It's off the Mary Berry beaten track, but here's a little cake I made this week for a good friend's birthday.
Yes! It's naked!
Naked cakes are all the rage right now, although I can't help thinking that it's just giving an edgy name to a cake that nobody got around to decorating properly!
Nevertheless, the decision to abandon fondant and buttercream for this one was not due to laziness, I promise.
Rather than using a Victoria Sponge recipe, I decided to go with a French recipe called Quatre Quarts - Four Quarters. They sell this cake in long bars over there, and it's obligatory purchasing for my parents every time I visit as I can't resist a slice or three in the mornings with a cup of coffee. Although I enjoy a good Victoria Sponge, I really do prefer my cakes to be heavier, moister and altogether more squidgy, and this recipe promised all of those things.
Basically, it's similar to a basic sponge except with more eggs. The aim is to have equal quantities of eggs, sugar, butter and flour - hence Quatre Quarts. So I used 4 eggs to 200g of the other ingredients. The sugar is added to melted butter and the yolks mixed in, while the egg whites are whisked until stiff and then folded in after the flour and a little baking powder. (The picture shows one and a half cakes this size - the 4th layer would really have been a step too far!)
The result is a dense, moist cake which is heavier than a traditional sponge, despite the whisked egg whites. I love it!
As it's so rich, fondant icing was out of the question. With a traditional sponge I'd sometimes do whipped cream with fresh strawberries, but I thought even that would be too sweet, so I settled for mascarpone and sliced fresh strawberries, and topped it off with whole strawberries, little nuggets of fruity fudge and popping candy.
Sadly, as I had to decorate it several hours in advance, the fudge melted into the mascarpone and the popping candy rather lost its pop by the time we actually came to eat it, but it was absolutely lush nonetheless. Small pieces only though!