There are few things as enjoyable as spending time in the kitchen baking a cake or a few scones. The simple act of cooking creates a feeling of happiness.
Over the years, I have cooked in many different kitchens, from the cool Victorian vicarage kitchen of my childhood, with its huge painted dresser and north-facing windows, to my current urban basement kitchen, all the stuff. German minimalism with clean lines and soft light.
In between, I’ve experienced everything from sparkling stainless steel restaurant kitchens to beds with little more than a Baby Belling, kettle, and sink. No matter the size of the space, I step into another world when cooking – a feeling I suspect is familiar to many cooks.
Perhaps it is the special blend of precision and creativity that baking demands that takes you to another area. As your hands practice practical tasks such as beating or kneading, your mind wanders with currents of evocative scents. I may be in London on a hot summer day, but if I whip up the strawberry cream cake my mother made for my father’s birthday, I find myself in a rural English garden, transported by the sweet scent. sweet sponge and ripe strawberries.
All three of these recipes evoke the scents and tastes of spring – and if you choose to spend that May Bank Holiday weekend preparing these recipes, they’re sure to put a smile on your face.
Recipes from Sybil Kapoor’s National Trust Book of Baking, published April 15 (National Trust Books, Â£ 16.99).
Victoria Lemon Sandwich Cake
Traditionally, the sponge cake is flavorless and filled with raspberry jam or lemon cream; this is a more luxurious and buttery lemon version.