Is the weekend your time to cheat on that bikini body plan with some sweets? Then James Beard award-winning food photographer Katie Quinn Davies has you covered with her latest cookbook, What Katie Ate on the Weekend ($28; amazon.com).
An Australian native, Davies’s recipes are inspired by her globetrotting adventures and tried and true family dishes, like this fresh take on her mother's traditional English Victoria sponge cake, which adds a touch of limoncello, the Italian lemon liqueur, for a zesty kick. Read on for the delicious recipe.
Victoria Sponge Cake
1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup superfine sugar
3 free-range eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup, plus 2 tablespoons flour, sifted
4 tsp milk
4 tsp limoncello or 2 tsp lemon juice
8 oz mascarpone cheese
7 tbsp heavy cream
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Limoncello and Balsamic Strawberries
14 oz strawberries, hulled and quartered
2½ tbsp superfine sugar
2½ tbsp limoncello or 4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 small handful mint, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F fan-forced and grease and line 2 × 8 in springform cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer for 5–6 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
3. Add the vanilla and half the flour and beat until incorporated. Add the milk and limoncello or lemon juice and beat to combine, then add the remaining flour and beat until combined.
4. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops, then gently tap the pan on the countertop to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake.
5. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes, before turning out onto cooling racks to cool completely.
6. Meanwhile, for the limoncello strawberries, place the strawberries, sugar, limoncello or lemon juice and balsamic vinegar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low, add the mint and simmer for 2–3 minutes (the strawberries should be soft but still holding their shape).
7. Drain the strawberry mixture, reserving the syrup. Set the strawberries aside in a bowl. Return the syrup to the pan and place over medium heat. Simmer until reduced by half, then pour over the strawberries and leave to cool completely.
8. Whisk together the mascarpone and cream until smooth and thick enough to hold its shape. Spread the mascarpone cream over one sponge cake and place on a serving platter large enough to catch any juices from the filling. Top with the strawberry mixture, then sandwich the second sponge cake on top and dust liberally with confectioner’s sugar.