Inspired by an iconic summertime tipple, this stacked cake is soaked with fruity Pimm’s and topped with mascarpone cream, fresh strawberries and strips of cucumber. This showstopping bake is surprisingly easy to make and perfect for serving up at your next street party.
- 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 225g (8oz) golden caster sugar
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 orange, finely zested
- 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp milk
For the Pimm’s syrup
- 300ml (10fl oz) Pimm’s
- 100g (3 1/2oz) caster sugar
- 2 tbsp orange juice
For the mascarpone cream
- 200g (7oz) light mascarpone
- 100ml (3 1/2fl oz) whipping cream
- 2 tbsp icing sugar
- 1/2 orange, zested, plus 1 tbsp juice
For the filling and decoration
- 300g (10oz) strawberries, hulled and sliced lengthways
- handful fresh mint, leaves picked
- 1/2 cucumber, cut into ribbons
- 1/2 orange, zested
- Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Lightly grease 2 x 20cm (8in) loose-bottom sandwich tins. Line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
- In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and caster sugar with an electric whisk until smooth. Gradually add the beaten egg, mixing continuously until pale and fluffy. Beat in the almond extract and orange zest.
- Sift over the dry ingredients and fold in using a large metal spoon. Stir in the milk. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared tins and smooth the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until risen, golden and just starting to come away from the sides. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the Pimm’s syrup. Put the Pimm’s, sugar and orange juice in a small pan. Warm over a low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil. Boil briskly for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until syrupy and reduced by half. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
- To make the mascarpone cream, put the the mascarpone, cream, icing sugar, most of the orange zest and all of the juice in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric whisk, until combined and smooth.
- To assemble the cake, put one sponge on a serving plate and drizzle over 2 tbsp of the cooled Pimm’s syrup. Using a large piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle, pipe the mascarpone cream over the cake. Alternatively use a palette knife, spreading it thickly.
- Layer up three quarters of the strawberries over the cream, working from the outside edge in. Top with the second sponge and pipe or spread with the remaining cream.
- Decorate the cake with the remaining strawberries, mint and cucumber ribbons. Drizzle over 2-3 tbsp more of the Pimm’s syrup, then scatter over the orange zest. To serve, cut into small slices.
- Tip: To avoid a soggy show- stopper, decorate your cake with the remaining strawberries, mint, cucumber and Pimm’s syrup just before serving.