Saturday, July 27, 2013

Recipe: Summer Berry Cake

A summer sponge cake is the perfect treat for a kids' party, Afternoon Tea or just as a thank you to someone special. When it comes to a sponge cake, the recipe really is very straight forward which is why using the very best ingredients including free-range eggs, good quality unsalted butter, and of course topping the cake with fresh in-season local berries is a must for a really memorable cake.
The one berry I really like is the loganberry which is tricky enough to come across, but well worth it when you do. Loganberries will start to appear in late July, they are a natural hybrid, a cross between a blackberry, and a raspberry, but are longer and darker than a raspberry. For this recipe, I picked up a pot of Loganberry Jam from the local Farmers' Market for the filling and it gave the cake a tremendous taste. However, raspberry jam or even strawberry jam works just as well.

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(Serves 8)

Shopping List

- 175g Unsalted Butter (cubed and at room temperature)
- 175g Caster Sugar
- 175g Free Range Eggs (at room temperature)
- 175g Plain Flour (sifted)
- 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- 450g Softly Whipped Cream
- 8 Tbsp Loganberry Jam (or strawberry / raspberry)
- 350g Fresh In Season Irish Berries
(Loganberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Blackberries)
- Shavings of White Chocolate to decorate (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / gas mark 4. Lightly grease two 20cm sandwich cake tins with melted butter and line the bases of each with baking parchment.

2. In a wide bowl, cream the butter well with a wooden spoon until very soft and pale, then add in the sugar and mix with an electric hand whisk until very light and fluffy. Taking time at this stage in the baking will reward you with a much lighter cake.

3. Gently add the eggs one-by-one, beating well after each addition, adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg to avoid the mixture from curdling. Add in the vanilla extract, before gently folding in the flour. The mixture should fall easily off a spoon, if it doesn't add in a tablespoon or two of buttermilk to loosen it up.

4. Weigh your mixture and divide equally between the two lined tins and smooth the tops with the back of a soup spoon. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean the cake is baked. Leave to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Once cooled, spread the inside of one of the sponges evenly with raspberry jam. Evenly spread half the whipped cream on the inside of the second layer and sandwich the two together. Decorate the top of the cake with the remainder of the cream and decorate with fresh berries as in the picture above.

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Styling: Dermie