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A pink cake for Sylvia by Eleanor Ford

A pink cake for Sylvia by Eleanor Ford

“I developed this vanilla and raspberry cake when my daughter requested a sugar pink cake for her fifth birthday, and indeed a pink party to match. The kefir makes the sponge whisper-light and the raspberries stud it with pockets of jammy sharpness. A mound of fluffy frosting was another prerequisite – here its sweetness tempered by fresh fruit, which also stains it a suitably Barbie pink. The other trick for lightness in both the sponge and the frosting is seemingly excessive beating" ~ Eleanor Ford.

~ Gather Your Ingredients ~

260 g (1¾ cups) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
½ tsp fine sea salt
120g (4¼ oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature

260g (9¼ oz) caster sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla paste/extract  [Add to cart]

240g (8½ oz) milk kefir, at room temperature 

210g (7½ oz) raspberries
140g (5oz) raspberries
200g (7oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
540g (1lb 3oz) icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla paste/extract


Edible flowers
More raspberries or sparkly pink decorations on sticks

~ Preparation Instructions ~

1. Make sure all the ingredients, including the kefir, are at room temperature. Grease and line three 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins. Heat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan (400°F).

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt then set aside.

3. With an electric mixer, beat together the butter and caster sugar at medium speed. Keep going for 3–4 minutes until it becomes really pale and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla extract (or the scraped-out vanilla seeds), adding a spoonful of the flour if it starts to curdle. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour in three batches, alternating with the kefir, so you start and end with the flour. Stop the mixer after each addition when just combined.

4. Scrape into the tins and level. Scatter the raspberries over the top – no need to push them in as they will sink as it cooks. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cakes are golden, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out without any wet batter clinging to it.

5. Sit in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool. Meanwhile, make the frosting.

6. Purée the raspberries then press through a fine sieve to remove the seeds. The butter should be soft but not melting. You can soften it further in an electric mixer at low speed. Add the raspberry purée and half the icing sugar and beat for 3 minutes. Add the remaining icing sugar and the vanilla paste and beat for another 3 minutes. The frosting should be light and creamy but able to hold its shape. If it is too thick, beat in a dribble of water; too thin, add another spoonful of sugar.

7. When the cakes are completely cool, spread with the frosting, stacking as you go, then swirl the top and sides with a palette knife. Decorate with edible flowers, more raspberries or your choice of pink decorations on sticks. Best on the day it is made.


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