-- You foodies may know that The Great British Bake Off has returned with a whole new season of yummy baking projects that I most likely will never attempt to make. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is hosted (and judged) by Paul Hollywood (really), Mary Berry, Sue Perkins, and Mel Geidroyc.
Mary is the more serious baker of the judges, and I have one of her many cookbooks. Her recipes are simple and direct, and the ones I’ve tried have worked well. But you do have to do a bit of translating from British measurements to American ones. This is an example that I have adapted and tweaked a bit.
--One of her recipes is for Wimbledon Cake. Wimbledon happens to be playing this week. Perfect!
In case you have been living in a cave all your life, “The Championships, Wimbledon, commonly known simply as Wimbledon, is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, and is widely considered the most prestigious. It has been held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London since 1877. It is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments… Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass.” (Thank you, Wikipedia.)
I have a fondness for Wimbledon, and not because I’m an avid tennis fan. The summer after college, I found myself a job in London (not simple in those pre-Internet days), working as a sales clerk and sometimes receptionist in the barber shop, at Simpsons Piccadilly, a venerable department store right on Piccadilly Circus. The pay was minimal (yes, I even had a green card for the summer!), but it was enough to cover a rented room in a flat and my Tube pass and food, and what more did I need?
It was also right in the heart of a fabulous city, and I took advantage of cheap tickets for musical events, plays, museums and anything else. Including Wimbledon, an easy train ride away. I saw Chris Evert play there—I think she was 18. (She lost to Evonne Goolagong that year.)
But I digress. You don’t go to Wimbledon just to watch tennis. Part of the tradition was to enjoy a dish of fresh strawberries and cream (the real stuff, not out of a can). Hence Mary Berry’s Wimbledon Cake, made with (you guessed it) fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It’s quick to make and not too heavy—and should be eaten quickly (or it will get soggy)!
Wimbledon Cake (adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe)
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 cup sugar
Zest and juice of one orange
1/2 cup semolina
Pinch of salt
4 oz fresh strawberries
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a deep round 8-inch cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. (Note there are no fats in the batter, so don’t skimp on greasing the pan.)
Put the egg yolks, sugar, orange zest and juice, semolina and salt into a bowl and beat until blended.
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Fold gently into the first mixture. Pour into the prepared baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the cake is risen and the top is springy when you press it with a finger. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes in the pan, then remove it from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Let it finish cooling on a rack.
Put aside a few strawberries for decoration, then slice the rest. Whip the cream (sweeten it if you like--you might taste your strawberries first to see how sweet they are).
Cut the cake in half horizontally. Put a generous layer of sliced strawberries and whipped cream between the layers.
When you’re ready to serve it, put the top layer on and garnish it with the reserved strawberries, whole or sliced. (Feel free to add more whipped cream if you like!) Sit down and watch the last matches on the telly—Wimbledon runs until Sunday!