Sunday, 18 May 2014

Lemon Sponge Cake with Lemon Curd & Raspberries

Life has been rather busy lately, and following my exploits on MasterChef Ireland, I’m being asked to do quite a bit of cooking and baking and, to be honest, I am more than happy to oblige. By now it is fairly evident that I love cooking for others; for me providing delicious food and meals is the ultimate in showing those I care about, how much I love them. This is what cooking is all about for me – cooking for others and seeing the pleasure that eating something tasty gives.

I’m not a great fan of trendy foods or cookery fads. Ultimately, good food has to be about taste and flavour, if it fails on that front, it’s failed, no matter how artistic or beautiful it looks. Having said that, I fully accept that we also “eat with our eyes” and that conversely, if something looks terrible, people won’t feel compelled to eat it, even if it tastes wonderful.


Although I love cooking food for others to enjoy, there are times when I cook or bake something because it is what I want to eat.

I love lemons; I love cake; I love sweet things and a feeling that I am spoiling myself and for me this cake encompasses all of that. At heart, this is a simple Victoria sponge, flavoured with lemon zest and filled with lemon curd, softly whipped cream and some fresh raspberries – it’s that simple… and the truth is that despite its simplicity, it looks a little decadent and tastes amazing. I have made this cake countless times and I love it.
Without sounding completely pretentious, there’s a sense of hope about this cake – it’s zesty with a beautiful balance between the sweetness of the cake and the tartness of the fruit, but it is also comforting and somehow reassuring. The last week has been one of those up-and-down weeks, and this cake was the perfect antidote to some of the trials and tribulations faced.
 
I have previously posted a recipe for homemade lemon curd, but if you can get your hands on some good quality jars of lemon curd, by all means use that instead. I baked the sponge cake layers in thee 15cm sandwich tins, but you could use two 20cm tins instead and just increase the baking time by a few minutes.

I love this cake – I hope you will try out the recipe and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
 

Ingredients:

200g butter, softened200g caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
200g self-raising flour, sifted
To finish:
250mls single cream, softly whipped
6tblsp lemon curd
150g fresh raspberries
A little icing sugar

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan Oven 160C/Gas Mark 4. Using non-stick baking parchment, base line three 15cm round sandwich tins with removable bases.
2. Place the butter, sugar and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric mixer, cream together until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the eggs, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and fold in with a large metal spoon until just incorporated.
3. Divide the cake batter evenly between the three prepared cake tins, smoothing out the surface of each with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the sponges are well risen, a golden colour and the edge of the sponge is beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tins. Remove from the oven and let them cool in the tins for about 10 minutes and then remove from the tins and place on a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Make sure you have removed the baking parchment.
To finish:
4. If the sponges have peaked slightly during baking, carefully trim the tops of two of them so that you have flat layers when you begin to assemble the cake. (There is no need to trip the sponge that will be uppermost on your assembled cake).
5. Place one sponge layer on your serving plate or cake stand and spread over half the lemon curd. Scatter over half the raspberries, followed by half the whipped cream. Top with the other trimmed sponge. Spread over the remaining lemon curd, scatter the rest of the raspberries and finish with a layer of cream as before. Top with the remaining sponge layer and dust gently with some icing sugar.

Serves 6 - 8.