Summer berry sponge
Happy summer solstice everyone! It’s the longest day of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, which means more hours of daylight (and hopefully sunshine) and as far as I’m concerned that’s cause for celebration. One year (a really, really long time ago) I actually spent the summer solstice at Stonehenge, which really was quite a party!
I think this cake is a perfect celebration of summer with all those juicy seasonal berries, it actually reminds me a little bit of a Swedish Midsummer Cake. It’s essentially a gussied-up Victoria sponge but with white chocolate frosting that makes it just a little bit more special. Whether you’re celebrating the solstice or not, how could you resist a slice of this!?
the weight of the eggs (inc shells) in butter, sugar and self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
zest of 1 lemon
150g mixed berries (whatever is in season)
1/2 tbsp cornflour
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp cornflour
100g white chocolate
100g butter, room temperature
extra berries to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease two sandwich tins. Place a disc of baking parchment in the base of each just to be extra certain that nothing is going to stick.
Weigh your eggs, in their shells so that you know how much flour, butter and sugar you’ll need.
Sift together the flour and baking powder a couple of times and set it aside. This will get plenty of air into it.
Beat together the lemon zest, butter and sugar until it is pale, thick and fluffy, this should take a minute or two using a hand or stand mixer.
Lightly beat each egg and mix them into the butter and sugar one at a time. Follow each one with a spoonful of the flour and beat it well. Sift the remaining flour into the batter in two batches and carefully fold it in.
Finally stir in the milk to loosen the mixture to a nice soft dropping consistency. Divide the cake batter evenly between the two prepared tins and level off the tops. Bake them in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes. Once the time is up open the oven door and test that the sponges are cooked with a skewer. Give them another minute or two if it doesn’t come out clean. They should feel light and springy once they are cooked.
Put the cooked sponges on a wire rack and let them cool in the tins for five minutes then turn them out on the rack and carefully remove the greaseproof paper. Allow them to completely cool before you fill them.
Whilst the cakes bake and cool you can make the filling and frosting so that they have time to cool too.
Combine the berries with the sugar, cornflour and lemon juice in a small pan. Heat the fruit
until it starts to break down a little and the juices thicken to create a jammy compote. Leave to cool and thicken.
Next it’s onto the frosting. Whisk together the sugar, flour and cornflour in a small saucepan. Stir in the milk, making sure that it’s all well blended and then set the pan over a low heat. Gently heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until it starts to bubble and forms a very thick custard. Set this aside to cool completely. Melt the chocolate and let this cool too.
Put the cold custard mixture into a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer until it is slightly aerated. Beat in the melted chocolate and then follow this with the butter, adding a little at a time until it is all incorporated and you have a nice thick, fluffy frosting.
To assemble the cake place one of the sponges on a serving plate and spread it with the berry compote. Top this with half of the frosting and then sandwich on the second sponge. Use the remaining frosting to decorate the top, spreading it smoothly and just lightly grazing the sides of the cake. Finish it off by piling some pretty, fresh berries into the centre of the cake and adding a quick dusting of icing sugar.