One of my recent cake inventions - a standard Victoria Sandwich Sponge with a few delicious additions. Fresh oranges and lemons, lemon curd, crystallised violets and mascarpone cheese make this basic sponge cake moist and special enough for the Easter Sunday tea-time table, or for Mum on Mother's Day.
8 ounces butter, softened
crystallised violets or sugar, flowers to decorate
lemon curd, to spread
8 tablespoons lemon curd or 8 tablespoons orange curd
8 ounces mascarpone cheese
2 large oranges, zest and juice
8 ounces self raising flour, sifted
4 eggs, beaten
8 ounces caster sugar
orange zest curls
Keeps for up to one week in a tin, in a cool place. Sponge cakes can be frozen for up to 2 months - allow to defrost for 4 to 6 hours on a cooling rack, before icing and decorating.
Pre-heat oven to 150C or 300°F. Grease and line two 8" sandwich tins/sponge cake tins.
Beat the sugar and butter together until light, fluffy, and almost white in colour; this can take up to 5 minutes, and is crucial for a light sponge cake. Add the grated zest of two oranges.
Add the beaten eggs and then GENTLY fold the flour in with a metal spoon.
Divide the mixture between the two cake tins and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until light golden brown and risen. To check whether the cakes are cooked - insert a skewer in the middle of the cake, it should come away clean if it is cooked.
Pour a little of orange juice over the cakes slowly, allowing them to absorb the juice. (Save the rest of the juice for other cooking or to add to drinks) Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool; allow to cool completely before decorating and icing.
Meanwhile, fold the lemon or orange curd into the mascarpone cream and mix well. (Add more to taste, I sometimes add at least half a big jar!).
When the cakes are cool, spread some lemon or orange curd on to one side of both cakes, this stops the mascarpone cream from making the cakes too soggy. Place one cake on to a cake plate, curd side up and swirl some of the mascarpone cream over the cake, place the other cake, curd side down on top of the other cake, making a sandwich.
Finish decorating the top of the cake with the remaining mascarpone cream, swirling it over the top of the cake. Just before serving, decorate with crystallised violets or other preserved/sugar flowers. Grate some orange curls, sprinkle them over the top, and serve the cake cut into wedges.