28 June 2013

Passionfruit Sponge Cake

I hardly need an excuse to bake, but my Mother's birthday this week gave me the perfect reason to get the mixing bowl out midweek. It lead to a funny sort of day; diving into M&S first thing to grab some passionfruit, via a gorgeous deli for almond croissants; carefully taking my precious parcels into school, then back out to a short trip to Leeds, before dashing back home again to get the oven on.

I strained out the pulp of the passionfruit and used my fail-safe Victoria Sponge recipe, replacing the vanilla essence with a spoonful of the fruit pulp. I've heard that you can purchase passionfruit extract to get a stronger depth of flavour in the sponge. While that was baking, I whipped up my first ever batch of passionfruit curd, using a recipe from Nigella Lawson. I was surprised at how quick and easy the curd was to make, so I will most definitely be making a few more fruit curds in the future! I was getting a little pressed for time at this point; so I tidied up and left everything to cool overnight. 
 5:30am the next morning, I was in the kitchen again prepping the cake. After sandwiching the curd between the sponge layers, I made half a batch of my cream cheese frosting, replacing the butter with a tablespoon or so of left over curd. I couldn't use e electric whisk without waking everyone, so for the next half hour, while I warmed up the croissants and finished getting ready I kept on nipping back to beat the icing, and seem to get perfectly acceptable results for spreading over the top. I think marscapone would taste even better, with just a little icing sugar beaten in, as an alternative, so do try that too and let me know what you think.

By half past six, breakfast in bed was ready for my  Mama, and the cake, finished with a sprinkling of pale pink pearls, was lit. I had to leave for my early train at 7, but not before I'd made sure that my gift had been opened and the day's surprises revealed -namely a spa package courtesy of my Father to the Feversham Arms.... I'm so jealous! Sufficed to say, I am pretty pleased with our efforts for this year -my Mother is by far the easiest person to buy for! Who do you like to treat? 

Passionfruit Curd
  • 5 passionfruit
  • 50g unsealed butter
  • 1 large organic egg 
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 75g caster sugar (I used golden)

Blitz the passionfruit pulp in an electric mix, and strain it into a bowl. Save a small amount of the unstrained seeds.
Melt the butter gently in a heavy based saucepan. Beat together the eggs, yolk and sugar and pour into the saucepan, along with the passionfruit juice, stirring continually until the mixture begins to thicken.

Add the reserved seeds, and remove from the heat. Decant all this into a sterilised jar or two, and leave, ideally overnight, to cool.
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