Finally, the weather is warming up. Finally, we’re getting some sunny days for picnics and sponge cakes by the creek. Here’s a recipe I recently shot as part of a collaboration with Basil Bangs, makers of the most beautiful, bright and hardworking umbrellas and gear for beach, picnic, and home.
Peaches and cream sponge cake
Oh but this is a lovely cake. I like to make it in a slab-style cake tin, but a round one would also be fabulous.
Here we’ve gone with a filling of poached peaches and softly whipped cream, but you could add any seasonal fruit or even a lemon or passionfruit curd.
Recipe was inspired by a sponge given in the wonderful book Beatrix Bakes
Prep time 20 mins
Cook time 20 mins|
A pinch/1/4 tsp cream of tartar
150g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste
Zest of one lemon
100g plain flour
30g custard powder
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
20g butter, melted
60mls milk, warm
For the peaches
6 ripe peaches
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 vanilla pod or tsp vanilla paste
2 cups cream, whipped until soft peaks form
To poach the peaches, combine the water, sugar and vanilla (split the pod in half and scrape the seeds into the pot, add the pod halves, too) in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir so the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the peaches. Place a piece of baking paper on top to stop the fruit from bobbing up and discolouring at the top. Leave the peaches to poach for 30 minutes.
Remove the fruit from the poaching liquid with a slotted spoon and peel away the skin. Increase the heat over the poaching liquid and boil for about 15 minutes to reduce down by about a third. Return peaches to the poaching liquid and leave to cool.
For the cake;
Preheat oven to 170C and line the base of one rectangular cake tin (as per pic) or two 20cm cake tins with baking paper. Grease the sides and lightly flour.
Separate the eggs and place the whites in the bowl of your mixer with the cream of tartar. Whisk until white peaks form, then add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time and keep whisking for a few more minutes or until you have a glossy meringue. Turn the speed of your mixer down, then gradually add the egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest, whisking as you go and for another 10 seconds once you’ve added the last yolk.
Sift the flour, custard powder, baking powder and sea salt together. Gently fold into the egg and sugar mixture.
Now whisk the butter, milk and vanilla together and add, still warm, to the batter, folding together gently until well incorporated.
Transfer batter to your cake tins and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake is a pale golden colour.
Let cool in the tin for about 5 minutes then gently turn out onto a cooling rack.
Slice the cake in half and spread the cream on one half (or spread on one of your two round cakes). Slice the poached peaches on top of the cream and finish with the top of your cake. Keep in the fridge till ready to take out! I feel like this cake is better after it’s had a few hours to ‘set’ in the fridge; easier to cut, and the flavours seem to settle better with a little time!
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