Cuisine - - PREVIEW -

MAKES A 20CM CAKE The sponge is quite a tra­di­tional one, spiked with al­mond, lemon and vanilla and then doused in el­der­flower and sand­wiched with an easy goose­berry com­pote and a yo­ghurt ic­ing. It is ev­ery­thing I love about sum­mer cakes. It’s not very fancy but this is on pur­pose, as un­less it’s a big oc­ca­sion I like my cakes sim­ple and nat­u­ral, gen­tly frosted, so that they tell the story of what’s in them rather than hid­ing the in­gre­di­ents be­hind a thick layer of but­ter and su­gar.

If you plan to eat this over a few days I sug­gest keep­ing the fill­ing and sponge sep­a­rate and ic­ing each slice as you go, as the cake keeps bet­ter out of the fridge but the ic­ing does need re­frig­er­at­ing. This cake can eas­ily be made with frozen goose­ber­ries if you want a hit of early sum­mer at another time of year – who wouldn’t. 200g un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus ex­tra for greas­ing 100g golden caster su­gar 100g light mus­co­v­ado su­gar 250g light spelt flour 2 tea­spoons bak­ing pow­der 100g ground al­monds 150ml milk (I use whole or oat milk) 3 or­ganic eggs the seeds from 1 vanilla pod the zest of 1 un­waxed lemon Pre­heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan. Grease a deep 20cm spring­form cake tin and line it with bak­ing pa­per.

In the bowl of an elec­tric mixer, or with an elec­tric hand whisk, cream the soft but­ter and sug­ars to­gether un­til al­most white and fluffy. In a sep­a­rate bowl whisk to­gether the flour, bak­ing pow­der and ground al­monds to get rid of any lumps. Add half the dry mix­ture to the but­ter and mix well, add the milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest, then mix in the re­main­ing dry in­gre­di­ents. Scrape around the bot­tom of the bowl and mix again. Pour the bat­ter into the tin, us­ing the back of a spoon or a spat­ula to level out the top, then bake for 1 hour, un­til the top of the cake springs back and is soft to the touch. Cool for 15 min­utes in the tin,then move to a rack to cool com­pletely. While the cake is in the oven, get on with the com­pote and ic­ing. FOR THE GOOSE­BERRY COM­POTE 300g goose­ber­ries, topped and tailed 2 ta­ble­spoons el­der­flower and rose cor­dial (recipe fol­lows)

or use a good-qual­ity bought ver­sion 50g golden caster su­gar To make the com­pote, place the goose­ber­ries in a saucepan with the cor­dial and su­gar. Place the saucepan over a medium heat, bring to a sim­mer and turn the heat down to low. Con­tinue to cook gen­tly for 20-30 min­utes, un­til the goose­ber­ries are com­pletely soft, have burst to re­lease their juices and have started to turn jammy. Leave to cool com­pletely. FOR THE WHIPPED YO­GHURT IC­ING 200g Greek yo­ghurt 50g golden ic­ing su­gar Stir to­gether the yo­ghurt and ic­ing su­gar un­til you have a spoon­able ic­ing and store in the fridge un­til needed. TO FIN­ISH fresh el­der­flow­ers (if you can get them) Once the cake has cooled com­pletely, use a long ser­rated knife to slice it hor­i­zon­tally through the mid­dle. I find the best way to do this is to gen­tly skirt around the edge of the cake with your knife, cut­ting just 1cm into the cake ex­actly half­way down so that you have a line to fol­low, then go all the way through fol­low­ing the line you have cut – this will give you a more even re­sult.

Lift the whole cake on to a serv­ing plate, then care­fully lift off the top layer – you can slide it on to a plate to do this if you feel hap­pier – and spread the bot­tom with the yo­ghurt mix­ture and then the goose­berry com­pote. Cover with the top of the cake and sprin­kle over some el­der­flow­ers to fin­ish.

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