I like to have a cake in the tin at weekends, it make me feel a bit Ma Larkin and reminds me of proper weekend teas when I was young. There was usually a good walk on a Saturday afternoon so when you got home tea was well deserved. Crumpets, scotch pancakes or cheese on toast followed by scones perhaps or cake, probably accompanied by the wrestling on World of Sport – that sort of thing. I don’t know if these feasts were purely a reward for hiking up hill and dale or whether the grown ups were using them to line the stomach before those epic 70’s dinner parties.
I remember them well and watched them through the bannister halfway up the stairs. The ladies in long dresses with hair up would arrive in a cloud of Diorella or Rive Gauche. The men in velvet jackets or occasionally in slightly racy frilly shirts, hair slicked back – it was a different sartorial time.
Quite a different time for food too and the puddings stick particularly in my memory. The first thing being the choice, there were always several puddings on offer, why was that? Back then there were profiteroles, brandy snaps filled with cream, lemon mousse always towering high above the sides of the white souffle dish, pots au chocolate in regulation little china urns, sliced oranges with caramel shards in the juice – all of them still delicious to this day but also very much of the time. Being in possession of the Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook, an early Mary Berry, I was keen for my Mother to offer such thrills as the Loganberry Mousse which looked a proper treat in the crystal bowl in the picture. Loganberries being in short supply in North Yorkshire during the 70’s this sadly never graced the table chez nous.
Following this array of desserts, the cupboard of the sideboard would be opened and the stickies would appear, Cointreau, Kummel, Royal Mint Chocolate Liqueur, Port… You know what, it is not surprising a few crumpets were required as ballast before dinners like these.
So I like a cake in the tin. Whilst I am more than happy with a simple bake, the fabulous weather we had this week required something special, more celebratory as we heralded the arrival of Spring (so late it is almost time for summer). Thus my triple layer lemon cake for what could be more sprightly and springlike than lemon. A light sponge with tangy lemon curd and smooth soothing cream as an extra little treat. It is simple but thoroughly spoiling, worthy of a birthday as much as being a Saturday tea cake. It is not however obligatory to follow this with a four course 1970’s dinner. Now, where is my roll on lip gloss….
165g soft butter
165g golden caster sugar
165g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
75 ml milk
1/2 pot lemon curd
300ml double cream
Preheat oven to 170 and grease a deep (7-8cm) 20cm tin. Cream the butter and sugar together for five minutes until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time whisking well between each one, then sift in the flour and baking powder. Stir in the milk and then put the mixture into the tin, smooth the top and bake for 45-55 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for five minutes in the tin and the cool completely on a wire rack. Meanwhile whisk the cream until it holds soft peaks but is not stiff. When the cake is cold cut into three, I find a bread knife easiest for this, and spread the bottom layer with lemon curd and then cream, top with another slice of cake and repeat. Put on the top layer, dust with icing sugar and serve. This is squidgy and fabulous and you may need forks to eat it. Keep in the fridge if you don’t finish it off in one go.
I have entered this cake into Layer Cake Tea Time Treats hosted by What Kate Baked and Lavender and Lovage – check out both these sites for delicious things to cook!