Wimbledon, my favourite sporting event of any year, began yesterday in rather pleasing fashion. Roger Federer, my personal favourite, wiped the floor with his opponent, Albert Ramos, beating him 6-1 6-1 6-1, whilst Djokovic, the world number one, beat former world number one, Juan Carlos Ferrero, in equally impressive fashion. The bottom half of the draw begin their campaign today with both Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray in action. Anyway, this isn’t a sports blog, so I had better bake a cake to mark the occasion.
If there’s one snack that can be regarded as the gastronomic embodiment of Wimbledon, then it must be strawberries and cream. For many in Britain, the most popular event on the tennis calendar and its primary food-stuff go hand-in-hand. As such, it would have proved nigh-on morally impossible to produce this cake without it containing copious amounts of each ingredient. If ever one feels that one would like to be transported, metaphorically (of course), to the inimitably quaint and traditional sporting event that is Wimbledon, one need look no further than the culinary item currently residing on one’s screen. Indeed, rumour has it that there are any number of illicit strawberry vendors on the premises of SW19 every year, just waiting to top your fruit with all manner of health-damaging dairy products.
So, is anyone else a big fan of Wimbledon, or tennis in general? Who do you hope will win this year? Will Roger Federer secure his 7th Wimbledon title, to match the number reached by Pete Sampras? All of these questions and more will be answered over the course of the next two weeks. Truly, I am in sporting heaven. Please, enjoy the cake!
Makes 1 rather large sponge
• 3 eggs
• Butter, self-raising flour and caster sugar, the amount of each should be the same weight as the eggs (roughly 170-180g)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• A large handful of strawberries, halved
• 2 tbsp strawberry jam, heated
• 300ml whipping cream, whipped
• Extra strawberries for decoration
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a square cake tin roughly 20cmx20cm. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, before beating in the eggs one by one. Stir in the vanilla essence. Sift the flour into the bowl from a height and fold in gently, until fully incorporated. Transfer this mixture to the cake tin and gently press the halved strawberries into the top. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden – one may listen to the cake to see if it has stopped cooking.
2. Once the cake is cooked set it aside to cool. After 10-15 minutes turn it out and glaze the top of it using the strawberry jam and a pastry brush.
3. When fully cool, whip the cream until it just about holds its shape and spread on top. Decorate with a few more strawberries. This cake will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge – it could also be frozen.
Cost: Strawberries, as you know, are rather cheap at the moment – they are also British, which means that they are sweeter and tastier than that Spanish crap we get throughout the rest of the year. Still, this isn’t the cheapest cake I’ve ever made at £3.60, though such a figure is hardly likely to break the bank.