Elderflower Eton Mess Cake

A great summery cake – or a cake to remind you of those heady summer days – inspired by botanicals week on bake off. Do add your own decorative twists.

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Ingredients

For the cake
4 large eggs
250g butter + a little extra for greasing the tins
250g self-raising flour (or plain flour and baking powder)
250g caster sugar

I make a basic sponge by weighing the eggs in their shells and then using equal amounts of butter, caster sugar and self-raising flour. For two 8 inch cake layer 4 eggs should produce enough batter, but feel free to follow the above amounts

For the sugar syrup
200g for the sugar syrup
200ml elderflower cordial

For the filling
200g strawberries
300g white chocolate
150g double cream
2 meringue nests

For the decoration
1 packet of sugar paste/decorating icing
food dye

1.Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease two 8 inch sandwich tins with butter and put a disc of paper on the bottom. You can do this easily by folding your paper into a triangle and cutting it to the length of the tin. See pictures

2. Cream the room temperature butter and sugar together using an electric hand whisk or mixer until light in colour and fluffy.

3. Whisk the eggs one at a time until combined.

4. Using a spoon (or mixer on a slow speed) fold in the flour – you can sieve it but I can never be bothered.

5. When all combined divide the mixture evenly between the tins. Spread it evenly across the tin with a small dip in the middle, this counteracts the raising into a dome.

6. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until a knife in the centre comes out clean.

7. While your cake is baking prepare the fillings. Chop up your strawberries into quarters reserving a few whole ones for decoration.

8. Make the white chocolate ganache by breaking the white chocolate into chunks in a microwavable bowl. Pour over the cream and microwave for 1 minute. Remove and stir until all the chocolate is melted, if chunks remain pop back into the microwave for 30 second bursts stirring in between until they’re gone. Use a electric whisk to whizz up the ganache into a pale, fluffy mound and place in the fridge to cool. Check out Cupcake Jemma’s video for in depth instructions

7. When your cake is done leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes before removing them from the tins and placing on a cooling rack.

8. Make your sugar syrup by boiling the sugar and cordial in a small saucepan until all the sugar has dissolved.

9. Level off the cakes with a knife and poke small holes all over the top. Using a pastry brush spread the syrup over the tops of the cakes letting it be absorbed into the sponge.

10. Time to make your decorations. I decided to use sugar paste to make flowers by hand and using cutters I had at home. To do this, tint your sugar paste your desired colour by adding a little food dye to the paste at a time and kneeding until combined. You can also use the food dye to paint your cut out shapes. To make the roses form a teardrop blob for the centre and then press small blobs of paste into thin petal shapes. Attach them to the teardrop centre with a little water as you go along, wrapping them around each other ina rose pattern.

11. When your cake has cooled completely it’s time to get building. Spread a layer of chocolate ganache on the top of one half and sprinkle over strawberries and crushed meringue  nests. If you’re planning to eat the cake on the same day you could substitute the ganache for whipped cream.

12. Flip the second cake over so the flat bottom is on top and sandwich the cakes together. This will give you a smooth top to decorate on.

13. Pour all the ganache on top of the cake a smooth it over the top and down the sides. Feel free to cover the cake as much or as little as you like. Add on your decorations wherever you feel.

14. Enjoy!

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