Sunday afternoon tea is a ritual that demands something new and delicious every week.
These afternoon soirees are absolutely a reflection of love for my beautiful mother, and a tribute to the love of food, and the appreciation of beauty, that she passed on to me.
Quiet, humble beauty : art, and music, flowers, a listening ear, gentle colour, and soft, caressing weather.
We both of us wilt and falter under hot days, shouty people, and clashing chaos.
This cake celebrates mum using the sunny lemon, and the genius that is Japanese sponge cake.
First, make a batch of lemon curd. It needs to chill in the fridge.
The juice and zested rind of 2 lemons
2 egg yolks
90g unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
Put everything in a heatproof bowl, and set the bowl over a pan of simmering water.
Stir, just about constantly. The butter will melt, and the sugar will dissolve.
It will slowly, but surely change colour and consistency.
Don’t let it come to the boil, whatever you do.
I generally use a sugar thermometer, and at around 75 F, my curd is ready.
Don’t be worried, it’s ready when it coats the spoon. Just keep stirring, and waiting.
Chill in the fridge.
I also make the stabilised whipped cream at this stage.
This week I added 1tsp of agar agar powder, and 2 tbsp of Icing sugar to 300ml thickened cream. Whip it up, and chill (you, and the cream)
Japanese Sponge Cake
4 large eggs, separated.
1/2tsp cream of tartar
140g caster sugar
170g self raising flour. I use a soft, cake flour for this sponge.
3/4 cup milk
1/2 melted butter or vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
Preheat the oven to 160C
Grease, and flour 2 10″, or thereabouts, cake tins, and line the bases with baking paper.
Whip the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they form soft peaks.
Add the sugar in 4 separate lots, and whip until a glossy meringue forms.
In a separate bowl, whisk up the egg yolks, the milk, oil/butter, extract, flour, and salt. It looks quite gluggy, and stiffish, all is fine.
Now, take one third of your meringue, and beat it into your yolk flour mix. This slackens the whole thing up, and allows easier incorporation of the rest of the meringue.
This bit is tricky, kind of. You need to thoroughly incorporate the meringue in, without losing air and volume. Just take it slow. I use a spatula, some use a metal spoon. Just cut and fold, gently swazzle about, cut and flop the mixture from bottom to top.
Slow and steady.
Divide between your cake tins, and bake for around 30 minutes. The top of the cake will spring back when you touch it, if it’s ready. If it’s not ready, your finger will leave an imprint.
Cool the cakes in their tins for at least 20 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack.
If you tip them straight out, they tend to collapse a bit, and get an unattractive bulge in their sides…
Once cool, fill with the lemon curd and cream, and dust with icing sugar.
I also dipped lemon slices in sugar, and grilled them to decorate this week’s cake.
Have a happy, and blessed week.
’till next time