This weekend saw the nation celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday with events including Trooping the Colour and The Patron’s Lunch. With that in mind and with one of the nation’s favourite cakes being the classic Victoria Sponge, named after the famous monarch I thought I’d give it a QEII twist. So to celebrate the 90th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest reigning Monarch, I’ve created the Elizabeth Sponge – a summery and elegant twist on the classic Royal cake. Happy Birthday Ma’am.
The cake was served as part of Will’s Royal Afternoon Tea at The Capital Hotel in London, exclusively for the Birthday weekend.
For the cake:
225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing tins
225 g caster sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Zest of 2 lemons
175 g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
a pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons milk
1tsp dried lavender
For the filling:
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200 g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
Juice of 2 lemons
3-4 tablespoons good quality lemon curd
candied lemon (availiable online or from good quality supermarkets)
You will also need 2 x 20 cm sandwich cake tins.
Preheat the oven to 180ºC/375ºF/gas 4. Butter and line the base of each cake tin with a disc of buttered baking parchment.
Cream together the softened butter and caster sugar with the lemon zest until really pale and fluffy, this will take about 5 minutes. Gradually add the beaten eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition and adding a little of the flour if the mixture should look curdled at any stage. Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and a pinch of salt into the bowl, add 2 tablespoons of milk, dried lavender and mix again until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and bake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven for about 30 minutes until pale golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool in the tins for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack until completely cold.
To make the filling, using a free-standing mixer cream the butter until very soft and pale, gradually add the sifted icing sugar and lemon juice mixing well between each addition until pale, smooth and very light. Place the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle. Pipe the buttercream around the cake leaving gaps to fill in with lemon curd. Pipe the remaining buttercream on the top. Sandwich the cakes together. Finish with crystallised lavender, candied lemon and some white or yellow rose petals.