Cakes & Bakes

Rachel Taylor

The final hurrah!

So here it is, the very last little column from me. I know it is slightly delayed but I took unexpectedly unwell so it just had to wait. But here I am back fighting fit again and just in time for the glorious weather.

I’m not going to spend too much time jabbering on today other than to say a huge thank you to all the readers who have taken the time to follow or dip in and out of the little stories and recipes of an amateur baker.

It really encouraged me whenever someone commented on how much they liked the recipes I shared – mainly because they were simple and easy to follow and used ingredients that weren’t complicated or hard to find.


Also, thank you for all the emails sent in over the years with words of encouragement or requests for certain recipes – it all helped to make it a very enjoyable experience for me.

I have loved (my family have loved it too) trying out new recipes to share with you all and I hope that you will continue to bake at home and search out new recipes for yourselves. Don’t forget my email address is at the end and you can drop me a wee line if there are any questions about recipes I have shared in the past.

A final thank you to the Ulster Herald and Strabane Chronicle for publishing my little effort each week – it has been really exciting seeing my recipes in print!

So for today I thought I would leave on a celebratory note – a strawberry summer gateau – a really simple dessert that can be made for a party or a barbecue and will definitely leave an impression on your guests! So for the last time…enjoy…happy baking!

• 275g self raising flour.
• 275g margarine.
• 275g caster sugar.
• Five eggs.
•Splash of milk if needed.


• 200ml double cream.
• Punnet of strawberries.
• Two tablespoons icing sugar.
• One teaspoon vanilla extract.

1. Preheat the oven to 170C (fan). Grease and line three 7.5inch round cake tins with baking parchment.
2. Use the all in one method to combine the flour, sugar, margarine and eggs. Use an electric mixer to beat it together until it is a smooth batter.
3. Split the cake mixture evenly between the three tins and smooth out to the sides.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden brown. Turn out onto cooling racks and leave to cool completely.
5. Meanwhile, whip the cream with the vanilla and icing sugar until it is just firm – don’t over whip it or it will split and go grainy.
6. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries, leaving a few whole for decoration.
7. Start to assemble the gateau (see tip). Lay the first sponge top side down.
Spread a layer of cream on the sponge and top the cream with a layer of strawberries – keep the layer as flat and even as possible. Add another sponge and repeat.
Add the final sponge top side up and layer with cream and the final few whole strawberries.
8. Serve immediately. It can be kept in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving but definitely not the day after.

Tip of the week


If possible, assemble the gateau on the plate or stand you will be using as there will be less risk of it toppling or falling if you try to move it! Also, you can use raspberries or a mixture of summer fruits if you prefer as well – the choice is yours! Here is my email for the last time – any questions – get in touch! Thanks and goodbye!