Celebration Sponge Cake

image1

I made this sponge cake over the weekend for my Grandma’s 80th Birthday. I really wanted to make something special as it is widely accepted that my Grandma is one of the most amazing humans on the planet (really, she’s exceptional). This cake looked amazing, tasted delicious and is very adaptable – you can use any fruit that’s in season to put on top, and fill it with anything you like. If I was in a rush I would even be inclined to buy a sponge cake, cut in half and decorate it to get the effect with minimal time and effort.

Ingredients
For the sponge: 
3 eggs, separated
1 cup caster sugar
½ cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp cornflour

For the sweetened, thickened cream:
500ml thickened cream
Icing sugar (to taste)
Vanilla extract (to taste)

For the jam: https://bakerholicsanonymous.wordpress.com/recipes-2/frostings-icing-condiments/raspberry-jam/, alternatively you can use store bought (but it is likely to be sweeter)

For decorating: 
2 punnets fresh strawberries
1 punnet fresh raspberries
1 punnet fresh blueberries
1 pomegranate
Fresh mint

For the macarons: https://bakerholicsanonymous.wordpress.com/recipes-2/cookies-biscuits-macarons/raspberry-macarons/ (with the raspberry jam to sandwich)

Method
Make the raspberry jam according to instructions.

If desired, make the macarons according to instructions. Sandwich with some of the jam.

For the sponge: 

Preheat oven to 160°C (fan-forced). Grease two 20cm round, shallow tins and line the bases with baking paper.

Use electric beaters to beat the egg yolks, sugar, water, and vanilla for approximately 10 minutes, until very pale and thick. Wash the beaters and then, in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and baking powder until stiff peaks form.

Fold the sifted flours into the yolk mixture and then gently mix in the egg whites.

Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 20 minutes or until springy in the centre and the cake has come away from the sides of the tins.

Gently turn cakes, face up, onto wire cooling racks with clean tea towels on them (this stops the wire from denting your cakes). Leave to cool entirely.

For the Cream

Add cream, icing sugar (to taste) and vanilla extract (to taste) into a large stick blender/master container (or bowl) and blend until the cream is very thick.

To Assemble 

Lay one of your sponges top-down on your serving platter.

Spread with raspberry jam (or desired filling).

image2-4

Spread a generous layer of whipped cream on top.

image1-4

Top with strawberry slices, chopped evenly.

image2-3

Gently place the other sponge, top-side up onto the cake.

image1-3

Top liberally with cream and spread it evenly, right out to the edge (but not down the edge, you still want to see the cake).

image2-2

Top with fruit and mint leaves (the more the better often for aesthetics – and flavour!) And, if desired, place macarons with a blob of cream and a raspberry on top, evenly around the cake.

10805270_10152794404659463_823488353_n

Enjoy!

Recipe from Grandma

Australia Day Lamingtons

Happy Australia Day!! I hope all my fellow Aussies are having a lovely day & enjoying the beautiful summer weather.

Lamingtons are a quintessentially Australian dessert and consist of a rectangle or square of sponge cake (usually day old) coated in chocolate sauce and then rolled in desiccated coconut. While the origin of the lamington is contested, most historians agree that it was named after the Governor of Queensland, Lord Lamington just before Federation. Some suggest the chocolate coating was a way to make old sponge cake more appealing, others suggest Lord Lamington’s cook accidentally dropped a sponge cake into chocolate and lamingtons were the result. However they came about, lamingtons are absolutely delicious and perfect for Australia day celebrations, cake stalls, fundraisers or just with a cup of tea.

lamington-background
Image credit: Foodwise 

Ingredients
Sponge Cake
4 eggs (room temperature)
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 cup self-raising flour
¼ cup cornflour
25g butter, chopped
⅓ cup boiling water

Chocolate Icing
4 ⅔ cup icing sugar mixture
½ cup cocoa powder
20g soft butter
¾ cup milk

Coating
3 cups desiccated coconut

Image

Method
Note: the sponge is best made a day ahead, otherwise it can be too soft and difficult to work with.

Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced) and grease & flour a 20cmx30cm lamington pan, lining the base with baking paper.

Beat the eggs in a small, deep bowl with an electric mixer until pale. Gradually add sugar, and beat for 8 mins or until mixture is thick.

Meanwhile sift the flour and cornflour together 3 times. Combine butter & boiling water in a small heatproof bowl.

Transfer the egg mixture to a large bowl and sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture and use a large balloon whisk to GENTLY fold the flour into the egg mixture, followed by the butter mixture.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25mins or until the sponge springs back when touched lightly in the centre. Turn onto a wire rack to cool and cover with a tea towel overnight.

Image

Cut cake into 20 even pieces.

To make the chocolate icing, sift the icing sugar & cocoa into a large heatproof bowl, add the milk & butter and stir over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth and thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Place coconut in a shallow bowl.

Using 2 forks, dip each piece of sponge into the icing (turning gently with your forks) until coated. Hold over the bowl to drain off excess and then toss gently in coconut before transferring onto a wire rack to cool.

Image

Suitable to freeze.

Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Classic Lamingtons’