Mrs Lamb’s Whisked-up Sponge with Strawberries and Cream
This type of feather-light sponge cake induces waves of nostalgia in many people. The recipe came to me via Myrtle Allen. She was given it by a Quaker lady called Mrs Lamb, who came to her rescue when as a young bride she confided that she couldn’t seem to make a light, fluffy sponge cake to equal those on the afternoon tea tables of her neighbours and friends. It was during the war and Myrtle felt guilty that she’d wasted so many precious eggs in vain. This recipe makes the tenderest of sponges and is divine filled with sugared strawberries and softly whipped cream.
For the record, because it has baking powder and water in it, this is not a classic whisked-up sponge. It also has disproportionate amounts of eggs, sugar and flour in it (a classic whisked-up sponge has equal quantities of each). Mrs Lamb obviously wasn’t leaving anything to chance, and decided to include a little baking powder to ensure that the cake rose enough to impress the neighbours!.
3 organic eggs
225g (8oz/1 cup) caster sugar
75ml (3fl oz/scant 1/2 cup) warm water
150g (5oz/generous 1 cup) plain white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
For the Filling
2 x 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins
Sliced fresh strawberries
(Can also use Raspberries, loganberries and maybe frosted redcurrants or kumquats or Green Gooseberry and Elderflower Compote (see recipe) or homemade jam
and softly whipped cream)
Preheat the oven to 190°C / 375°F / gas mark 5.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In a food mixer, whisk the yolks with the caster sugar for 2 minutes and then add in the warm water. Whisk until light and fluffy, this will take about 20-30 minutes. The mixture will have greatly increased in volume and should hold a figure of eight for a few seconds.
Gently fold the sieved flour and baking powder into the mousse in batches. Then whisk the egg whites until they hold a stiff peak. Fold them in very gently.
Divide the mixture between two greased and floured sandwich tins and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove from the tins and cool on a wire rack.
When cool, sandwich the two together with sliced strawberries and whipped cream.
Sprinkle a little caster sugar or icing sugar over the top before serving. Serve on a pretty plate with a doily.
Frosted Red Currants
Frosted red currants are also a delicious addition. Break up an egg white with a whisk. Brush a little egg white over the fruit and stalk and sprinkle with caster sugar. Allow to dry on a sheet of parchment paper.