Tag Archives: strawberry

Peanut Butter Éclair Cake


Well Éclair’s are the thing after macaron. This is a really simple take on the éclair with no baking involved! It does require resting time so the graham crackers can absorb the moisture and soften. This has so many variations from a plain simple one to fruit flavored to boozy – as boozy as you like.

I made this for an aunt’s 70 birthday as the request was for a peanut butter dessert. It also needed to be packed in a transportable container and driven for 5 hours. It made it there successfully in a cooler and was a big hit.


For the Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Éclair

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1/2 pint heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 oz milk chocolate chips


Keep a mesh strainer set in a heat proof container ready.

Pour the milk into a pot and place it over medium heat. Heat until it starts to steam but do not let it start bubbling (Small little bubbles at the edge of the pot are fine). While the milk is warming, mix the sugar and egg yolks. Then add the flour and salt ensuring it is all well mixed. This will be quite thick. .

Once the milk has started steaming turn off the heat and pour it in a very slow stream into the egg mixture, whisking fairly quickly and consistently. You can also use a ladle to pour it in a ladle at a time. Once all the milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the pot  and place it back on medium-low heat whisking continuously.

When you start whisking, it will be really frothy and very thin. As the mixture heats it will start to thicken. You have to be patient with this step because the how quickly it thickens depends on your heat. You do not want to raise your heat to have it thicken faster as it can be easy to overheat this mixture and get to a lumpy consistency. It will take somewhere between 8-12 minutes for it to thicken. You will notice the whisk leave trails and you will be able to see it thicken.  You will also see that it starts to bubble a little. Take it off the heat.

Pour the mixture into the mesh strainer to catch any egg bits. Using your spatula gently stir the mixture in strainer to help it through.  Divide your pastry cream into two halves. Add your peanut butter to one and whisk to incorporate. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of both halves of the cream to prevent a crust from forming. Set them aside until they are completely cooled.

Just before you are ready to assemble. Whisk the heavy cream until it starts to thicken. Add the sugar and continue whisking until just past soft peak stage (when you lift your whisk the peak gently falls over). Fold half of this into the plain pastry cream.

To assemble

In a 9×9 inch pan put a layer of graham crackers. Cover this with the the peanut butter pastry cream. Place another layer of graham crackers on top. Then add the pastry cream with the whipped cream. Place another layer of graham crackers on top and cover with the remaining whipped cream. Place this in the refrigerator for 20 minutes to chill.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on short 10 second bursts stirring in between. Once it is melted let it cool for a bit and carefully spread it over the top of the cream. Refrigerate again overnight before serving. This helps the graham crackers soften.


You can do a variety of variations:

Fruit based – add about 1/3 of a cup of fruit puree instead of the peanut butter. Top with the same fruit glaze. Omit the chocolate glaze

Brandy – add 1/4 cup of brandy into the whipped cream omitting the peanut butter

Elderberry -add 1/4 cup of elderberry juice or liquor to the whipped cream


Strawberry Jam Cakes

Strawberry Jam Cakes

Strawberry Jam Cakes

These came about as I wanted to make something sweet for a late boozy brunch that a friend of mine was throwing. It is a recipe from the Tea Time magazine that I get. It’s really a tea time cake but I added a liberal brushing of port wine to the cake to go with the boozy brunch theme. I am sure that Tea time aficionados will not disapprove at all.

I do remember going to the Winter garden for High tea in London at the hotel where I stayed. We had the most delicious cakes and sandwiches served on a three-tiered stand. I did not drink much tea, but happily ate the sandwiches and cakes. When we ate everything on the first stand they refilled it but with their choices not with ours – much to our disappointment. If you ever are in London – a High tea is simply a must.

But back from my tea time digression, these are not really challenging to make. They are however simply delicious. The original recipe called for a 17×12 baking pan. I used my 9×13 inch pan. I guess the difference was the cutting out of a double height of the cake and then splitting it into two. However, as long as the sides look good the tops get covered with icing so there were no worries about it.

The little cakes did get rave reviews for brunch and then I took a few of the left overs to work the next day where they were also happily eaten. I was initially going to try to make cake pops of the remaining discards but then smooshed them all into a small container, doused it with port and then topped it with the icing. This stayed a little longer and seemed get even tastier as time went along.


Makes 12 mini cakes


  • 2 cups flour sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup strawberry jam
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Red food color (Americolor red)
  • Port Wine (or liqueur of your choosing)
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk


  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • Red food color (Americolor)


For the Cakes

Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and line a 9×13 inch baking with parchment paper and set aside.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar with the paddle blade in your mixer until light and fluffy. Add the jam and one egg. Beat until incorporated. Then add the next egg beat until incorporated and repeat for the last egg. (I use the kitchen aid scraper blade which scrapes the sides of the bowl as it beats so I do not need to scrape the bowl, if you do not have this attachment then you should scrape the bowl between egg additions). Add the vanilla extract and 6 drops of food coloring (You can add more or less depending on how strong a pink you want).

Now add a third of the flour mixture into the batter, beat on slow to incorporate. Then add half the buttermilk, beat to incorporate. Repeat ending with adding the last third of the flour mixture. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Put it in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Do the toothpick test – insert a toothpick into the center of the pan and it should come out clean or with just a few crumbs sticking to it. Then your cake is done.

Remove the pan and rest it on a wire rack until it has cooled. Wrap the cake in cling film and put it in the freezer for about an hour.

Using a 1.5 inch round cutter, cut circles from the cake. I got 12 cakes. Split the cakes with bread knife using a sawing motion. Do this gently. Make sure you keep your pieces together. Brush each bottom with the port wine (You can use any wine you like) using a pastry brush. I was very liberal with the brushing. Pipe the frosting on top. Place the upper round on top of the frosting, brush again with wine and pipe more frosting on top of the 2nd round. Refrigerate the rounds. About a half hour  before you are ready to eat take them out of the refrigerator and let them come to room temperature.

For the Icing

Beat cream cheese, butter, jam, vanilla extract and confectioners sugar until incorporated and the mixture is light and fluffy. Add food coloring to desired color and beat until combined. I used 5 drops of red food coloring here. Place in piping bag with a star tip. You are ready to pipe.

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

I made this cake for my niece while I was in Australia since she allegedly like strawberries and cream. This was at suggestion of my brother-in-law who insisted she liked anything with strawberries and cream. I am glad to say everyone liked it especially the birthday girl. This version is more of a cake than an individual serving. I made the cake portion the night before and just filled it with the strawberries and cream a couple of hours before serving it.

A few things to remember when doing this pastry is not to overwork the dough. Have the butter really cold and not at room temperature. Add all the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients in one go. For the strawberries, try to get the smaller sizes, they have smaller white cores and are generally sweeter.


  • 4 cups sliced strawberries, hulled
  • 8 tbsp (+2tbsp) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 100g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 200ml heavy whipping cream
  • Icing sugar, to dust


Chop strawberries and then toss with (8 tbsp) granulated sugar in a large bowl and let it sit for at least and hour (I let them sit overnight). Gently press strawberries with the back of a fork to help release their juices, being careful not to crush them to a pulp.

Pre-heat over to 350F. Line and grease an 8inch pan with parchment paper (if you are using a non-stick pan with a springform base then you can skip the parchment paper).

Put flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and rub in butter with fingertips. Do this gently. There should be no large bits of butter left and your mixture should be like small breadcrumbs. Beat egg and milk together in a small bowl and then add to the dry ingredient. Mix with a fork until combined.

Spread your dough into your prepared pan and smooth out the top. Bake for about 25-30 mins until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the shortbread comes out almost clean. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

To serve, Whip the heavy whipping cream till soft peak stage. Add about a tablespoon of sugar closer to the end of the whipping. Split the cake into two halves. Taking a pastry brush dip it in the juices of the strawberries and brush the lower half of the cake with the juice. Then put about 1/2 the strawberries on the cake. Top with whipped cream. Brush the top half (cut side with more juice). Place it on top of the whipped cream. Then dust the top with icing sugar.

You can serve each cut slice with additional whipped cream and the remaining strawberries.

Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

Strawberry Bruschetta

What could be more delightful to breakfast than sweet strawberries on a slice of cinnamon sugared toast – well crepes with strawberries and bananas to follow. I got this idea from a cooking  magazine I had (one of the many). Its pretty much prepared all in advance and then just put together before it is served.


  • 8 strawberries, washed, hulled and chopped into tiny bits
  • 6 slices of white bread
  • 2 tsp sugar + 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 basil leaves chopped, (plus a few more for to garnish)
  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt
  • honey to taste


Mix strawberries, 2 tbsp sugar and basil in a bowl and let it sit in the refrigerator to macerate.

Mix 2 tsp sugar with the cinnamon. Sparingly butter the bread, then sprinkle with the sugar cinnamon mix. Bake in a toaster oven until browned. Cut into bite sized pieces.

When ready to serve, mix together honey and yoghurt. Top each bit of bread with about a spoonful of the strawberry mix, put a small dollop of the yoghurt honey mix and top with a basil leaf.

Strawberry Cream with Chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Strawberry cream with chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Strawberry cream with chocolate ganache and macerated strawberries

Summer and strawberries who can resist them especially when they are on sale and you get the smaller varieties. I always remember my cousin in London telling me when she made me proper English trifle, that the smaller the strawberries the sweeter they are and the ones I got were absolutely delightful. This is a very good recipe if you want to serve vegetarians since it does not use gelatin to become a mousse and you get a really soft creamy texture.



Serves 12 in 8oz ramekins

For the Strawberry Mousse

  • 300g fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3 tbsp sugar

For the Macerated Strawberries

  • 200g fresh strawberries
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar

For the Chocolate Ganache

  • 4oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream


For the strawberry mousse

Wash the strawberries, cut off the tops and then puree them.

Whip the heavy cream and as it starts to thicken add 2 tablespoons of sugar slowly until thick peaks form. Fold a quarter of the whipped cream into the strawberry puree to lighten. Then add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt on low until there is a bit of froth. Then turn the setting to high and whisk until soft peaks form. Add the remaining one tablespoon of sugar and whisk for another 30 seconds to form glossy peaks. Do not over whisk.

Gently fold the egg whites into the strawberry cream mix. Pour into your bowl and put it in the refrigerator.

For the macerated strawberries

Wash the strawberries, cut off the tops. Then chop the strawberries into small pieces. Pour the 2 tablespoons of sugar over them and stir. Put them in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours to macerate.

For the Chocolate Ganache

Put the chocolate chips and cream into a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir with a heat proof spatula to incorporate the chocolate and the cream. If there are still unmelted chocolate chips microwave in 10 second bursts stirring between each burst. Let it sit until ready to serve.

To serve, put the strawberry mousse into a ramekin, put a dollop of the chocolate ganache and a spoonful of the macerated strawberry on the side.