Somehow this cake manages to be timeless, yet charmingly old fashioned at the same time. With its delicate pink icing, it is beautiful to behold o a Table laden with other teatime treats. These days, afternoon tea feels like an indulgence- a special opportunity to relax and enjoy the luxurious food with time to spare, so rare these days.
10g butter, melted, plus extra to grease tins
240g self raising flour, plus extra to dust
5 organic free-range eggs, separated
275g caster flour, plus extra to dust
Small pinch of sea salt
5 tbsp warm water
100g perfectly ripe English strawberries, hulled
120g icing sugar
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
250g strawberries, hulled (except for a few, to finish)
120 double cream, at room teperature
Preheat the over to 180°c/Gas 4. Line two 23cm round cake tins with baking parchement, brush the parchement and sides of the tins lightly with melted butter, then dust with a little flour.
Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and almost doubled in volume; this may take around 10 minutes, so be patient. Stir the flour over the mixture and graduallyin, a large metal spoon or spatula.
Now whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl with a pinch of salt until soft peak form. Carefully fold in the sponge mixture, a third at a time. Finally, gently fold in the melted butter and warm water.
Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared cake tins. Bake on the middle shelft of the oven for 20 minutes or until each cake has slightly shrunk away from the edge of the tin and springs back when lightly pressed in the centre. Turn out carefully and cool on a wire rack.
To make the icing, pruée the strawberries in a blender until smooth, then strain through a sieve into a bowl. Add the icing sugar, butter and orange zest to the blender (there’s no need to rinse it first) and blend until pale and creamy. Now add the strawberries and process briefly to a beautifully coloured icing. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
For the filling, halve the strawberries lengthways. Whip the cream until thick, the spread over one sponge cake. Layer the strawberries on top, the cover with the second sponge. Spread the pale icing over the surface, using a palette knife. Halve the reserved strawberries, arrange them on the top of the cake and dust lightly with caster sugar to finish.