Everything I could imagine went wrong during the prep of this cake. I couldn’t find strawberry jam; fresh strawberries are not available in this season [luckily, I had frozen a small batch] and when I asked grocers for golden caster sugar as advised in the recipe, they looked befuddled. And if that wasn’t bad enough, my weighing scale and electric hand mixer broke.
But I was determined to make my cake look just as pretty as Jamie Oliver’s and while I’m at it, taste delicious too. I had already had the image of the perfect cake in my head; all I had to do was to turn it into reality.
An hour or so later, it was the moment of truth. And truth be told, I was very pleased with myself. The cake looked good enough to be eaten — number of pictures were sent to various people to tempt them.
For sponge cake
8 inch (20 cm) 1½ inch (4 cm) deep round sponge tins
175g self-raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
175g butter at room temperature
175g caster sugar
½ tsp vanilla essence
Icing sugar to dust
½ tsp vanilla essence
150g strawberry jam
150ml double cream
1 tablespoon caster sugar
– Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F
– Grease the cake tins and line the base with parchment paper. Dust the sides lightly with flour.
– Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Hold the sieve high to give it a good airing.
– Add the butter, caster sugar and vanilla essence to the mixture. Whisk the ingredients using a hand mixer or a wooden spoon until the mixture drops off the spoon when tapped. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little water.
– Divide the mixture into two, spoon them in the cake tins and level them out.
– Place the tins in the middle shelf of the oven. Allow to cook for 35 minutes, don’t open your oven for the first 30 minutes.
– While the cake is baking in the oven, prepare your strawberries and cream by warming the strawberry jam lightly on a low flame. Take it off the heat and add the strawberries to it.
– In a large bowl, add the cream, caster sugar and vanilla essence and whisk until you have soft peaks.
– After 35 minutes, to test, poke a skewer or cocktail stick in the cake, if it’s cooked properly, it’ll come back clean. Another way to test whether the cake has been baked is touch the centre of each lightly with a finger: if it leaves no impression and the sponges spring back, they are ready.
– Allow it to cool slightly before assembling.
– Pick the least attractive sponge to go on the bottom and put it on the middle of your cake stand.
– Smear the jam and strawberry, then spread the sweetened cream on top.
– Place the second cake on top, with the pretty side facing up. Dust it with icing sugar.