This is for cheering you up in bad weather, giving you something to look forward to. It’s very rich, a little goes a long way, but it’s a great mood-enhancer, so it was a good choice for my Seniors Lunch Club this week – we all needed cheering up after the gloom of floods, frost and pestilence.
It’s the same cake recipe as I made a few weeks ago, a vanilla Genoese sponge. This time I filled it with a decadent white chocolate and buttercream fluffy filling and topped it with raspberry jam and desiccated coconut. The jam was just acid enough to take the edge off the extremely sweet filling, but some of my Seniors couldn’t manage their whole piece in one sitting and had to split it over two days – double the pleasure really, so why not?
We discussed what we like about the month of February – for such a dark dank month, there’s actually quite a lot to appreciate: many birthdays, Valentine’s Day, pancake Day, Chinese New Year, the garden bulbs starting to come up and the birds starting to sing. Our Australian volunteer gave us a word-picture of February in Australia – extremely hot, insects humming a low background note, wearing sandals to school – feels like more than half a world away. I don’t think the icing in this cake would survive a Sydney February, so keep it for the British winter, and let it warm you through.
Genoese Sponge – makes 16 portions. Timings – 15 minutes preparation, 25 minutes cooking, 1 hour to cool down, and 15 minutes to fill and ice.
Filling – 200g butter, 200g icing sugar, 100g white chocolate melted.
Topping – 100g raspberry jam, warmed up, and 6 tablespoons desiccated coconut.
Pre heat your oven to 180°C.
In your mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until fluffy – takes about 5 minutes. At the same time melt the butter in a small pan – then take it off the heat - and weigh out and sieve the flour. Grease and line a cake tin – for this amount I use a 22cm square tin, which makes a cake that is also easy to portion out.
When the eggs/sugar mix is beaten up, add the flour gradually, beating on a lower speed. Spoon the butter on top and mix up the whole thing gently with a metal spoon – this keeps the air in the mix better than the rather coarser effect of a wooden spoon.
Scoop the batter into the cake tin and place in the oven for about 20 minutes until the cake is risen, golden on top and springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
Take it out, and leave to cool on a wire rack, then turn it out of the tin, peel off the paper, turn right way up again and leave to cool completely. At this stage, you can wrap it well in greaseproof paper and freeze it if you like.
Make the filling: beat the butter in your mixer until turning fluffy and add the icing sugar one spoonful at a time – you will need to put a teatowel over your mixer while doing this to avoid sugar-dusting the whole kitchen. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl over hot water, and when melted, pour straight into the mixer, keeping the whisk running. You will notice the already fluffy butter/sugar mixture take on an almost mousse-like texture.
Slice the cake through the equator carefully with a bread knife and fill with the white chocolate buttercream. Top with the warm raspberry jam and immediate sprinkle on your desiccated coconut so that it sticks nicely.
Eat within 2 days, and if you take a piece round to a friend, recommend that they keep it in the fridge to ensure the icing doesn’t run!
A Hug from the Kitchen
Healthy, hearty, happy food, for good times and bad. Cheer yourself up, or spread the cheer around your family and friends.