March Cake – Raspberry Cream Sponge
I just made this up. So far as I know, nowhere in the Northern Hemisphere is March peak time for raspberries. I could have made Welsh Cakes for my Seniors Lunch Club group as our theme for this week was Wales and St. David but some of our members aren’t too keen on raisins. It was my Mum’s birthday in March, and she always had pink icing on her cake, so I thought I’d do something like that. Then pink icing made me think of raspberries, and there you are. I’m sorry about the food miles, but you could make this with European frozen raspberries, so salve your conscience and do that.
This is based on the Genoese sponge that is the One True Cake – the only recipe you really need to know. I made the simplest version possible, flavoured with vanilla – which was the one my Mum always made anyway, so it’s very fitting. I just iced it with pink and white water-icing, and then filled it with whipped cream stirred up with crushed raspberries and caster sugar.
Our Seniors Lunch Club discussion was about Wales, and our memories of Wales. As we are based in Manchester and only a few miles from North Wales, we had a lot of holiday reminiscences – beaches, rain, fog, castles, mountains. We’ve loved the scenery, the history, the food, steam railways and climbing Snowdon. Holiday camps, beachside caravans and boarding houses were happy memories – not many of us had the budget to stay in hotels! We disagreed on our memories of the weather. For some, it was only sunshine in byegone Wales, but for others bad weather was to be expected and planned for – cars were packed with books, wellingtons, board games and rainy day projects.
Makes 16 squares. Timings: 1 hour to prepare and bake the cake, another hour to cool and ice.
For the water icing: 200g icing sugar, red food colouring
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a 24cm square cake tin, grease it and line with baking parchment.
Make a simple Genoese sponge: whisk the eggs and sugar together either with a mixer or over a bowl of hot water, until thick and creamy texture. This takes only about 3-4 minutes in the mixer. While these are beating up, melt the butter and sieve the flour.
Turn the mixer down to low and add the flour to the egg/sugar foam gradually, adding the vanilla essence at the same time if using. Turn off the mixer and using a metal spoon, stir in the melted butter. Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake about 30 minutes till golden on top and a skewer comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in the tin and turn out onto a rack, remove the parchment. Leave to cool.
When cool, cut the cake in half through the middle carefully using your biggest breadknife. The cake will keep fresh in a sealed tin for at least a day at this stage. It also freezes very well wrapped up in cling film, so it can be made well ahead of time.
Ice the top of the cake with water icing. Make the pink icing with most of the icing sugar and a little water and the food colouring and make up a white icing in a small bowl with the rest of the sugar. Ice the cake with the pink icing and then drizzle lines of white icing vertically across the pink. Use a skewer to drag the white icing attractively through the pink and leave to set.
Just when you are ready to eat the cake, mush up the raspberries with the caster sugar. Whip the cream until fairly stiff and then mix the raspberry slump into the cream. Spread this through the middle of the cake and put the top back on. Keep in the fridge if you aren’t eating it immediately and eat within 1 day of making.
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.