Discussing all things 'Summer' with the team, our favourite destinations, drinks, Wimbledon and of course recipes, we all kept coming back to Strawberries. My mind jumped back to a recipe my mother used to make, whenever the Strawberries were fresh in the garden, it always felt like a celebration of summer.
She called it her Strawberry Summer Cake, I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, but I called her up to ask for it - she searched high and low, but to no avail. Luckily Mum made this cake every summer for about 20 years - and some of the method clearly stuck, because she was able to talk me through the important points. But the rest, I've had to work out for myself. So here goes.
The cake has three main elements; a vanilla sponge, meringue and cream (oh, and loads of strawberries). The really cool part is that you bake the meringue on top of the sponge - makes it extra gooey - yum!
For the Vanilla Sponge Cake
250g Caster Sugar
250g Unsalted Butter (Soft - leave out of the fridge for an hour)
4 Tbsp Milk
2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
250g Plain Flour
4 Tsp Baking Powder
For the Meringue
4 Large Eggs
225g White Caster Sugar
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
For the Cream Filling & Topping
600ml Double or Whipping Cream
1 Tbsp Caster Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
Lots of Strawberries (at least 500g)
- Pre-heat oven to 165c (330F)
- Grease and line two 20cm (8inch) sandwich tins (use the amazing ones from MasterClass pictured)
- Cream together the Butter and Caster Sugar (electric whisk for a couple of minutes)
- Mix in the eggs, milk and vanilla extract
- Add the flour and baking powder, mix to a smooth batter
- Divide between the sandwich tins (don't fill up to the brim, it's important to leave some space for the sponge to rise, and the meringue layer)
- Clean and dry the mixing bowl and electric whisk (it's important to be clean and dry before whisking the egg whites, otherwise they won't fluff up)
- Separate the 4 egg whites from the yolks (you only need the whites, so why not make some ice-cream with the yolks)
- Egg whites into the clean mixing bowl with the Caster Sugar and whisk until fluffed up, creamy and shiny
- Divide the meringue mixture between the two sandwich tines - on top of the sponge mixture
- Place in the oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (this is a long bake for a sponge, and a short bake for a meringue - hence the temperature is halfway between sponge and meringue norms)
- Pop the baked sponge/meringues out to cool on racks
- Slice half your strawberries, keep half whole for the top of the cake
- When the cake has cooled, whisk your Cream with Vanilla Extract and Sugar until quite firm (stop before it become butter)
- Now for assembly. Invert one of the cakes on to a plate - meringue side down
- Cover in cream, then a generous layer of sliced strawberries, add a second layer of cream
- Place the second cake - sponge side down, meringue side up - on top
- Cover in cream, top sides, leave it lumpy and bumpy
- Just take top green tops off the rest of the strawberries and cover the top of the cake
- That's it, slice and enjoy - ideally outside on a sunny summer's day
Will keep well in the fridge for a day or two.
The combination of gooey meringue, firm sponge, decadent vanilla cream and fresh tart strawberries is just amazing. Thank you Mum.