The idea of a Sunday afternoon spent watching village cricket followed by the 'cricket tea' is quintessentially English. Ideally you wouldn't have the temperamental English weather to go with it (chilly and windy here today). Let's imagine the scene: there is glorious sunshine; the chaps are wearing their cricket whites; the ladies are wearing floral dresses and sipping tea on the boundary. It's all sounding very Midsummer Murders, isn't it?!
I was chatting recently to a friend of my son who plays village cricket. He was enthusiastic about my recent experiments making Pimms cake and thought it would go down a treat for cricket teas. My first experiment was not a total success. The cake itself tasted divine but the cream cheese and strawberry filling was too wet and slid off the sponge. However it was delicious and the family devoured it eagerly. More of a dessert than something you could delicately nibble whilst having tea on the lawn with Miss Marple (my dream date).
The new incarnation has left the Pimms out of the cake batter, and uses a mint infused Pimms syrup to douse the cake sponges. My inspiration for the syrup came from this recipe for fruit in Pimms. The mascapone cream filling is decadent but not overwhelmingly sweet, and sliced fresh strawberrys add that extra touch of summer.
225 grams self raising flour
225 grams Stork margarine
225 grams caster sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
Truth be told, I didn't really measure this but just added it to the pan and tasted to check for balance of flavour, but here is my guess at quantities.
75 ml Pimms
50 ml water
3 tablespoons caster sugar
some mint leaves
150 grams mascapone
150 grams double cream
2 tablespoons icing sugar
lemon/lime/orange zest - use whatever you have.
- Put all the ingredients for cake batter in a bowl and beat until combined. Divide between two 22 cm cake tins and bake for 20 mins (ish).
- Put ingredients for Pimms syrup in a pan and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5 to 10 minutes until the liquid reduces to about half. Remove mint leaves and leave for 5 minutes to cool a little.
- Remove the baked cakes from their tins and cool on a rack for 5 minutes. Prick the surface of the cakes all over with a fork and spoon the syrup over the warm cakes. The cakes will absorb the syrup. Allow to cool.
- Beat the ingredients for the filling together and spread over one cake half. Top with sliced strawberrys.
- Spread the other cake with strawberry jam; leave this out if you want less sweetness. Pop one cake on top of the other and liberally sieve with icing sugar.
- Serve with a large glass of Pimms or champagne or cup of Earl Grey.
Enjoy your Sunday afternoon tease and here's hoping that the sun has got his hat on where ever you are; hip hip hip hooray!