The popular BBC One show, Great British Bake Off, kicked off last night with their latest series. As ever, it has made us at House of Coco want to become the next Mary Berry and so we have teamed up with baking genius, Fiona Cairns, who has some stunning cake ideas to get us busy in the kitchen.
A wonderful cake to serve for tea, or as a dessert. It would be equally good with a blackcurrant or cherry jam. I have decorated it with pansies on top, but primroses, violets or a mixture would be equally pretty. Serves 8
FOR THE CAKE
225g unsalted butter, really soft, plus more for the tins
160g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
60g ground almonds
225g golden caster sugar
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp almond extract
finely grated zest of 1 organic orange and juice of ½
FOR THE FILLING AND DECORATION
200g crème fraîche
5 tbsp best-quality apricot jam
icing sugar, to dust
freshly picked, dry, unsprayed pansies
Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Butter two 20cm round tins and line the bases with baking parchment.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, stir in the ground almonds and set aside.
Put the softened butter and sugar into the bowl of a food mixer (or use a bowl and a hand-held electric whisk) and cream together until light and fluffy. Gradually whisk in the eggs, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mixture halfway through to prevent the mixture from curdling. Fold in the remaining flour mixture, almond extract, orange zest and juice.
Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake in the preheated oven for 20–25 minutes, or until firm to the touch, or a skewer comes out clean. Leave in the tins for a minute or two, then turn the cakes out on to a wire rack. Remove the papers and leave until cold.
When ready to serve, simply place one of the cakes upside down on to a serving plate or cake stand and spread the flat surface with the crème fraîche. Spread the flat surface of the second cake with the apricot jam and sandwich the two together. Sift over a dusting of icing sugar and decorate with the pansies.
Recipe from SEASONAL BAKING by Fiona Cairns, published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson £25
© Fiona Cairns