I was a wee bit late with my edible birthday present for my friend Laura this year - mainly because she'd just kindly volunteered to take one of our large carrot and honey cakes off our hands that we had left over from the Kemptown Carnival and I was in danger of enforcing cake overload on her and her boyfriend.
So a couple of weeks later I flicked through my recipe books to try and find something special with a little twist that would match Laura's bubbly personality. I couldn't see a recipe for a champagne cake which was my initial thought, but a strange connection fizzed in my brain as Melissa had the tennis on in the background and I stumbled upon a recipe for strawberries and cream cupcakes my lovely new Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache cookbook. They perfectly encapsulate Wimbledon in cake form and I love how the cases look like little tennis skirts. I have no idea if Laura even likes tennis but hoped that she would love these cute little cakes and they seemed too topical to resist. I knew the hidden strawberry jam in the middle would be right up her street so tennis fan or not they would still make a great gift for her.
These cakes also have the added bonus of being better for you - they have no fat added to the cake batter but instead use grated courgette and ground almonds giving them a wonderful flavour and texture. But what I think makes these cakes special is how all the elements of the cake, mascarpone icing, fresh strawberry and strawberry jam in the middle all balance and work together really well to become greater than the sum of their parts - if you close your eyes you're transported to Wimbledon sitting on the freshly cut grass of Murray Mount eating strawberries and cream - divine.