Sunday 13th June 2010 was my eldest Son Simon's 22nd Birthday and he had decided to spend it with us this year, as you can imagine I was very excited and started planning immediately.
As we were watching the first England game of the World Cup and as Simon is completely obsessed with football I did think about going with the very obvious theme of football & St George's flags everywhere, but in the end wanted to do a summer theme as I wanted to re-make the birthday cake that his Nonna had made for him when he was three.
Simon has always loved strawberries, he loved nothing more than going strawberry picking with his Nonna and sitting in her strawberry patch eating her strawberries. For his third birthday we had a party at her house and this is the cake that we made him. I hope he enjoyed the memories and I also wanted to pay tribute to his amazing Nonna with this cake. I know he enjoyed the cake as when I showed it to him he took a massive bite out of it, naughty boy! Also the next morning he also ate the wedge that was left, so it can't of been to bad.
Anyway I did go a bit overboard with balloons & streamers, Cath Kidston napkins & glasses to turn our kitchen into a big top, it looked amazing, I hope he was impressed and had a truly lovely birthday, as it was so lovely having him here.
Strawberry Courting Cake - cuts into 8 - 10 slices
250g softened butter
250g caster sugar
5 medium eggs
250 self-raising flour
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
250g pot of mascarpone (I made this the traditional way with double cream whipped, as Simon doesn't like cheese)
zest 1 lemon
50g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
175g strawberries or raspberries
Heat the oven to 180c/160c fan. Line the bases of 3 18cm/7in sandwich tins with baking parchment.
Cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, then add the eggs, one by one, beating well.
If the mixture looks curdled or split at any time, just add a few tablespoons of the flour. Mix in half of the vanilla seeds, then fold in the flour and baking powder with a pinch of a salt. Mix as little as possible to combine- the batter should be smooth, but over mixing will cause the cake to be tough.
Divide the batter between the tins and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
While the cakes are baking, mix the mascarpone, lemon zest, the icing sugar and remaining vanilla seeds together, then chill until ready to use.
When the cakes are baked, remove from the oven and cool in the tins on a wire rack.
To assemble, tip one cake out of the tin, peel off the baking parchment and place it on a serving plate.
Dollop half the cream mixture onto the sponge & spread over well, scatter with half of your chosen fruit, then repeat with the second sponge. Place the final sponge on top & dust with icing sugar. I like to decorate mine with strawberries & of course some glitter.
The Courting Cake traditionally comes from Lancashire & was made by young ladies for the young men they were about to marry.