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Strawberry Purée

By: Pfoinkle

Strawberry puree.

Strawberry puree.

If you’re thinking strawberry purée is just about throwing a bunch of strawberries in a blender and letting it run until there are no strawberry solids left… well, you’re pretty much right. But don’t let the simplicity fool you — a strawberry purée makes a great topping for pancakes or ice cream, the base for a summer sweet cake filling, or add it to cake batter and you have a fabulous strawberry cake.

Strawberry Purée can be made with fresh or frozen strawberries and once made, it last for 3-4 weeks in the freezer.

Strawberry Purée Supplies

  • 16 ounces of strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Cheesecloth (optional)

Wash strawberries.

Wash strawberries.

If you’re using fresh strawberries, wash them thoroughly. If using frozen strawberries, thaw thoroughly (keep the liquid that gathers in the bowl).


Removing leaves and stems from strawberries.

Removing leaves and stems from strawberries.

If using fresh strawberries, a quick pinch removes the leaves, but not the stem. Use a small sharp knife to remove the stem (this called “hulling” the strawberry).


Strawberries in blender.

Strawberries in blender.

Strawberry purée can be made in a food processor or a blender. If using fresh strawberries, add one tablespoon of water. If using frozen strawberries, use the liquid collected when thawing.

If you’re using purée as a sauce or topping, add 2-4 tablespoons of sugar. If you’re using purée as an ingredient in a mixture that is already sweet (such as cake batter), no added sugar is needed.

If making purée in a blender, you’ll inevitably run into a point like the one pictured — where part of the strawberries are puréed, but the blender blade is just spinning in the liquid. If this happens, turn off the blender, lift the carafe and give it a good shake. Replace the carafe on the blender base and re-start. Repeat as needed.

At this stage, you have a perfectly usable strawberry purée. But I like to make the purée a bit smoother by removing some of the seeds.

Pouring processed strawberries into strainer.

Pouring processed strawberries into strainer.

If you don’t happen to own a chinoise (a very expensive strainer), you can still remove a lot of the seeds from your purée by lining a standard metal strainer with several layers of cheesecloth and pouring the purée onto the cheesecloth.


Straining strawberry mash.

Straining strawberry mash.

Gather the corners of the cheesecloth in one hand and use the other hand to gently squeeze the purée through the cheesecloth. This will leave the majority of the seeds in the cheesecloth and the metal strainer will catch more.


Strawberry puree.

Strawberry puree.

This recipe yields approximately one cup of Strawberry Purée.

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Simple Cake Fillings

By: Pix

On the occasions that I don’t feel like baking my own cakes, I always visit a local bakery that I love. One thing that has always impressed me about this place is their huge variety of cake fillings. Fillings make cakes seem fancier, more expensive, and just all around yummier. I realized that I could fancy up my box cake mixes by simply adding some ready-made common fillings from the grocery store. Add some homemade buttercream icing, and you have a gourmet cake that others will think you slaved over.

Think creatively when it comes to cake fillings, and you’ll realize that there are options all over the grocery store. The best place to look is the jam aisle.

Strawberry Cake Filling

Strawberry Jam as Cake Filling

Raspberry and strawberry jams are great (and fancy) cake fillings that are easy as can be to use. More great options are pie fillings. For lemon cakes, I always use ready-made lemon pie filling, and it’s absolutely delicious.

Lemon Pie Filling as Cake Filling

A simple way to create a chocolate filling (or carmel, butterscotch, or strawberry) is to use an ice cream topping like hot fudge or hot caramel.
Chocolate Cake Filling

Hot Fudge as Chocolate Cake Filling

Add some pecan bits to hot caramel, and you have an absolutely amazing filling.

The only thing to remember when adding fillings is to be careful when you spread them between cake layers. Be sure that you don’t spread too closely to the cake edge, or your filling will spill out into your buttercream and cause icing issues. Stack your layers carefully, frost the outsides of your cake, and you have a simple and impressive filled cake.

dice4

Stack Second Layer over Filling and then Frost.

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Chocolate Ganache recipe

By: Deb

Chocolate Ganache

There is an abundance of recipes out there for chocolate ganache. This is by far the easiest I have used as there is no need to pre-melt the chocolate or any other fiddly bits to mess with.

Ganache is the rich shiny chocolate topping used on cakes as a glaze, an icing or frosting or even can be used to make chocolate truffles.

Generally for a normal coating or filling I use:
1 part chocolate (white, plain* or milk)
1 part heavy cream
Small knob of butter (for shine can be omitted)

Chop 200g of your choice of chocolate and place in a bowl.
Place 200ml of cream into a pan and slowly bring to the boil.

pour boiling cream over chocolate

pour boiling cream over chocolate

When boiling pour over the chocolate and leave alone for 5 mins.

Add a small knob of melted butter or ½ teaspoon of oil.

After the 5 minutes are up whisk/stir everything in the bowl until fully mixed together.

Chocolate ganache - mix well

Chocolate ganache - mix well

Leave to stand a short while until almost cool and it starts to thicken then use as a topping or filling or both.
If allowed to cool completely the texture will be more of a frosting consistency

Simple!

*If you choose to use a chocolate that is more than 60% cocoa mass it will be necessary to use more cream. Between 60-70% cocoa mass around ½ the amount of cream again and over 70% up to ¾ of the amount again.


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