Eunice Power - Outside Catering Company, Waterford, Ireland.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spring Primrose Cake

Recipe originally appeared in The Irish Times - Saturday, March 10, 2012

To celebrate arrival of spring, I baked a cake. Nearly every house has the ingredients for a beautiful sponge cake - eggs, sugar and flour. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using some good jam as the filling if you don’t want to make the lemon curd. The delicate petals of primroses can be crystallised by simply brushing them gently with beaten egg white, lightly sprinkling with some sugar and leaving to dry overnight.

Sponge cake
4 large eggs
120g caster sugar
120g plain flour
1tsp vanilla essence

2 large tbsp lemon curd
220ml cream, softly whipped

Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees/gas 3. Grease and line two 20cm sandwich tins. Sieve the flour; I do this twice to aerate it. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence together until the mixture becomes thick and mousse-like and the whisk leaves a trail. This will take about eight to 10 minutes.

Using a metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the mixture. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20 minutes. You will know when the cakes are cooked as they will start to come away from the sides of the tin. Gently remove from the tin and cool on a wire tray.

Lemon curd 
Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
120g caster sugar
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 egg, beaten
50g butter, diced

Beat all ingredients together in a heavy-based saucepan until well combined. Place the saucepan over a very gentle heat and stir constantly until thick and creamy. Take off the heat and keep stirring until lukewarm.

Little meringues 
These adorable little gems can be piled on top of a cake to give it wow factor, or just sandwiched together with lemon curd.
2 egg whites (left over from the lemon curd)
90g caster sugar
A tiny pinch of salt
Red food colouring (optional)

Preheat the oven to 120 degrees/gas ½. Whisk two egg whites in a spotlessly clean bowl with a tiny pinch of salt to a soft peak, and then add the sugar until the meringue is stiff and glossy.

Divide the mixture in two, adding the tiniest drop of red food colouring to one lot to make baby pink meringues.

Line one or two baking sheets with parchment, and drop teaspoons of the meringue mix on to the paper. Place the meringues in the oven. Reduce the temperature to 100 degrees and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool in the oven.

To assemble
Spread a generous tablespoon of lemon curd on one of the sponge cakes, followed by half the whipped cream. Place the second sponge cake on top and repeat the lemon curd and cream. Pile some of little meringues on top and finish with some primroses.