Spring is here, so why not celebrate the start of warmer days with a delicious sponge layered with sweet balsamic strawberries and cream.
5 eggs, separated
¾ cup caster sugar
1¼ cups plain flour
1¼ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup milk, hot
1 teaspoon butter, melted in the hot milk
3 punnets strawberries, hulled
1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons icing sugar
150 ml cream, whipped softly
200 grams mascarpone
icing sugar for dusting
Two 20cm x 5cm deep, round cake tins, greased and bases lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Sponge: Place the egg whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
Beat the whites until frothy then gradually add the sugar and beat until very thick and glossy. Add the yolks and beat to combine. Sift over the combined flour, baking powder and salt. Using a large metal spoon, gently but thoroughly fold together. Add the hot milk/butter and fold in, ensuring there are no hidden pockets of flour in the batter.
Divide evenly between the tins and bake for 15–20 minutes until golden and the centre of the cakes spring back when pressed with your finger.
Cool for 10 minutes then remove from the tins and place top side up on a cooling rack.
Strawberries: Chop the strawberries roughly. Using a fork or a potato masher, crush the strawberries to a chunky mass, not smooth. Combine in a bowl with the balsamic vinegar and icing sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the strawberries through a sieve into a bowl to catch the juice.
Place one sponge on a serving plate and brush with half the balsamic juices from the strawberries. Top with the crushed strawberries. Brush the remaining syrup over the smooth side of the second sponge. Mix together cream and mascarpone, and gently spoon the mixture over the fruit, leaving a 1cm border around the edge. Place the sponge, syrup side down, over the top and dust generously with icing sugar. Cut into wedges to serve.