As if life isn’t confusing enough, these past couple of August days have been so warm, I have been wondering if we aren’t being set up for an early Spring. I almost wish Winter wasn’t disappearing so quickly. Not a single chestnut or perfumed quince managed to pass through my kitchen this season and the thin film of dust on my favourite braising pot remains.. undisturbed. Besides, I still haven’t made a decision on which slow cooker to get and don’t think I’m ready for the smell of sun screen lotion or the sight of people walking to their city offices in business suits and flip flops.
But the great advantage of living in a country with temperate weather is this is often the best time of the year to be expecting luscious strawberries. They aren’t exceptionally cheap at the moment (but then again, berries rarely are), however I did manage to buy enough recently to make a very delicious strawberry and vanilla pie.
This weekend, I wanted something a little simpler, hence these little cakes which are like bite-sized nuggets of brown butter, vanilla and juicy strawberries. A plateful of these and you know what, I think I’m almost ready to give up Winter.
Mini Strawberry Buckwheat Cakes :
150g icing sugar, sifted
55g plain flour
90g buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 egg whites
1 x 250g punnet of strawberries (eat the extras while you work!)
Cook the butter in a pan on medium heat until it turns a nut-brown colour. Carefully strain through a sieve into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
Sift the icing sugar and flours into a bowl. Lightly whisk the egg whites and vanilla essence together to combine. Whisk this into the sugar and flours, then add the cooled browned butter.
Line a mini muffin tin with little squares of baking paper (or grease the tin well and dust with a light sprinkling of flour). Spoon the mixture (or pour with the help of a jug) into each muffin hole. Top with half a strawberry (or quarter the strawberries, if they are especially large). Bake in a preheated 205′C oven until a skewer inserted into a little cake comes out clean, about 15-18 minutes.
Dust with extra icing sugar and eat while they’re still warm.