- For 1 x 20cm sponge:
- 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 300g golden caster sugar
- 4 large free-range egg whites, lightly beaten
- 375g plain flour
- 1½tsp baking powder
- 200ml whole milk
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- 1tsp lemon zest
- For 1 x 14cm sponge:
- 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 3 large free-range egg whites, lightly beaten
- 250g plain flour
- ¾tsp baking powder
- 125ml whole milk
- ½tbsp lemon juice
- ½tsp lemon zest
- For the buttercream for three cakes:
- 300g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 700g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra to dust
- 100ml double cream
- 2tsp vanilla extract
- 1tbsp lemon juice
- To decorate:
- 800g strawberries
- 200g mixed berries, we used cherries and raspberries
- a few edible flowers – we used small roses in mixed colours
- You will need:
- 2 x 20cm tins, with removable bases, the base and sides greased and lined with baking parchment
- 1 x 14cm tin, with a removable base, the base and sides greased and lined with baking parchment
- piping bag
- 1½cm round nozzle
For the sponges, heat the oven to 170C, gas 3. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg whites, a little at a time, mixing well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, mix the flour and baking powder until well combined then sift. Gently mix into the butter mixture in 2 additions, adding half of the milk each time until combined; add the lemon juice and zest with the second addition. Scrape into the prepared tin, smooth the top and bake until springy to the touch and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Check the cakes after 50 minutes, swapping shelves in the oven so they brown evenly. It will depend on how many cakes are in the oven at a time but the 14cm cake should take 1 hour-1 hour 15 minutes and the 20cm cake 1 hour 15-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the tin then set aside on a wire rack to cool completely.
For the buttercream, beat the butter and icing sugar, sieved, in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and pale. Add the cream, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
Trim each of the sponges with a sharp knife to level the tops then cut horizontally in two equal halves, set aside. Hull and chop around ¾ of the strawberries. Then hull 5 medium, equal-sized strawberries, trim their undersides slightly so they’re the same height and set aside to decorate.
Spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the cut side of one of the 20cm sponges. Fill the piping bag with the buttercream and pipe a neat border around the edge. Fill the inside with a layer of strawberries level to the piped cream border, fill in any gaps with more buttercream. Top with the other half of the sponge and press lightly to hold. Repeat with the remaining 20cm sponges.
Add a little of the buttercream to the centre of the assembled cake and top with the upper half of the 14cm sponge. Spread a thin layer of the buttercream over the top, then add the 5 trimmed strawberries, and space evenly around the edge of the sponge with the tips facing outwards. Pipe the buttercream so it weaves in and out of the strawberries, coming right to the edge. Fill the middle with more buttercream, lightly dust the remaining sponge with icing sugar and place on top. Decorate with fresh flowers and berries.
The sponges freeze for up to a month. The buttercream will keep for 4 days in the fridge. You can assemble the cake a day ahead and leave in a cool place but add the final berries and flowers just before serving