It was a real blast-from-the-past when I first read this recipe in Mary Berry’s recent book ‘Favourite Food’, because the main cake recipe was my Mother’s standard Sponge Cake; the one that she laboriously taught each of us children – including the boys – very forward-thinking for the 1960’s!
That way, she said, we’d always be able to bake a cake if the need arose! To this day the boys in our family are very good cooks – Well done Mum!
Mum’s fat-free sponge was ‘4,4 and 4’ – so easy to remember – 4oz sugar and 4 eggs, beaten together until light and fluffy, and 4oz of self-raising flour gently folded in.. I’m not sure if the Metric equivalent is as easy to remember – 125g, 4 and 125g.. hmmm.. I might just stick to the Imperial measurements for this one 😉
This is a very easy cake to make, and is perfect for a relaxed Sunday afternoon treat.
My thanks to Little Miss Eating for Ireland for the gorgeous tea towel in these pictures – part of her Mother’s Day present to me
- An electric beater – one with an integrated bowl is best, as the egg/sugar mix needs to be beaten for 5 minutes or so.
- Two 8inch/20cm sandwich tins, greased and the base lined with baking parchment.
- A sieve
- A small measuring jug
- A cup
- a tablespoon
- A pastry brush
- 4 large eggs
- 4oz/125g golden caster sugar
- 4oz/125g Self-raising Flour
- 1 tablespoon of Coffee granules
- 1 tablespoon of boiling water.
For the coffee drizzle:
- 50mls Brandy
- 6 tablespoons of filter coffee
For the filling and Icing:
- 250g of Mascarpone Cheese (see NOTES)
- 3 tablespoons of Icing Sugar
- 100mls Double cream
- 70g Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
- Heat the oven to 160 Fan.
- Put the sugar and eggs into the bowl of the electric beater, and whizz at full speed for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture has become pale, light and airy. It should be at least doubled or tripled in volume at this stage.
- Using a stainless steel tablespoon, sift and fold in 1/3rd of the flour really gently, doing your best to retain as much air in the mixture as possible. Repeat until all the flour is folded in.
- Put a tablespoonful of Coffee granules into a cup, and add a tablespoon of boiling water. Mix together really well, then fold it gently into the cake mix. The Coffee mixture will sink to the bottom, so make sure it all gets incorporated.
- Divide the mixture between the two prepared sponge tins, level out, and bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sides have shrunk away from the sides of the tins, and bounces back if you press it gently with the tip of your finger.
- Turn out the cakes onto the cooling rack, remove the lining paper, and immediately spoon the Coffee Drizzle over the sponges while they’re still warm, using a pastry brush to make sure that the edges get their share. See NOTES
- Leave until it’s completely cool.
To Fill and Ice the Cake:
- Using an electric beater, beat the Mascarpone, sugar and double cream together until smooth and thickened.
- Place one of the sponges – drizzle-side UP – onto your chosen cake plate, and spread half the icing over it, right out to the edges.
- Sprinkle over half of the chopped Chocolate
- Top with the second sponge – this time, drizzle-side DOWN – and spread the last of the icing over evenly, and right out to the edges. Sprinkle over the last of the Chocolate.
- The cake gets a little fragile when it’s been soaked with the Brandy/coffee mixture, so just take a little extra care when moving it.
- When I first read the recipe, it called for 500g of Mascarpone, but I think it’s a bit much, so I just use 250g. See how you get on yourself.
- The decorated cake will keep, fully covered, for a couple of days in the fridge, so it’s very handy to make today if you’re going to need it tomorrow – or the next day!
- Remove it from the fridge about 10 minutes before you want to serve it, but store it in the fridge so that the Mascarpone icing doesn’t get too soft.
- The sponges can be frozen, well wrapped in clingfilm and a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Don’t soak the sponges if you’re going to freeze them.
- Because it has no butter in it, the cakes themselves cool very quickly, making it ideal for a quick treat!
- I like to serve it in slices, with a portion of fresh raspberries along side it, and a nice strong cup of coffee!