This recipe was specially commissioned by the GDST for the 140th anniversary of the Girls’ Day School Trust and appeared in issue 12/13 of Verve Magazine (also available online here). Mary Berry is a GDST alumna, and all girls were given a postcard with the recipe to celebrate the Bake Off event (the final of which was just by one of the hosts of The Great British Bake Off, Mel Giedroyc – another GDST alumna!). I used to teach music at Central Newcastle High School which makes me an ‘Old Girl’, and as I love baking I just had to try out this recipe. If you make your own lemon curd, it will taste even better! I also added buttercream, which is not in the original recipe.
225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
225g self-raising flour
2 level teaspoons baking powder
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
About 4 tbsp lemon curd
250g icing sugar, sifted (plus extra for dusting)
80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
25ml semi skimmed milk
Finely grated zest of half a lemon
1. Lightly grease two 20cm loose bottomed sandwich tins and line the bases with a circle of non-stick baking parchment. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160F/Gas 4.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Beat the eggs and add the grated lemon zest and mix well. Pour the mix in a little at a time and mix well. Sift in the flour and baking powder and combine together. (Mary’s original recipe suggests using an electric whisk – put all ingredients into a bowl and beat for a couple of minutes).
3. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and level with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until well-risen and golden.
4. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for a few moments then run a blunt knife around the edge of the tins to free the sides of the cakes. Turn the cakes out, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
5. As the cakes cool, make the buttercream by creaming together the butter and icing sugar. Add the milk and lemon zest and beat until smooth.
6. Choose the cake with the best top, then put the other cake top downwards on to a serving plate. Spread with the lemon curd and then the buttercream. Put the other cake on top and dust with icing sugar. Put the kettle on, cut a big slice and enjoy!
If you’re not a fan of lemon, you could always try out my Classic Victoria Sponge. I’m not sure what Mary Berry would make of my slightly sunken cakes, but they do taste very good!