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01.03.2021- Adventures in Baking: St Clements Cake

Happy 1st March! Spring is definitely well and truly springing in this neck of the woods, and I hope that things are looking brighter wherever you are too. There's no question that the last few months have been tough- I think probably tougher than both lockdowns one and two combined, and just making it through January and February has felt like the most I'll achieve this year! As the weather warms up and days get longer, there's lots to feel optimistic about- even if, like me, you're erring on the side of caution in regards to the 21st June timeframe. 

As with both of the previous lockdowns, one of the things which has kept me ticking over during our most recent period of staying at home has been baking. I've been adding to my repertoire with some new recipes- more or less exclusively cake focused, of course- and being able to spend some time completely zoning out in the kitchen accompanied by Heart 90s has been a real godsend to be honest. One of my most recent bakes was a bit of new venture- the St Clements Cake, which is definitely a perfect creation for spring. I used this old favourite recipe from Mary Berry and adapted it slightly for what I needed- and it turned out quite well!

Ingredients
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
275g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 eggs
4 tablespoons milk
Grated rind of two lemons
Grated rind of two oranges (I used satsumas)

For the topping
175g granulated sugar
Juice of one lemon and one orange
Lemon and orange slices to decorate as preferred
Buttercream to ice

Method
1) Line your baking trays with greaseproof paper and butter- I used two classic sandwich tins. 
2) Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
3) Mix all of the ingredients for the cake batter until well combined. Pour into the lined tins and level off the mixture to ensure each sponge is equally spread- using a spatula helps with this. 
4) Bake in the oven (middle shelf) for 40 minutes or until the sponge springs away from the sides of the tin. This is also a good time to pop your orange and lemon slices into the oven on a small, lined baking tray for about ten minutes until they start to dehydrate. 
5) Once cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack. 
6) Whilst the cake is cooling, mix the granulated sugar and lemon/orange juice- it should be runny. Brush this over the cake as it cools down- I used a pastry brush for this.
7) Once completely cool- assemble the two sponges, spreading a layer of buttercream between them. 
8) Decorate with buttercream and the dried fruit slices. I also added some fresh fennel sprigs here for a pop of green!
9) Serve and enjoy!

All in all a really easy bake which is perfect for enjoying with a cup of tea in the garden- long may the weather continue to co-operate with these plans!

Have you tried any new bakes recently?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)

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