What are you most looking forward to about summer? Perhaps you can’t wait to hit the beach, or have you planned a great holiday? Maybe you’re excited about the abundance of fresh fruit and the millions of things you can do with it? Personally, I’m looking forward to having lots of picnics, summer music festivals (bring on Southbound in Busselton! I’ve booked my flights to Perth and I’m already excited!), eating hundreds of strawberries and drinking lots of cocktails in pretty places – balconies, gardens, rooftops of heritage pubs that look out onto Sydney harbour … you get the picture!
My drink of choice these days is Pimms, and I’ve got Betty to thank for this discovery! I love Pimms and ginger ale, with some lemon and lime wedges, strawberries and mint leaves thrown in, the most perfect drink for a warm day. The weather has been stunning lately, sunny and warm, but not too hot. Spring is definitely here! I wanted to create a dessert that combined all the components of a Pimms cocktail, but in the form of a delicious cake. Simple, yet sophisticated. This dessert ticks all the boxes.
The recipe was inspired a gorgeous cake from Sunday Suppers, which is a beautiful blog complete with stunning photography that always makes me want to host a dinner party. It’s a light and fluffy lemon and buttermilk cake that would be perfect for afternoon tea. Next time I would add a little more lemon zest, and my addition of ginger was hardly discernible at all, so I’ve upped the quantity in the recipe below to 1 teaspoon.
I decided to add Pimms and mint leaves to the strawberry compote, which worked really well together. The strawberries this year have been really sweet and juicy, and this was a fabulous way to show them off. I look forward to using them in lots of other ways over the warmer months. And it goes without saying, this dessert would be equally delicious with a cup of tea, or a jug of Pimms!
Lemon and Buttermilk Cake with Strawberry and Pimms compote
Adapted from Sunday Suppers
• 250g unsalted butter
• 2 cups raw sugar
• 4 eggs, at room temperature
• Zest of 2 lemon
• 1 teaspoon minced ginger
• 3 cups plain flour
• ½ teaspoon baking powder
• ½ teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• Juice of 1 lemon
• ¾ cup buttermilk
• 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the bottom and sides of a 30x22cm cake pan (I used a 25cm round pan). Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, allowing each to fully incorporate before adding the next one. Add lemon zest and ginger, mix to combine.
Sift dry ingredients together in a bowl and then combine lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla in another bowl or jug. Alternate flour and buttermilk mixtures, starting and ending with flour. Mix well between each addition until fully combined. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until a skewer comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Serve the cake in wedges, with strawberry and Pimms compote.
Strawberry and Pimms Compote
• 2 cups strawberries, hulled
• 3 tablespoons Pimms
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon caster sugar (or to taste, depending on the sweetness of the strawberries)
• 8 fresh mint leaves, julienne
Combine strawberries, Pimms, vanilla and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, stir in the mint leaves.