This week really felt like Summer had arrived, and with a little hope on the horizon with a little easing of lockdown in the UK, I thought I would share a Summer celebration cake to mark the (socially distanced, outdoor) occasion. This Victoria sponge with strawberries and white chocolate cream is feather light, with a genoise sponge where whisking is the only raising agent! It’s well worth the wee bit of extra effort for this melt in the mouth cake. Filled with strawberry compote or jam and a whipped white chocolate ganache, it’s sheer Summer indulgence. To make it, you will need:
For the white chocolate cream:
70g white chocolate, finely chopped
70ml double cream, plus an extra 120ml to finish.
Strawberry jam, or 250g strawberries chopped with 70g caster sugar and 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice to make a compote by heating for 5 minutes on the hob until the sugar has melted and mixture thickened.
For the sponge:
4 large eggs
100g caster sugar
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod
Finely grated zest of one lemon
60g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
1/8 tsp salt
150g hulled strawberries, sliced into 1/2 centimetre pieces (optional)
1 tsp icing sugar, for dusting.
I made half the recipe for a smaller cake and it still worked okay!
To make the white chocolate cream, place the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside. Warm the cream in a small, heavy-based saucepan over a medium-low heat until just starting to simmer. Then pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Leave to sit for a few minutes then stir gently until the chocolate has melted and fully combined with the cream. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold.
Preheat the oven to 170C/ 150C Fan/ Gas 4. Line a large baking tray with parchment and place in eight 8 cm cake rings, uncreased and unlined on top, and set aside. Otherwise you can make this in a 20cm round springform tin, lined with baking parchment. Put enough water into a medium saucepan so it rises about 5 cm up the sides – you want your bowl to fit in the saucepan and sit over the water without touching it. Bring the water to a boil then reduce to a simmer. To make the sponge, melt the butter then set aside to cool. Place the eggs, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium bowl and place on top of the pan of simmering water, again making sure it doesn’t touch the water. Whisk with a hand-held electric whisk for five minutes, until the mixture is frothy, creamy and warm. Remove the bowl from the heat and keep whisking until the mixture has tripled in volume and is no longer warm.
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl and sift twice. When the egg mixture is ready, sift half the flour over the mixture and gently fold in with a rubber spatula. Sift the remaining flour over the mixture and fold again. Drizzle the cool, melted butter down the sides of the bowl, fold in gently and swiftly.
Spoon the mixture into the cake rings/ tin – two-thirds up the sides – and bake for 15-18 minutes or 25 minutes if baking one large cake, until golden brown and the cake bounces back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool for twenty minutes before removing from the rings/ tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. When ready to assemble, whisk the white chocolate with the extra cream on a medium-high setting until combined, thick and just holding on the whisk. Be careful not to over-whip!
Cut the cakes through the middle and spread with your strawberry jam or compote.
Add half of the white chocolate cream, then the sliced strawberries, then the rest of the white chocolate cream. Top with the other half of the sponge and dust with icing sugar.
What are you baking this weekend?