blueberry and cream sponge cake
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Sponge cake, as the name cleverly suggests, is supposed to soak up the filling/syrup/drizzle/jam/cream (though it will struggle with the last).
I’ve given up ranting about how the English sponge is not a sponge at all because it has butter in it; that the proper sponge mix is airy eggs with a puff of flour stirred into them; that sponge, genoise or viennoise is an adult affair involving separating eggs or at least beating them into triplicate over a bain-marie. I’m becoming benign in my old age and don’t ferociously argue any more. They want to put butter in, beat it all together in one bowl, and call it a sponge – be it. Whatever - as long as it performs the spongy function above.
So I came up with this wonderful dessert concept of lightly roasted blueberries oozing purple sweetness into the biscuit base. So far so lovely – but that would leave the top layer dry as a history handbook. How about spreading the bluebs over the top then, thought I ingeniously, let them soak in and then sandwich the lot with whipped cream? The small snag was, of course, the impossibility of sandwiching two layers dripping with filling on the inside.
I did briefly consider multiple-decking the layers, each saturated with the blueberries, but whichever way I looked at it, the topmost crust would be dry.
I gave up. Sponge, or what others call sponge. Standard two layers with the fruit and cream in the middle. Icing sugar on top. Sliced into thick wedges. Served with extra whipped cream.
blueberry and cream sponge cakeServings: 12Time: about 2 hours
- For the sponge:
- 110g (scant cup) plain flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 110g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 110g (1 stick) butter, softened
- 2 medium eggs
- 1 tsp violet essence (or rose water)
- For the filling:
- 350-400g (2 cups) blueberries
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 200ml (scant cup) double cream
- 2 tbsp. icing sugar
- ½ tsp violet essence (or rose water)
- icing sugar, for dusting
To make the sponge stir the baking powder and salt into the flour, add all the other ingredients and beat until smooth and well combined. Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas 3. Prepare a 20 cm round cake tin; butter the sides and line the bottom with parchment.
Pour the cake batter into the tin, smooth the surface and bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the surface springs back when pressed gently with a finger. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then loosen the sides with a spatula and invert the tin onto a cake rack. Remove the tin and parchment and cool completely.
While the cake is cooling roast the blueberries: heat up the oven to 230C/450F/gas 8. Spread the blueberries in a shallow oven dish and sprinkle with the teaspoon of sugar. Bake them for 10 minutes, shaking the dish so they roll about, halfway through the time. Remove from the oven, drizzle with a little lemon juice and leave to cool.
Stir the icing sugar and the flavour essence into cold cream and whip to soft peaks.
Slice the cake horizontally into two layers with a bread knife or a cake cutter.
Spoon the blueberries with the juices over the bottom layer, pile the cream over them and cover with the top layer, pressing gently so the cream oozes somewhat around the sides.
Dust the top with icing sugar and decorate with fresh blueberries if you like.