Have we not been having glorious weather this week? Yesterday I even had to slather myself with suncream out and about doing politics/ election type things on peoples doorsteps (I apologise if I've disturbed you to hand you a leaflet this week!), and it seemed like everyone was enjoying the beautiful weather. In honour of the sun that is set to remain for the rest of the week, I've baked you a very English afternoon tea cake with a very tropical twist. It's been going down a treat in the campaign office, so I'm sure that you'll love it too!
I've had the idea of making a fresh passion fruit buttercream ever since I figured out the method for, and how amazing the fresh strawberry buttercream tasted when I made some for my Fresh Strawberry Buttercream & Pistachio Mini Cakes. I've found that folding fresh fruit juice in slightly icing sugar heavy butter icing makes the most wonderfully rich and flavour packed icing. Prepare to see many more flavours pop up here in cakes this year! As the icing is so bright and full of flavour, I'm giving you a different chocolate sponge recipe than usual. Yes, I'm still overly in love with the rich chocolate sponge I used in my Chocolate Ganache Raspberry Crunch Cake, but I felt something lighter, more like a nursery school chocolate birthday cake sponge would help make this cake more of an afternoon tea favourite. Homemade lemonade, anyone?
The other star of this post are my beautiful new set of cake tins the team at Joules were kind enough to send me; we've been having something of a cake tin crisis in the kitchen recently, so I'm glad that all of that has been solved in such a pretty way. The floral one is so deep and practical, and I'm a little obsessed with the stripes. I've wanted some pieces from the Joules kitchen collection since it first launched, so get prepared to see some more of the things they were kind enough to send popping up here and on my Instagram.
With the fresh passion fruit on top of the cake, I'd only recommend keeping it for 48 hours. As for any leftover passionfruit juice you may have, it will make a great tropical/ vitamin shot to add to fresh juices and smoothies, and I'm currently experimenting with some gin and soda water combinations with the leftovers I have in my fridge. As the Summer is coming, I'm going to start trying to up my cocktail game a bit more.
- 175g (6 oz) Margarine (or unsalted butter, but margarine will create a lighter sponge)
- 175g (6 oz) Golden Caster (Granulated) Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1/2 tbsp Golden Syrup (read about USA substitutes here)
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 145g (5 oz) Self Raising Flour (America? this is how you make the flour)
- 2 tbsp Cocoa Powder
- 1 tbsp Boiling Water
- 170g (6 oz) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 250g (9 oz) Icing (Confectioners) Sugar
- 2-3 Ripe Passion Fruit (I like to use the giant ones)
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 fahrenheit). Lightly grease and line with a circle of baking parchment two 7 inch sandwich cake tins. Cream the margarine and the sugar together until the mixture is well combined and has paled a little. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract and golden syrup. Fold the flour and the cocoa powder into the mixture, then once it is well combined follow with the spoonful of boiling water.
Divide the batter between the two cake tins, tap gently on the work surface to remove any bubbles, and bake for 20 minutes until the sponges are firm, golden and you can insert a sharp knife or a cake tester and remove it clean. Remove from the tins and onto a wire cooling rack once the tins are cool enough to touch, and allow the sponges to cool completely before frosting.
To make the icing, scoop out all but one of the passion fruit into a fine sieve over a small bowl. Using a spoon, press the seeds into the sieve so the passion fruit juice collects in the bowl at the bottom. Don't throw away the seeds, you'll need them in a moment!
Beat together the butter and icing sugar until combined and stiff. Slowly beat in the passion fruit juice until the buttercream is a texture where it is spreadable and will hold on the cake. You might not need to use all of the passion fruit juice, it will all depend on how juicy your fruit are.
Spread half of the buttercream onto the top of one of the sponges, and spread the leftover seeds around the edge. This will give the effect of there being passion fruit seeds in the frosting, but without making the middle of the cake all wet and soggy. Still, spread a little more icing on the bottom of the top sponge to keep the sponge dry before sandwiching it together. Spread the rest of the buttercream over the top of the cake.
To top the cake with passion fruit seeds, spoon the remaining fruit into the sieve and gently stir, enough to remove any excess juice so you don't make the cake too soggy, but this time that the membranes around the black seeds are still intact. Spoon these over the cake and serve as soon as possible.
On a completely, un-cake related note a little foot note for my British readers. Since the General Election campaign kicked off two weeks ago I've spoken to thousands of voters on their doorsteps. It has been great getting out and hearing about what people care about for their country, but the thing that I find upsetting and frustrating is not getting doors slammed in my face or people telling me they're not going to be voting for my candidate; it is people telling me that they simply don't vote. The deadline to register to vote in the UK for the General Election is April 20th. You can register to vote online here, and it only takes moments. If you're not registered, you won't get a say in how your country is run.