Thursday 30 June 2016

Strawberry, White Chocolate and Pistachio Tier Cake

This one is gonna be a bit of a quick post because even though I've finsihed college, I've found myself so busy these past two weeks and with the bulk of birthday season behind me now, I just had this one last cake to requested by my friend Ellen.
She absolutely loves strawberries! And luckily with her birthday (18th may I add) in June, strawberries are at their best this time of year, juicy and sweet. This cake is also rather fitting with the fact that it's Wimbledon this week and so perfect to make if your having your own little tennis themed garden party at home. 
This cake is, as the title suggests, a two tier cake. It was intended to feed a lot of people but if you'd rather make it to suit a smaller crowd then pop on over to this recipe as it was this what I adapted from. 

Note: all the flowers which I decorated the cake with were fresh from my local florist, they were not edible but safe for aesthetic purposes to be placed on top, so please be careful if you are intending on using other flower varieties as I cannot guarantee that everything is safe to do this. If unsure it is best to seek advice from a florist. 

Strawberry,  White  Chocolate  and  Pistachio  Tier  Cake

Ingredients :

260g good-quality white chocolate
440g unsalted butter, softened
440g caster sugar
1 ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
7 large eggs, beaten
440g self-raising flour

For the buttercream:
300g good quality white chocolate
390g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ tablespoon semi-skimmed milk
1 ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
440g icing sugar, sifted

4 tbsp apricot jam

To finish:
pink edible food colouring paste
1 large punnet of strawberries
selection of  flowers
shards of chocolate bark (see recipe below)
sprinkle of chopped pistachios
sprinkle of edible rose petals
sprinkle of freeze dried strawberries



Preheat the oven to 170°C/ 325°F/ gas 3. Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, stirring to make sure it doesn't burn and go grainy (this can happen very quickly if not watched). Leave to cool until needed.

Put the butter into a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar, then add the vanilla and beat until the mixture is very light in colour and fluffy in texture scraping down the bowl from time to time. Gradually add the beaten eggs, beating well after each addition and adding a tablespoon of the weighed flour with the last portion of egg (to prevent curdling.) Sift in the rest of the flour and fold in using a large metal spoon. Add the cooled white chocolate and fold in until all the ingredients have been incorporated.

Distribute the cake mixture between two 8 inch cake tins and two 6 inch cake tins that have been greased and lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, the 6 inch cakes will take slightly less time so be sure to check that they are cooked until golden brown and just firm to touch and a skewer inserted comes out clean in the centre. You may need to place a foil covering over the 8 inch cakes in the last 5 minutes of baking time to prevent from browning too much. Then leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. 

Meanwhile, to make the buttercream melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water then leave to cool. In a large mixing bowl beat the butter, milk, vanilla and icing sugar until smooth - this can take several minutes with an electric hand mixer. Add the melted chocolate and beat again until thick and creamy. If it looks too runny to use just keep beating - this will thicken it and improve its consistency. 

Chop most of your strawberries into thin slices, leaving a few whole for decoration with the green stalk remaining. 

Once the cakes are completely cold, place the first 8 inch sponge on a plate or board that you can ice on, preferably a turning cake stand will make it easier. Spread enough buttercream onto the first sponge, then place a layer of  sliced strawberries on top.  Add another thin layer of buttercream to cover the strawberries so that the other sponge will stick to it. Lightly press down with the other 8 inch sponge.

Repeat the process with the 6 inch sponges, using the remaning sliced strawberries.
Place the apricot jam into a small bowl and heat in a microwave until it starts to bubble. Immediately brush all over the two cakes with a pastry brush and then place them in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to set. This will prevent crumbs mixing with the buttercream. 

Coat the sides and top of both cakes with more buttercream, smoothing as you go with a pallette knife leaving some of the sponge showing through, this is known as a naked cake so you will only need a thin coating.

Place the 6 inch cake on top of the larger cake and then with a small pastry brush, get a small amount of pink food colouring paste and brush strokes of colour on the sides lightly until you've reached your desired look. 

To finish, place your fresh strawberries on top along with your chosen flowers. Stand pieces of the chocolate bark in the gaps to give added height. Sprinkle more chopped pistachios, edible rose petals and freeze dried strawberries over the edge of the cake and on your serving plate/stand. 

White chocolate,  Rose,  Strawberry  and  Pistachio  Bark


300g white chocolate
large handful chopped pistachios
2 tbsp freeze dried strawberries
1 tbsp edible rose petals


Line a large baking tray with parchment paper or a Silpat. 

Firstly, to temper the chocolate -  break the chocolate into squares and set aside a small handful of the chocolate, place the rest into a heat-proof bowl and set over a 1-inch simmering pan of water (double-boiler). Stir occasionally until about two thirds have melted completely. Remove bowl from the heat making sure no water gets into contact with the bottom of the bowl. If the water touches the chocolate it will seize up. 

Stir in the rest of the reserved chocolate squares and it will drop the temperature. Once all has melted it is ready to use, however to be sure you can use a chocolate/sugar thermometer to test that it has reached between 82F-84F (28C-29C) which is the ideal temperature to work with. 

Using an offset spatula, quickly spread out chocolate into a thin and even layer. Immediately sprinkle on rose petals, pistachios and freeze dried strawberries evenly over the entire surface. Gently press toppings into the chocolate. Let chocolate bark set completely.

Transfer bark onto a large cutting board. Heat the blade of a sharp chef knife under running hot water, wipe off wet blade with a kitchen towel, and cut bark into desired shard shapes. Triangular looks best if  placed on top of a cake.  Store white chocolate bark in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 2 weeks. 


  1. Your food photography is amazing! I would love to learn how to take photos like this :)
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