Fancy High Tea For A Fancy Lady.
It was The Most Ladylike Lady’s birthday a couple of months ago, and due to an unfortunate alignment with her Mother’s Day, family birthdays, family holidays and more commitments, the little group of ladies we’re part of (The Most Ladylike Lady, The Editor-in-Waiting, Molly’s Mum and your humble writer) didn’t get together to celebrate until ~ 2 months later.
But I have to say: we may not do it immediately, but when we do celebrate: we go a little all out. You might even say: we bring the fancy.
It all started with a couple of flowers, and a cake…
Then…there were a couple of flowers, and two cakes!
Then…there were a couple of flowers, two cakes, a platter of sandwiches and a bowl of just warm scones plus champagne all round.
Yes: we bring the fancy. So apart from cleaning, arranging flowers and making the Women’s Weekly Rose & Almond Syrup Cake (from their Indulgent Cakes book):
Rose & Almond Syrup cake meet Dear Reader. Dear Reader meet Rose & Almond Syrup cake. Now that the introductions are over, Dear Reader you missed a deluxe cake.
And frantically cleaning, polishing, vacuuming and arranging flowers (I do confess: I invite people over as an enforced regime of tidying my house, and to justify occasionally splurging on cut flowers):
Flower arranging, recycled bottle style.
I assembled two variations on the Cream Victoria sponge, that I adapted from a Cocktail Recipe book.
Slacker Sponge Close Up!
And this recipe is so simple, I am almost embarrassed to call it a recipe.
Technique and Ingredients
- 2 slabs shop bought sponge cake
- Raspberry Jam (I recommend Bonne Maman)
- Leftover Creme Fraiche
- Lemon Icing (Try Martha Stewart’s Lemon Drizzle): if you have icing sugar mix and a lemon: you can make this.
- One fresh raspberry (or other berry) per portion
Lets start by talking about portions, the recipe I found calls for you to cut little circles of sponge and then turn them into a sandwich. The reservation I had about this is wastage: for every 4 perfect circles, you’d have this weird bit with 4 circular divots cut out of it.
See: weird bits with divots in them
My parsimonious and economical Australian grandmother, who grew up during the depression, did not bring me up to cut circles of sponge and leave behind perfectly cake. Oh no: Nana definitely did not bring me up that way. There will be no cake wastage in this household.
Solution: cut the two slabs of sponge into perfectly matched rectangles. I would have gone squares, but I was worried about crumblage at the edges (new word: crumblage). And crumblage means wasted cake. And you know what Nana would say about cake wastage!
Sponge glorious sponge…
Then for half of the sponge pairs, slather over a generous layer of raspberry jam. For the other half of the pairs: a generous layer of raspberry jam and a generous layer of creme fraiche (it’s like a French Queen Victoria Sponge).
Drizzle lemon icing over both, and top with a fresh berry. Et voila: on one platter, you have two variations of a sponge!
FYI: the sandwiches were egg and spring onion, and chicken, walnut and apricot. They were delish, I will see if the Editor-In-Waiting will let me share the recipes. And I will try and get both the recipe and technique of the perfect scone out of Molly’s Mum. She can take 3 ingredients and turn out sconderful wonder, I take the same three ingredients and turn out…little pellets of hard.
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