What’s Cooking?…Strawberry Sponge Torte

This could  be my favourite cake ever.  It’s the kind of cake my mother has always made for special occasions.  What is different about this cake is it improves with time!  I always think it tastes even better the next day or day after, if it lasts that long!

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One other thing.  It is a sponge cake.  People can be intimidated by sponge cakes, worried they may fall flat or turn out like a pancake instead, but it’s actually easy.

Ingredients

4 free range eggs at room temperature
1 scant cup of castor sugar
1/2 cup of Self Raising flour
1/2 cup cornflour

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

 750 g fresh strawberries
600mls cream for whipping
strawberry jam

a little grated dark chocolate

Method

Set oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Line a 25cm round sponge tin with baking paper.
Using a large clean mixing bowl, seperate the egg whites into the bowl.  Reserve the yolks.  Whip egg whites until they become voluminous and white.  Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously.
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Once the sugar is all incorporated, add the yolks, one at a time with the vanilla, beating briefly to incorporate.  Once the yolks are added, stop beating.
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Sift the flours together well.  Add to the egg mixture by gently folding in, half at a time, until just incorporated.  Turn the mixture into the baking pan.
Bake for about 40 minutes until the cake is golden on top , is bouncy to touch and is pulling away from the sides of the pan.  Allow to cool completely.
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Meanwhile.  Prepare strawberries by washing and draining well.  Slice half of the strawberries removing green stems.  Keep the other half for decorating the top.  Whip the cream to soft firm peaks.
To assemble the cake.  Choose a nice plate.  Slice the cake horizontally into thirds.  The top of the cake now becomes the base.  Lay the top third on the bottom of the plate.
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Spread generously with strawberry jam.   Lay on half of the sliced strawberries.  Then add a layer of the whipped cream.  Top with the middle layer. Of the cake.  Try to make sure layers line up vertically.  Spread again with strawberry jam, the other half of the sliced strawberries and some more whipped cream. Top the cake now with the bottom layer.   This will give a nice finish.  Add a thin layer of strawberry jam.
 Use a pallete knife to carefully spread cream up the sides of the cake, smoothing as you go.  Add a layer of cream to the top of the cake.
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Decorate with the rest of the strawberries, leave green parts attached if you like.  Sprinkle. With a little grated chocolate.
Refrigerate until required.

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