Wimbledon is on, the new royal baby Princess Charlotte is being christened, the sun is shining, the barbecue is fired up and even the Formula 1 Grand Prix is taking place in the UK this weekend - it's a true celebration of all things British.
And where would we be at a British celebration without a glass (or three) of Pimm's and lemonade?
I've just discovered from Wikipedia (where else) that Pimm's has been around since 1823 and is named after the son of a farmer from Kent who owned an oyster bar in London. He served a gin-based drink made with a secret mixture of herbs and liqueurs as an aid to digestion, serving it in a small cup known as "no.1" - and that's why the full name of the drink we all love today is Pimm's No. 1 Cup.
We were recently sent a fruit basket at work containing among other things a large punnet of strawberries. I had some cream at home (long story - I was asked to make my malteser cake by a colleague so bought the ingredients though I warned him in this weather the chocolate would melt; he then agreed and cancelled the order but I had already bought the cream and chocolate!). Most people would think of strawberries and cream, but I don't particularly like strawberries and neither does my boyfriend (I know, we're weird). I then remembered that I had some cucumber in the fridge from another recipe - and I don't like cucumber much either. But my mind had started whirring as I thought of the mint on my windowsill and that all I was missing was an orange for a nice Pimm's!
I knew that the fruit wouldn't really keep until we next had people over and there wasn't much point making a pitcher of Pimm's with all the fruit just for me so the logical conclusion was a cake! I can't believe I haven't made a Pimm's cake before :-)
Pimms Cream Cake - an original recipe by Caroline Makes
175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
8 tbsp. Pimm's
8 tbsp. lemonade
About 450ml double cream
To decorate - strawberries, orange, cucumber, mint leaves
This quantity makes two thin layers - with the rich cream in the middle this was plenty but you might want to scale up the quantities to make three thin layers, or double the ingredients and make two thick layers.
Preheat oven to 175C.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat in the eggs and flour.
Add the Pimm's and lemonade and mix until you have a pourable batter.
Grease two 8-inch cake tins and pour half the batter into each tin. Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes until cooked. Test the middle with a skewer if you are not sure.
When the cake has cooled, whip the cream until stiff and use half to fill the cake and half to spread on top. Decorate the top with chopped cucumber, orange, strawberries and fresh mint leaves.
The cake has a hint of Pimm's and was really light; the cream was a better choice than buttercream. I was tempted to add a dash of Pimm's to the cream but wasn't sure how much this would have altered the consistency so if you do try that, let me know how it turns out!
Formula 1 Foods, the blog challenge I started to celebrate each location for the F1 Grand Prix, as this weekend is the UK.
I'm also sending it to the Food Year Linkup, hosted by Charlotte's Lively Kitchen.
This is the perfect cake to enjoy at a barbecue so I am sending it to Tea Time Treats, hosted by Jane at the Hedgecombers and Karen at Lavender and Lovage.
The theme for Love Cake, hosted by Ness at JibberJabber UK, is cakes from around the world, and this is very much a British cake.
The theme for Vegetable Palette is glorious reds and Shaheen at Allotment 2 Kitchen said she will accept fruits as well so since this cake uses strawberries I'm sending it in.
There's also a new challenge called Cake Club hosted by Kerry Cooks so this is my first entry.