There are few things as enjoyable as spending time in the kitchen baking a cake or some scones. The simple act of cooking engenders a feeling of happiness.
Over the years I’ve cooked in many different kitchens, from the Victorian parsonage kitchen of my childhood, with its huge painted chest of drawers and north-facing windows, to my current urban basement kitchen, all minimalism German with clean lines and soft light.
In between, I’ve experienced everything from gleaming stainless steel restaurant kitchens to studio apartments with little more than a Baby Belling, kettle and sink. No matter how small the space, I enter another world when I cook – a feeling I suspect is familiar to many cooks.
Perhaps it’s the particular mix of precision and creativity that pastry requires that takes you to another zone. As your hands are exercised with practical tasks such as beating or kneading, your mind drifts on the currents of evocative scents. I may be in London on a hot summer day, but if I bake the strawberry cream cake my mum used to bake for my dad’s birthday, I find myself in a rural English garden, transported by the sweet scent of sweet sponge cake and ripe strawberries.
These three recipes evoke the scents and tastes of spring – and if you choose to spend this season getting more creative in the kitchen and cooking up these recipes, they’re sure to put a smile on your face.
Lemon Victoria Sandwich Cake
Traditionally, the sponge is flavorless and filled with raspberry jam or lemon curd; this is a more luxurious, buttery lemon version.