Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream...

If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that it can take me a bit of time from baking something until I actually manage to write it all up and post it here. I might post the initial results of my kitchen adventures on Instagram on the day, but it won't actually appear on the blog until much later, sometimes a couple of weeks. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I seem to find it easier to communicate through images rather than words. There are days when I'm sitting in front of my screen, trying to find the right words and it feels impossible. I have the images which I want to share along with the recipe, but seem to lack the words to go with them. I want the text to have some sort of relevance to the images, but often find that there's only so much one can say about sponge cakes or bean salads before beginning to sound absurd - though at least I can go on about the health benefits of a salad, less so when it comes to cakes. I could tell long-winded stories about something entirely unconnected, about my deep thoughts that led me to this recipe, but it would be a lie because the simple truth is that I just wanted to bake something tasty and play with flavours.

Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream

My life itself doesn't seem particularly exciting at the moment: things are trickling along, I'm doing my work, trying to save some pennies and going about my daily business like (nearly) everybody else. None of this is necessarily a bad thing, but doesn't really make for a good story either, right? I know people like to read about exciting projects, fabulous travel adventures, huge home makeovers, fancy new purchases and a seemingly glamorous lifestyle. We often like the element of escapism, and reading about somebody else's fabulous life that resembles a novel offers us the idea and hope that maybe one day our life will be just as fab. But what if things are just, you know, normal (whatever normal means)? What if, like most people out there, we are simply trying to figure things out and working to achieve our dreams without actually being quite there yet? Is normal such a bad thing that we don't want to read about it? Is there possibly a different kind of connection that can be made through same experiences? Right now, my life probably doesn't look like the kind of aspirational lifestyle so often portrayed on blogs, but it might be comforting for people to know that in reality most bloggers don't live that kind of high-flying life. Only writing about all the exciting and 'big' things we get up to and leaving out the mundane bits is not only a tad dishonest, but also sends the wrong message I think. Besides, just as there are many people who aspire to the big and high-flying lifestyle, there are just as many who are perfectly happy with the little moments. Why not speak to them, too? So, this post doesn't really go much further than giving you a recipe for some tasty cakes which can be served to your guests and will hopefully make them happy. That's something nice to aspire to, don't you think?

Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream

To make around seven mini cakes, you will need the following ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 225g light muscovado sugar (for more flavour and colour)
  • 225g butter at room temperature - plus extra for greasing
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of one lemon

For the filling:

  • lime marmalade - sorry, shop bought
  • 300ml double cream
  • 25 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar

For the decoration: 

  • basil leaves
  • icing sugar for sprinkling

You will also need a loose-bottom baking form of around 21 x 31cm and a round biscuit cutter of around 7cm.

Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream

And here's how it's done:

Ideally you should make the basil cream the day before and leave it to cool in the fridge for a good 6 hours.

To make the cream:

  • pour the cream into a saucepan and bring to a boil
  • add the basil leaves and leave to simmer for a couple of minutes
  • take the pan of the heat and leave to cool
  • once cooled, pour the cream into a bowl, cover with cling film and put into the fridge

To make the cake:

  • preheat your oven to 180C
  • grease the baking form with butter
  • mix the flour with the bicarb of soda and baking powder
  • put the eggs into a large bowl and add the flour mix, sugar, butter and lemon zest
  • mix all until combined, but don't overwork
  • pour the mix into the greased form and smooth 
  • bake for 30 minutes
  • once baked, leave to cool completely
  • after the sponge has cooled, use the cutter to cut 11 rounds
  • now cut each of the rounds horizontally into halves
  • each mini cake will be made of three halves, make sure you use the top half for the top of each cake

To finish the cakes:

  • pour the cream through a sieve (to remove the basil leaves) into a bowl
  • add the icing sugar
  • mix until the cream forms stiff peaks
  • transfer the cream into a piping bag with a large star nozzle
  • put two tsp of lime marmalade onto the first sponge
  • top with the second sponge
  • pipe dots of cream onto the sponge
  • top with the third sponge
  • sieve some icing sugar onto the top and decorate with some basil leaves
Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream
Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream
Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream
Mini sponge cakes with lime marmalade and basil cream

Until next time, find me on InstagramTwitter and Facebook… xo