Victoria Sponge

This victoria sponge recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart strawberry shortcake recipe, but since I spread some jam between the layers I thought a Victoria Sponge was a more befitting name. It’s no ordinary victoria sponge- instead of light and fluffy sponge or chiffon cakes for the cake layers, this one is a marzipan-cornmeal pound cake. It isn’t very heavy and dense though, it’s still pretty fluffy and the almond flavour is so addictive and pairs very well with the jam. Atop the slick of jam on the cake is a generous layer of mascarpone cream, a cool and neutral flavour to tame down the sweetness of the cake. I topped the cakes with the tiniest and cutest English strawberries- instant kitschy cute. Almost unbearably cute..

Blueberry love

I’ve been obsessing over my blueberry plant ever since it started to ripen, very beautifully I might add. Blue begins to marble the skin and within a day or two the entire fruit turns from green to a dusty blue, then whole bunches turn blue then the whole tree.. it’s quite exciting watching it happening! My plant was heavy with ripe fruit a few days ago so I decided it was time to pick them and bake something. There wasn’t enough for pie or a crumble so a pound cake it was. There’s also some sliced rhubarb in it, since I had two stalks that needed to be used. Rhubarb and almond go hand-in-hand so in went some marzipan into the batter, and also some cream cheese.. I replaced a bit of the flour with ground almonds and this resulted in the cake falling after it was removed from the oven, but that’s ok- it was still delicious.

For a “regular” sized loaf pan:

170g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
90g blueberries
1 stalk rhubarb, cut into 0.5-1cm chunks
170g self raising flour
20g ground almonds
160g butter
160g cream cheese
40g marzipan (I used Anthon Berg 60% Almond Marzipan)
50ml milk
2 eggs

1. Grease and line a loaf tin, preheat oven to 160°.

2. Cream butter, sugar and marzipan until light and fluffy. Add egg one at a time, then add the cream cheese, vanilla and milk.

3. Fold in the flour and ground almonds.

4. Fill the tin 1/2 full and scatter the blueberries and rhubarb chunks (save some for the top), then top with the rest of the batter and place some blueberries and rhubarb on top.

5. Bake for about 50 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Jam

I made a simple strawberry-rhubarb jam to fill a Strawberry Shortcake/Victoria sponge. I wanted it to be quite tart so the cake wouldn’t be too sweet so I used a ratio of 80% sugar to fruit, so 800g sugar to 1kg fruit. I used about 3/4 strawberries and a quarter rhubarb, the rhubarb was just to make the flavour a little more interesting. Macerate the fruit with the sugar for 2-3 hours, then squeeze 1 whole lemon and place the squeezed lemon into the pot to boil along with the fruit until it reaches “thread-stage”. I just halved the very large strawberries and left the small ones whole because I like big chunks of fruit in my jam, but if you like it smoother, then you can chop them up smaller, of course.

 

Rhubarb & Custard Tart

Cette tarte est du livre de David Everitt Matthias, “Dessert”. Le livre est très bonne! Les recettes sont très créatifs et originaux, et les photos sont belles. Le recette utilise les jaunes d’ouefs de canard, mais j’ai utilise les jaunes d’ouef de poulet. 

“This tart is from David Everitt Matthias’ book, “Dessert”. The book is amazing! The recipes are very creative and original, and the photos are so beautiful. The recipe uses duck egg yolks, but I used chicken yolks.”

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since I got the book almost 3 years ago, but I only made it today.. what a shame! The “duck egg custard” in the title intrigued me, but ironically, I don’t quite like the overly egg-y flavour of duck eggs so I used normal hen eggs. It was really good, although my pâte sucrée crust was slightly soggy because I threw the entire thing into the fridge to cool it down quicker so we could eat it! The rhubarb was deliciously floral-fruity, and the custard! The custard was so silky smooth, like a dim sum egg tart.. Finally, ground ginger was lightly dusted and nutmeg grated over the custard before it was baked, and the tart emerged from the oven slightly puffed and the custard only just a tiny bit wobbly.

 

Rhubarb

I left Maltby St market last week with a massive haul of fresh produce, amongst them 5 stalks of bright pink forced rhubarb. I roasted them with two (!) vanilla beans and added a splash of rose water at the end. I ate them atop oatmeal with some syrup stirred through, and in this occurrence, with greek yoghurt, oat bran and crumbled ginger biscuits.

 Baked Rhubarb

♡5 stalks rhubarb
♡250g sugar
♡250g water
♡2 vanilla pods
♡rose water

1. Scrape vanilla pods and place the seeds and scraped pod into a pan with water and sugar. Bring to a boil until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Rinse and dry rhubarb, then chop into pinky-sized chunks.

3. Pour syrup over rhubarb in a roasting tin, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 150º until “al dente”. Add a splash of rose water, to taste.