Friday, May 11, 2012

Strawberry powder puffs

Photo by Steve Shanahan

First published 9 May 2012 Canberra Times.

Not only does Mother’s Day provide the opportunity to lavish attention on Mum, it’s also an excuse to showcase your cake baking skills.

These gorgeous little powder puffs are incredibly quick and easy to make, and they can be produced at very short notice, perfect for the kids or Dad to cook for Mum on her day.

This cute old-fashioned English recipe dates back to when the vicar would drop by for afternoon tea. The cakes were baked in advance and stored in an airtight container, then filled with whipped cream and jam, sprinkled with icing sugar and put aside. They rise again slightly when filled and left for an hour or so. By the time the vicar came to call, the powder puffs were ready to eat.

2 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup plain flour
½ cup cornflour
2 tspn baking powder
½ cup strawberry jam
¾ cup whipped cream
Icing sugar for dusting

Makes about 15

Preheat the oven to 220C. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Beat the eggs with an electric mixer until well mixed, then gradually add the sugar, beating for 8 minutes or until thick and creamy. Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder together and fold in lightly by hand.

Put the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a plain 1cm nozzle and pipe into rounds, placing them well apart on the trays. If you don’t have a piping bag, spoon teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays.

Bake for 4 to 5 minutes until evenly but lightly coloured. Remove from the oven and lift the cakes carefully with a spatula, onto a wire rack to cool. When cool store in an airtight container, separating the layers with sheets of baking paper to stop them sticking together.

An hour or so before serving, join the cakes together in pairs with strawberry jam and whipped cream. Dust them with icing sugar and place them in a covered container until they become light puffs.