This sponge cake is quick and easy. It will impress your guests with its flamboyance when decorated with the crucifix orchids.
A traditional sponge cake, which is as light and lovely as you may remember from childhood, with a sensual attraction in all those blooms.
- 4 eggs, separated
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- ½ tsp bicarb soda
- 1 tbsp custard powder
- ¾ cup cornflour
- pinch salt
- 400 ml pure cream
- ¼ cup Lavender Jelly (recipe here) or warmed berry jam
- 1 tbsp floral syrup - Use homemade or purchased violet, rose, elderflower or rosella
- crucifix orchids (see Note), elderflowers and/or peppermint geranium leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Grease and line two 20 cm sponge tins with baking paper. Heat the oven to 180°C.
Beat the egg whites in a medium mixer bowl until stiff. Add the yolks and then the caster sugar, and beat until the sugar is dissolved.
Sift the flour, cream of tartar, bicarb soda, custard powder, cornflour and salt into a bowl. Gently fold sifted ingredients into the egg mixture. Pour into sponge tins.
Bake in a moderate oven 30 minutes. When golden on top and spongy to touch, remove from the oven and cool on a cake rack for two minutes before turning out of the tins. Remove the baking paper when you are ready to assemble the sponge cakes.
Assembly: Whip the cream and floral syrup together until firm peaks form. Place the first sponge cake onto a plate. Spread the jelly or jam over this one and top with half the cream. Add the next layer and spread with cream. Decorate with flowers and leaves.
• Many orchid flowers are edible, but do not eat artificially coloured blooms. Crucifix orchids (star orchids, Epidendrum ibaguense) are delightful orchids from Central and South America. The tiny crisp flowers resemble coloured stars. They transport well, they don't bruise and store well in a covered container for over a week.
Recipe and image from A Delicious Bunch by Linda Brennan (ecobotanica, pb, $39.95).