Whether it’s a celebration or just an afternoon treat, this is perfect. Unlike standard butter-based sponges, it is made with oil which gives a lovely moistness and makes it last a few days.
PREP 45 MINUTES
COOKING 25 MINUTES
FOR THE SPONGE
200g caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
225g sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
FOR THE COMPOTE
200g blackberries, fresh or frozen (defrosted if frozen)
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp arrowroot powder
FOR THE BUTTERCREAM
225g butter, softened
375g icing sugar, sifted
2 tbsp milk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Brush two 20cm loose-bottomed cake tins with oil and line with parchment.
- To make the sponge, place the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl then whisk until they are light in colour and frothy. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir until combined then pour evenly between the two cake tins.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and the sponge is just coming away from the edge of the tins. Set aside to cool for 5 minutes, then run a palette knife around the inside edge of the tins. Carefully turn the cakes out on to a rack to cool completely.
- To make the compote, put the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook over a low–medium heat for 10 minutes or until the blackberries have broken down. Push through a sieve then return to a clean saucepan. Mix the arrowroot with 1 tsp water to form a paste. Stir into the purée and cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time until just simmering. Set aside to cool – it will thicken slightly as it cools.
- Place the ingredients for the buttercream in a large bowl or the bowl of an stand mixer. Set your mixer (or electric beaters) to a low speed and gradually increase it until you have a smooth, creamy buttercream.
- To assemble, place one cake upside down and spread it with some buttercream. Turn the other cake upside down and spread a generous layer of blackberry compote then sandwich them together. Spread a thick layer of buttercream on the top and sides of the cake, smoothing the edges with a palette knife (for a super-smooth finish, dip the knife into hot water before you spread the buttercream). Finish by swirling some compote through the buttercream on the top of the cake.
GLUTEN-FREE Swap the flour for a gluten-free flour blend and add an additional 50ml milk to the cake batter.
DAIRY-FREE Use a non-dairy milk in the cake such as soya, almond or my favourite, fresh coconut milk. For the lemon buttercream, swap butter for a plant-based alternative (preferably a firm, not spreadable, one).
Now buy the book
Our recipes are from The Flexible Baker by Jo Pratt, published by White Lion, price £20. To order a copy for £17 until 20 March, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937. Free UK delivery on orders over £20.