Wednesday, November 03, 2004

a tea party

Sarah and I have long talked about having a 'proper afternoon tea' and finally - this Sunday - it's going to happen. We're aiming for a cross between old English and Australian colonial style and trying our hardest to not be too pedantic. This is not easy for us - we had fears of people turning up with Rice Paper Rolls or something. But it's shaping up quite well. So far the menu is:

  • Scones (with jam and cream)
  • Passionfruit sponge
  • Lamingtons
  • Lemon Meringue Pie
  • Homemade Ice Cream
  • Cucumber Sandwiches
  • Egg Salad Sandwiches
  • Mini Quiches
  • Asparagus
  • Mini Pea Tartlets

We've had some trouble coming up with savoury ideas but I think it's looking pretty good. Maybe we need something more chocolatey? I've been practicing the Passionfruit Sponge - once for Sarah's birthday and once for my housemates. Here's the recipe:

Passionfruit Sponge
This seems to be a traditional Australian cake. As I'm not a traditional Australian I'm new to making it. In my family cakes were more likely to be serious dense things with poppyseeds or cherries but I'm trying to assimilate - I swear I am. And I'm learning that a sponge cake doesn't have to be a disappointing tasteless stale thing - it can be fluffy sweet and soft.

This recipe comes from The Age and is by Loretta Sartori. The article ("Whip it Good"!) has heaps of good tips for making sponges and a few other recipes so it's definitely worth checking out. Here's the recipe I used:

  • 5 eggs (large)
  • ¾ cup castor sugar
  • ½ cup custard powder
  • ½ cup cornflour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Real cream for whipping - about 350ml
  • Homemade apricot jam (I just used a fancy bought one)
  • Icing sugar
  • Butter
  • Passionfruit pulp - from 3 passionfruits (or a tin if you really can't find any)
  1. Preheat oven to 175C
  2. Butter and flour your tins. Springform is best. Make sure the bottom is thoroughly buttered.
  3. Separate the whites and yolks, set yolks aside.
  4. Sift dry ingredients three times.
  5. Whisk the whites until soft peaks form, gradually adding the sugar.
  6. Add the yolks to the whisked whites, mixing until combined.
  7. Remove from the mixer and fold through the sieved dry ingredients very gently.
  8. Transfer to tins.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes for the small cakes or 35 minutes for the large.
  10. When cold, slice into three layers.
  11. Spread first layer with homemade apricot jam then whipped cream; position second layer on top and repeat. Add third layer.
  12. Ice top layer with passionfruit icing: sift icing sugar and mix in passionfruit pulp. Then add melted butter to make it a runny consistency. Spread quickly over the surface and allow to run down the sides. Chill cake before serving.

    Yield: 2 x 20cm round tins or 1 x 28cm round tin

The hardest bits for me is folding the dry ingredients through - how do you get it all mixed in without flattening the eggs? I also had a bit of trouble removing the cakes from the tins - I think I need to butter them more. But once it's all sandwiched together it looks truly impressive. And it tastes great.


Sandy said...

Okay for the baking newbies... what is "Springform"???

esther said...

Sandy, I'm so glad you are going to try this.

Springform tins are the tins where you can pull a little bit and then the side springs out - separating from the bottom. Makes it way easier to get your cakes out.

But on Sunday I realised that if you just put heaps more butter on the tin this sponge comes out pretty easy.

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