My very dear friend, & better half of Harts & Carafts, became a Mummy herself this month! Precious little bundle Seren came into the World last week. Cara & I have often sat fantasising making plans about how we would spend days with our little girls – a trip to Longleat is top of the agenda. We enjoyed a fantastic weekend there several years ago and laughed how one day we would return with our little ones in tow. Sadly, that dream started to feel very distant for various personal reasons for both of us. Thankfully, we have been so blessed & can now finally start to look forward to sharing the wonderful (& scary) journey of parenthood together.
I can’t remember being so thrilled & feeling so close to a new baby since my sisters had my nephews. Perhaps it is because I have been through the roller coaster of pregnancy & birth myself fairly recently, perhaps because we fought so long & hard for our little girls, perhaps because Cara & I are so close. Or, more than likely, a combination of these things.
Enough of the gushing & let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Seren has only just arrived, & to celebrate (& provide Mum & Dad with some much needed sustenance), I baked a cake!
I made Peggy’s Summer Berry cake. Three layers of vanilla sponge filled & iced with strawberry buttercream. The recipe called for mixed berry jam but I only had strawberry so that would do fine. The sponges are a petit 6″ so 3 layers is about right for a medium-sized cake.
Now, I’ve never been bothered to trim cake sponges before. The recipe for M’s 7 layer first birthday cake was specially tailored so that the sponges didn’t rise. But here my cake leveller (another gadget I thought was a waste of money until I tried it for the first time this week & loved it) came in handy. If you look closely in the pic below you can just about make out the wire. If you don’t have one, a bread knife with a serrated edge works just fine.
PP recommends leaving the sponges to stand at room temperature over night & warns if they are trimmed too soon after baking they can crumble, but I wanted to complete the cake that evening so I cheated and chilled the sponges for an hour or so & then trimmed them. I just had to be careful to press down lightly on the top of the sponge to keep it steady.
The extra step of soaking the tops of the sponges in a sugar syrup infused with the vanilla pods left over from the seeds used in the sponge is also well worth it. Again, I never bothered before, but it turns up the volume of the flavour & keeps the sponges super moist.
I hope Cara can enjoy a slice in a much-needed moment of solitude.
Welcome to the World precious Seren, & very well done Mummy & Daddy xoxo