There are certain foods that sum up a season. One of them is strawberries and the British summer. To get them at their best you need that mix of sunshine and rain that only a British summer can provide. We have strawberries growing now in our garden and locally the pick-your-own farms will be opening soon. It is one of the few British fruits that can be found in abundance everywhere.
The basis of this sponge is just a Victoria Sponge Cake but it is the filling that topping that really turn it into something special. You can buy freeze dried strawberries from supermarkets in the baking aisle or order them online in bigger quantities. By being freeze dried they really do give an intense flavour hit and turn something quite ordinary in something very special. At bake sales this is always the first cake to sell out.
Equipment: 2x 20cm (8in) sandwich tins greased and lined, large bowl, electric whisk/beaters, wire racks.
8oz (225g) Unsalted butter softened or baking spread
8oz (225g) Caster sugar
8oz (225g) Self-raising flour
2tsp (10ml) Baking powder
½ tsp (2.5ml) Vanilla extract
3½ oz (100g) Unsalted butter softened
5½ oz (150g) Icing sugar, sifted
1tbsp (15ml) Hot water
7g Freeze dried strawberries
Enough strawberries to slice in half to decorate the top.
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
2. In a large bowl put all the cake ingredients and whisk for several minutes until pale and fluffy.
3. Transfer the cake mixture equally between the two prepared tins and gently spread out and level the tops.
4. Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes until the tops are golden and the cake starts to come away from the sides.
5. Leave for a couple of minutes in the tins before turning out onto the wire racks. Leave to cool completely.
6. When the sponges have cooled prepare the buttercream.
7. In a large bowl beat the butter until it is very soft. Add the icing sugar and beat until. It may take a few minutes to come together but beat until the two are thoroughly mixed.
8. Add the hot water and beat together.
9. Stir in the freeze dried strawberries.
10. Assemble the cakes by spreading one of the layers with half of the buttercream.
11. Place the second layer on top and spread the remaining buttercream on it.
12. Finish with the sliced strawberries.