After the very cold and dark winter that we have had, once the new year has begun Spring is what I always look forward to and long for. For when everything starts to turn green again in the countryside, blossom appears on the trees, the clocks go forward and days become longer. The cold, snow and dark nights start to seem a distant memory. All starts to feel good again.
During the stunning weather we had over the Easter weekend, I took a walk through fields with newly born lambs running and jumping around in the sunshine. Enjoying the warm air, the lush green grass they were what signified the joys of spring.
Walking through woods carpeted with Bluebells, the air filled with their heavenly scent. Fresh green leaves rustling in the summer like breeze, sunlight streaming through onto the woodland floor. It seemed more like a mid-summers day, rather than a Spring weekend in April.
It was peaceful, quiet and relaxing. The only sounds that could be heard were bees going from flower to flower, and a pheasant calling out in the distance.
Each Easter Julia Parsons hosts and Easter Cake Bake on her blog A Slice of Cherry Pie. Last year I made Chocolate Fudge Easter Cakes, however with the weather being as warm and nice as it was, I was just not feeling doing a chocolate entry. Looking through The Observer's website, I came across several recipes from Lorraine Pascale for Easter Cakes. As soon as I saw this, I knew it was the one….
Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling (Lorraine Pascale)
For the Sponge
:: Butter 220g, softened :: Caster Sugar 220g :: Eggs 4 :: Vanilla Pod seeds of ½ :: Vanilla Extract couple of drops :: Lemon zest of ½ – 1 :: Self-Raising Flour 220g :: Baking Powder small pinch :: Lemon juice of ½
For the Filling
:: Lemon Curd 5-6 tbsp, good quality :: Double Cream 300 ml :: Icing Sugar 30g :: Vanilla Pod seeds of ½ :: Vanilla Extract couple of drops :: Limoncello 1 tbsp, optional
Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4. For the sponge, grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottom with greaseproof paper. Put the softened butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat together well. Add 2 eggs, vanilla seeds and extract, lemon zest and half the flour and beat well. Then add the other 2 eggs, the rest of the flour and the baking powder and beat. If the mixture is stiff, add the lemon juice.
Divide the mixture between 2 tins and level off with the back of a spoon. Place in the oven and bake for 30 mins or until the sides of the sponge have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tins, the sponge springs back slightly when pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the sponge comes out clean. Leave the sponges to cool in tins.
To assemble, once the sponges are completely cool, remove them from the tins and place on a serving dish. Spread one sponge with the lemon curd then whip up the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla pod and extract (and fold in the limoncello if using), then dollop on top of the lemon curd. Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with some icing sugar.