Although the Simnel Cake is traditional for Mothering Sunday there are many who find it too heavy so I have come up with an alternative sponge cake flavoured with limoncello with very Spring-like decorations for Mother’s Day.
To bake a good cake then a first-rate tin is required; the AGA Spring Form Tin fits the bill. It is made from a heavy gauge steel which is non-stick with its PFOA-free coating and has rolled edges for added strength. The spring clip makes it easy to separate the side from the base, a particular advantage when removing your cooked cakes, bread, cheesecakes or pies. Incidentally this is the tin I also use for making my Christmas cakes, a particularly good baked cheesecake and a crown loaf ideal for tearing and sharing, this tin is certainly a well-used item in my kitchen. It is a useful 20cm in diameter and 6.5cm in height, with a 5 year guarantee.
The hot cooked sponge is soaked in a hot limoncello syrup whilst still in the tin, so there is no leaking of the liquid before the cake has had a chance to suck it all up. Remove the side of the tin after 10-15 minutes and put the cake to cool – being non-stick the Spring Form Tin is easy to wash up.
As it is springtime there are gorgeous spring flowers in the garden which can be frosted and dried for the cake decoration, (obviously you don’t want any that have been sprayed!!) or indeed the flowers can be used fresh on top of the cake. Frosting takes a little time ahead as when the flowers have been painted with egg white and dredged in caster sugar they need time to dry out on or beside the AGA for a few hours, or overnight.
To satisfy the chocolate lovers, chocolate fingers make a good cake side decoration, stuck on with some limoncello buttercream and the remaining buttercream piped over the top. If you like drizzle over some melted chocolate.
To display the cake to its best advantage then the AGA Delamere Rural Cake Stand is ideal as it elevates the cake making it the centre piece on the table. This ceramic cake stand is made in England by Spode and the Delamere design is modern ‘vintage’ so very on-trend! In fact the design was sourced from Spode’s Archive in Stoke-on-Trent. The cake stand is 27cm in diameter, perfect proportions for the 20cm cake and its decoration and has a gentle lip to contain its contents.
Let your imagination go when decorating the cake, adding mini macarons with the flowers or mini striped meringues or luxury chocolates may I say the choice is only constrained by your Mothers likes and dislikes.
A limoncello syrup soaked cake decorated with frosted Spring flowers, chocolate and mini macarons.
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
175g self raising flour
25g ground almonds
Grated zest of 1 lemon
25g sugar (granulated or caster)
50ml limoncello liqueur
Juice of 1 lemon
200g butter, softened
200g icing sugar, sieved
3 tbsp limoncello liqueur
2 packets of chocolate finger biscuits
5 squares of dark chocolate, melted (optional)
Frosted edible Spring flowers
Lightly butter the AGA Spring Form Tin and line the base.
Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together until light and creamy, then gradually add the beaten eggs – if the mixture looks as though it is going to curdle add a tablespoon of flour. Fold in the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest until well combined. Turn the mixture into the prepared tin and lightly smooth the top.
3, 4 and 5 oven AGA: Place the AGA Spring Form Tin on the oven grid shelf set on the floor of the Baking Oven and cook for about 35 minutes (if the cake is browned to your liking but not completely cooked, just slide the cold plain shelf above on the second runners down) until golden and set in the middle – use a skewer to check.
2 oven AGA: Place the AGA Spring Form Tin into the large AGA roasting tin and slide this onto the lowest set of runners in the Roasting Oven, with the cold plain shelf slid above, on the second set of runners down. Cook for about 30-35 minutes until golden and set in the middle – use a skewer to check.
Meanwhile make up the limoncello syrup by placing the sugar, limoncello and lemon juice into an AGA non-stick cast aluminium pan, with lip, heat together until the sugar has dissolved.
Remove the cake from the AGA, when it is cooked and pierce its top with a skewer. Pour the hot syrup over the hot cake and leave to cool for 10 minutes then release the spring clip. Remove the side of the tin and place the cake, still on its base, onto a cooling rack until it is completely cold. Then remove the base and lining and place the cake onto the AGA Delamere Rural Cake Stand.
Make the buttercream by beating the butter, icing sugar and limoncello well together until light and easy to spread and pipe. Take the chocolate fingers and if necessary cut them all the same length to just come above the rim of the cake – cutting is made easier if they are put into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Spread a little of the buttercream around the side of the cake and arrange the chocolate fingers around the cake. Put the remaining buttercream into a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe over the top of the cake. If you are using the melted chocolate then drizzle this over the top of the buttercream. Decorate with mini macarons and frosted edible Spring flowers such as violets and primroses.
Conventional cooking: Bake at 180°C, fan oven 160°C, Gas Mark 4 for about 35-40 minutes.
FROSTED EDIBLE SPRING FLOWERS – Paint the petals of the edible spring flowers (not sprayed in herbicide) such as violets or primroses, in egg white both on top and underneath then dip them in caster sugar. Shake off the surplus sugar and put to dry on the AGA Warming Plate or next to the AGA. Handle with care as they are quite brittle!