Buttermilk Sponge Cake

This blog is always the first casualty when life shifts up a gear or when life turns upside-down as it has during the past couple of months. Even when you’re pre-warned of a bumpy road ahead, and you think you’re prepared, it can leave you with new scars to adjust to and experiences to process. Often quite literally. 

I’ve questioned myself recently about whether I really need to keep this blog up. Calling it a day would seem a bit sad. I see it as a creative output of sorts: there for times when works doesn’t allow much freedom and it's all heads-down and deadlines. I think a creative output is healthy: for me anyhow.

It’s the creating of the food and creating of the images that I relish and loose myself in. It's the words I struggle with. I’m not a wordsmith. Some posts never get published as try as I might I can’t find the words I want to sit alongside my images. When I write for work and the words don't come I have to keep going until they do. It's my job. I don't want this blog to feel at all like work so I’m going to change things. Going forward my posts will not be word heavy. I hope to simply set the scene, share a recipe and let the images do the rest. 

This recipe has sat unpublished on my desktop, waiting for words since March. I think it is just as suited for June. If I was making this now, I'd top the cake with plenty of seasonal strawberries and decorate with a few lacy heads of elderflower. I'd also eat it sitting in the garden with a cup of tea under the shade of my wide brimmed sun hat.

Buttermilk Sponge Cake

250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
200ml buttermilk (or 75g yogurt mixed with 125ml semi-skinned milk) 
finely grated zest of an unwaxed lemon, plus 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
125g softened butter, plus extra for greasing
200g caster sugar
3 large free-range eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas 4. 
Butter a 23cm ring mould cake tin. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and salt together.
Mix the buttermilk (or yogurt mixture) and lemon zest. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, adding a little of the flour with the last one. Gradually add the rest of the flour with the buttermilk, one after the other, until thoroughly mixed. Pour into the tin and bake for about 30 minutes or until well risen and pale golden brown. Loosen the sides of the cake with a round-bladed knife and turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

For the cake in the image I made two of the above sponges and once cold sandwiched them together with jam and a simple buttercream and topped with further buttercream, mini meringues, fresh fruit and flowers.