As a child my parents had a fruit farm, so for the summer months there was always an abundance of berries in our kitchen. Many were made into jam, but when time allowed my mother would make either a flan or a sponge cake, and in turn would pack it well with our home grown berries.
A sponge is one of the easiest cakes to make, but if you are a first time sponge-maker it’s important to tell you that you should beat the sugar and eggs together, using an electric mixer, for at least seven minutes. This allows the addition of plenty of air into the batter, which will help the cake to rise and it also produces an ever so light result. I’m sandwiching the cake with vanilla cream and lemon curd, but any summer jam will work well in the curds place. It isn’t necessary to top with melted chocolate, however it does add that extra touch of indulgence.
For the cake
– 5 fresh free range hen or duck eggs, weighing approx. 350g in their shells
– 175g caster sugar
– 175g plain flour, sieved
For the whipped cream
– 200mls cream
– 25g icing sugar, sieved, plus extra for dusting
– 1tsp vanilla extract
To assemble the cake
– 3tbsp lemon curd
– 150g raspberries
– 150g blueberries
– 25g milk/white chocolate, melted
– Sprigs of mint
Make the sponge cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas mark 6. Butter and flour two 8” sandwich tins then carefully line the base with two circles of parchment paper.
2. Whisk the eggs and sugar together for about 7-10 minutes until thick and fluffy.
3. Carefully fold in the sieved flour.
4. Divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake in the pre heated oven for 25 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
5. Turn the cakes out carefully onto a wire rack and leave to completely cool.
Make the whipped cream:
1. In a bowl softly whip the cream and add the icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Assemble the cake:
1. Place one cake on a serving plate and spread with a layer of lemon curd. Then top with half of the sweet vanilla cream.
2. Place the second cake on top. Top with the remaining sweet vanilla cream, raspberries and blueberries.
3. Drizzle over the melted chocolate. Dust with a little icing sugar and decorate with a few mint leaves.
4. Serve straight-away, otherwise place the cake in the fridge where it will sit comfortably for a few hours.
Her passion for cooking and love of writing merged when she started her award-winning food blog, Nessa’s Family Kitchen, in January 2010.
Now a happy mother of four, Nessa currently writes a food column for Easy Parenting and has a column in Irish Country Living.
Apron Strings is her first book. She also published a free eBook with all her family’s favourite Christmas recipes titled Nessa’s Christmas Kitchen eBook.
She lives with her husband and children in Moate, Co. Westmeath.