It's not that I'm anti-royal (having worked for Historic Royal Palaces Agency for nearly ten years, that's highly unlikely), or have any antipathy towards the Jubilee in a Morrisey kind of way, it's just that it felt rather as though it was all happening in London and so didn't really affect us here in Dorset.
|Sponge cakes look promising!|
I had, of course, known about the activity surrounding the Jubilee that the blogging world was devoting to the cause - but that wasn't anything new. After all, there only has to be a "Green Pea Day" and out come all the blogs detailing green pea recipes, (mine amongst them, very often!) so it was only to be expected that there would be heaps of baking blogs going bonkers with cupcakes in the shape of corgis, crowns and all things royal.
|Yes, very promising. Fingers crossed they cut okay!|
Well, in my own defence, it just didn't seem right to be a) on a Sunday, b) in June, c) in the televisual presence of royalty and d) following on from Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, to have anything else except an enormous confection of cake, summer berries and a dash of alcohol.
Royals to one side for a moment, I was jolly glad I did - as the Gateau was absolutely To.Die.For.
I had said in my meal planning post for that week, that I was musing upon making a fruit sponge of some sort, so the thought was in my head even then. However, it grew from a simple summer fruit sponge as time went along. It's probably just as well the Jubilee happened when it did, before I'd had a chance to consider coating the lot in chocolate or something equally damaging to our waistlines. I think it probably did enough damage as it was!
|After adding the syrup - just look at the lovely texture!|
I had a punnet of strawberries and a punnet of raspberries that we'd picked up as having been marked down in price, so I had the fruit there - and I'd bought a carton of double cream just because I anticipated requiring it for the fruit.
|Raspberry layer in place|
After that, it was just slather on the cream, add the sliced fruits and layer it up. Do a simple little decoration on top, add a little icing sugar and ta daaa! The Jubilee Gateau was born.
|Hand me a fork and make it snappy!|
Even though I knew the gateau was four layers tall, when hubby brought the slices through for dessert it still surprised me how enormous the whole thing was. In truth, however, it was no more than a Victoria Sponge cake with extra cream and fruit instead of jam (and a hit of Amaretto, of course). So simple to produce - but so very effective and so very, very tasty.
STRAWBERRY & RASPBERRY AMARETTO GATEAU (makes 6-10 slices)
200g caster sugar
200g softened butter
4 beaten eggs
200g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 drops vanilla essence
85g caster sugar (for the syrup)
2 tbsp cold water
50ml Amaretto liqueur
300ml double cream
2 tbsp icing sugar
strawberries & raspberries to fill.
1. Pre-heat your oven to 190degC/375degF/Gas5. Prepare two sandwich tins by lining with a circle of baking parchment. I included the sides of my tins in the lining, but only because they're particularly old tins - nice shiny new ones won't need this.
2. In a large bowl (I used our Kenwood Chef) place the 200g of caster sugar, the softened butter, the eggs, the flour, baking powder and vanilla essence. Starting slowly (so as to keep the flour in the bowl), begin to whisk the ingredients together - or beat them together, if you're particularly sprightly and are doing it by hand. Continue to mix until you have a soft, smooth texture whereupon you can divide the mixture equally between the two tins and smooth off the top surface.
3. Put the two tins together on the one shelf if possible, and bake for some 20 minutes or until risen, golden and the cake springs back when lightly depressed in the centre.
4. Remove the cakes from the tins and place onto a cooling rack until perfectly cool.
5. In the meantime, you can get on and make the Amaretto syrup. So take a small saucepan and place the 85g of caster sugar, the water and liqueur into it. Mix them together and heat gently until the sugar has all dissolved. Leave to cool.
6. To assemble the gateau, take each cake and very carefully with a sharp bread knife cut through to create two layers from each cake. Lay each layer out separately.
7. Taking the syrup, brush onto each cake layer, distributing the syrup equally amongst the layers until it has all gone.
8. Whip the cream with the icing sugar until it reaches soft peaks - be careful not to take it beyond this stage.
9. Here on in, it is a simple matter of coating each layer with cream and adding sliced strawberries and the raspberries - remembering to save a few for decoration. I would recommend that you place the first layer onto the presentation cake plate and build the cake from there, adding cream and fruit, then a layer of cake, then cream and fruit until you reach the last layer.
10. Simply arrange the saved fruit attractively, sprinkle over a little icing sugar snow - and serve.