the fridge while you prepare the cake.

For the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line and grease two 20 cm springform tins.
2. Cream the butter and sugar.
3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Then add the vanilla essence.
4.Sift the flour and baking powder into the butter mixture and fold through.
5. Add enough milk to loosen to a soft batter.
6. Spoon batter into the cake tins and bake for 30–40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
7. Leave to cool, then slice cakes into two layers each, so you end up with four identical layers. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes 2 cm apart all over each layer.
8.Pipe strawberry jam into the holes.
9. Start to layer the cake by placing the first layer on a serving plate. Using a round nozzle, pipe walnut-sized bursts of icing along the rim of the cake. Fill in the middle with rough piping. Repeat with the next three layers.
10. Decorate the top of the cake with whole strawberries.

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Gluten-free chocolate and peanut-butter s’more poke cake

Ingredients
For the cake
200g butter, chopped
160g dark chocolate, chopped
60 ml espresso
3 tbsp cocoa, sifted
4 eggs, separated
200g caster sugar
200g almond flour
½ tsp salt
125 ml crunchy peanut butter

For the icing
100g caster sugar
4 egg whites
2 tbsp cold water
1 tsp lemon juice
1½ tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate, chopped, to decorate
Peanuts, to decorate

Method
For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 20 x 20 cm cake tin with waxed paper.
2. Combine the butter, chocolate, espresso and cocoa in a heatproof bowl, then place it over a pot of simmering water (to create a double boiler). Stir until smooth.
3.Whip the egg yolks and sugar together until light and airy.
4.Add the chocolate mixture, almond flour and salt to the egg mixture, folding in gently.
5.Whip the egg whites to soft-peak stage, then fold into the mixture.
6. Spoon into the prepared baking tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until set. It should still be a little wobbly in the middle.
7. Leave the cake to cool, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes 2 cm apart all over it.
8.Pipe peanut butter into each hole.

For the icing
1. Place all the ingredients in a double boiler and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
2. Transfer to a stand mixer and whisk until stiff peaks form.
3. Spread the icing over the cake. Brown under the grill or with a blowtorch and scatter with chocolate and peanuts to decorate.food-feature-3

Cinnamon and milk tart poke cake

Ingredients
For the milk tart filling
675 ml milk
50g sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp flour
1 egg
2 tbsp butter
Drop of vanilla essence

For the cake
125g flour
2 tbsp cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon, plus extra to decorate
Pinch of salt
3 eggs, separated
125 ml oil
125 ml cup boiling water
150g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence

Coconut flakes, to decorate
Mint, to decorate

Method
For the milk tart filling
1. Heat the milk in a pot over low heat.
2. Combine the sugar, cornflour, flour and egg.
3. Add a little bit of the hot milk to the cornflour mixture and mix well.
4. Slowly add the cornflour mix to the rest of the hot milk, whisking it continuously.
5. Cook the custard until thick – this should take about three minutes.
6. Stir in the butter and vanilla essence and set aside to cool. Place clingfilm on the surface of the custard while it cools to prevent it from forming a skin.

For the cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C and line and grease a 23 cm cake tin.
2. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, oil, boiling water, sugar and vanilla essence. Add to the dry ingredients.
4. Beat the egg whites to stiff-peak stage, then fold into the cake batter.
5. Spoon into the prepared cake tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until golden brown and springy.
6. Leave the cake to cool, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke holes 2 cm apart all over it.
7. Pipe half of the milk tart filling into the holes.
8. Spread the rest of the filling over the cake, letting it spill down the sides.
9. Sprinkle with cinnamon and decorate with coconut flakes and mint sprigs.

Recipes and styling: Anna Carolina Alberts; Stylist’s assistant: Zani Malan;
Photography: Juliette Bisset/HSMimages.co.za
August/September 2016

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