This is not just any cake. This is an Elke cake.
A few months ago, one of my managers left to move back to Australia. When I first joined the NSPCC she was the head of my little team, and then when we had an internal restructure she became the head of my new, bigger team. She was a brilliant person to know. Something I love about my job is how much everyone cares, and she was the perfect example of this – she wanted to do a good job not for her own satisfaction or ego, but because she knew that what we were doing was good and important and she wanted to make sure, therefore, that we did it right.
She was also just fantastic at what she did. I have no idea how her brain managed to hold all of endless things she knew about digital and production and analytics whilst still also sparking creatively and coming up with new, brilliant solutions to our problems. And she was a great role model, too – a woman who was strong and capable and took absolutely no shit whilst also being calm, kind, funny and, on occasion, silly and playful. She was inspirational. I was very sad about her leaving.
So, I needed to make something pretty spectacular for her leaving party. This woman, however, didn’t really like cake. I’d made various cakes across the years and they’d never interested her. It wasn’t a personal slight against me, she just didn’t really like cake in general. The only cake she liked was one that had been made for her by one of our ex-colleagues, Elke, after she returned from maternity leave. So for her leaving cake I knew that I had to make an Elke cake.
This is the cake I made, after nabbing the recipe of my ex-colleague. It’s a strange recipe that has no fat in the sponge and requires you to add warm water to whipped eggs, but it does result in a cake that’s light and fluffy and delicious. I’d say it could be made for someone who is dairy free, but the topping and filling is made of cream and fruit, so maybe not.
I didn’t follow Elke’s recipe exactly, so this is more an Amy-version-of-an-Elke-cake, but it’s still a damn good cake and something I wouldn’t have tried without Elke’s original recipe. It’s definitely worth a try if you want something more unusual, and you could always swop the cream and fruit for chocolate ganache or something.
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon of vanilla
- 2 tablespoons of warm water
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g plain flour
- 1-2 tubs of double cream
- A mixture of fresh red berries
- A splash of vanilla
- Raspberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 170
- Whisk the egg yolks and vanilla together with a fork, then beat with a balloon whisk until they’ve doubled in volume. Add the water, then whisk again for 30 seconds.
- Whisk the egg whites until they’re in steak peaks. Fold the egg whites and the flour into the egg yolks until you have a fluffy mixture
- Pour into a deep, loose-bottomed 20cm baking tin lined with paper. Bake for 30 minutes. It should have risen slightly and stayed fluffy inside
- Let the cake cool, then cut horizontally in half so you have two 20cm round cakes
- Dice the fruit. Whip the cream until stiff, then add a splash of vanilla and whip again. Add ¾ of the berries to the cream and stir
- Lay the first layer of sponge on a plate. Add a thick layer of jam, and half of the creamy fruit mixture
- Carefully lay the other half of the cake on top of this, and top with the remaining creamy fruit. Add the remaining berries to the top to finish