Strawberry sponge cake
This month our beneficiary, Marie Curie are asking their supporters to throw a Blooming Great Tea Party to help them raise funds for their incredible cause.
Every tea party makes a difference – however large or small. And with this showstopping recipe by Fiona Cairns’, throwing a tea party this June really is a piece of cake!
for the cake
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. To make the three-tiered cake, take three 20cm round sandwich tins. Butter the tins and line the bases with baking parchment. If you have only two tins, then make the cake mixture and divide it evenly into three batches, baking the third as soon as a tin becomes free.
For this cake, I use an electric mixer and beater attachment, but you can use a food processor, or a bowl, add the butter, eggs, lemon zest and sugar, and beat well, adding the cordial towards the end. Be careful not to over-mix, as you want a light cake.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. (To halve the recipe, bake in two 20cm tins for 20-25 minutes.) Remove from the oven, leaves for a couple of minutes, run a knife around the rim to loosen the cakes from the tins and turn out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave to cool completely. Trim the cakes flat.
For the filling and decoration
Slice 400g of the strawberries and toss in a bowl with the sugar and vanilla, leave all the flavours to mingle for 30 minutes.
Whip the cream until soft peaks form, adding the cordial slowly just as it begins to thicken. Place one cake on a cake stand and spread with a layer of cream and half the slice strawberries. Repeat with another cake, a layer of cream and the remaining sliced strawberries. Top with the last cake. Spread the remaining cream all over the top and sides.
Take the best-shaped strawberries and cut 10-12 in half. Place the halved strawberries, cut side up in a circle around the edge of the cake, and pile up the rest in the centre. Cut the remaining strawberries into slices – or in half – and press into the cream all around the sides.
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For the cake
- 450g unsalted butter, really soft, diced, plus more for the tins
- 450g self-raising flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 8 eggs, lightly beaten
- Finely grated zest of 2 large unwaxed lemons
- 450g golden caster sugar
- 4 tbsp elderflower cordial
For the elderflower cream
- 1.2kg ripe, even-sized
- Strawberries, cleaned, dried and hulled
- 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 600ml double cream
- 8 tbsp elderflower cordial