Fig, Mascarpone and Honey Sponge Cake
• 4 eggs, room temperature
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 180g caster sugar
• 80g cornflour
• 80g custard powder
• 1 tbsp self raising flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 300ml thickened cream
• 300ml mascarpone
• 4 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
• 80g fig jam
• 5 tbsp honey
• 6 fresh figs, sliced
• 3 tbsp pistachios, chopped
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease 2 x 20cm round cake tins with butter. Cut rounds of baking paper to line the bottoms of the tins and dust a little flour inside the tin to coat the sides. Do this by turning the tin around in a circular motion so that the flour clings to the greased edges. Tap out the excess and discard. The purpose of the flour is to give the cake batter something to cling to, encouraging it to rise up. Put the eggs and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until the mixture starts foaming. Add the sugar gradually, ensuring each addition is incorporated before adding the next. Keep mixing on medium to high speed for 8 minutes. By this stage the mixture will be a velvety, pastel yellow and have tripled in volume.
Sift all the dry ingredients into a separate bowl, then sift again directly into the sponge batter and fold through gently using a spatula. It is important to ensure all the flour is mixed through, but you need to be gentle, folding around and up through the middle to try to keep as much air in the mixture as possible.
Pour half the batter into each cake tin. Gently tap the tin to get rid of any air bubbles.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Do not open the oven door to check until 20 minutes is up (or the sponges will deflate). After 20 minutes, check by lightly touching the tops, if they spring back they’re done.
Remove and immediately turn the cakes over, leaving them in their tins, onto a clean tea-towel and leave for 5 minutes, then gently remove the cake tin and baking paper.
Allow to cool a little longer before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, these cakes freeze well, wrapped tightly in cling-film for up to 3 months.
Whip the cream with electric beaters until soft peaks form. Add the mascarpone and the icing sugar and beat until thick.
Once cakes are cool, place one down onto a serving plate. Spread with fig jam, then a little over half of the mascarpone cream. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the honey.
Place the second cake on top and dollop the rest of the mascarpone cream over. Decorate with fresh figs, sprinkle with pistachios and drizzle the remaining honey over the top.
The cake is best served on the same day it’s made.