There is something about a simple sponge that says so much about its maker. It is a defining badge for food made by people who like to eat. It is a food that cares less about how it looks than how it tastes. It's cake language for all those things a cup of tea and a hug can do in that hour of need be it emotional, physical or purely gustatory. And this number, laden with a white peach and champagne jam in the vein of my favourite drink the bellini is no exception.
This guy has a coarser, heavier crumb than its CWA counterparts but if like me you tend to be heavy handed with your baking then this is for you as it easily stands up to that kind of beating. And the jam, oh lordy the jam. It has the background sourness of the champagne and the heady musky sweetness of the peaches and it belongs, so completely, to a bit of lightly whipped cream and a slab of this sponge. Truly, go forth and gather the last of the stone fruit for the season and bottle it up as quick as you can, it's the sort of jam that is life changing.
Peach bellini jam
1kg white peaches, hulled
500g caster sugar
2 vanilla bean pods, seeds scraped
juice of 1 lemon
180g self raising flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon custard powder
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
185g caster sugar
50g butter, melted and cooled
300ml cream, whipped
icing sugar to dust (optional)
To make the bellini jam chop the peaches into chunks. Put into a large saucepan with 375ml champagne and the vanilla bean seeds and pods. Simmer slowly over low heat until the peaches are soft and falling apart.
Add the sugar slowly stirring until dissolved> Go slow until desired sweetness is achieved.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a high sided 16cm loose bottom cake tin.
Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl.
Add the eggs and vanilla to the bowl of an electric whisker and beat for 3-5 minutes or until thick and creamy. Gradually add the sugar and mix until thick.
Fold through the flour mixture and the melted butter until incorporated, being careful not to knock too much air out of your batter. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden and the cakes spring back to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out to a wire rack to cool completely.
Carefully slice the cooled sponge into 3 layers horizontally. Layer the base of the sponge with bellini jam and whipped cream then top with the next layer of sponge. Repeat again then top with final piece of sponge and dust over icing sugar if using.