You may be wondering why I've decided to call this recipe Drizzly Mess, but the answer is very simple. This summery delight is a mash up between a lemon drizzle cake and an Eton mess; two of my favourite desserts! I make no apologies for the name, it is what it is and if you make it inappropriate, then that's your mind and not mine!
I know that Eton Mess is traditionally made with strawberries, but I've always preferred the tartness of raspberries to cut through that rich cream and sweet meringue.
Just a few notes from me.
The sponge. This is a classic sponge mix with lemon zest, so feel free to use your own recipe if it makes you more comfortable. Please do remember to keep an eye on the sponges as they will bake depending on your oven.
Raspberries. If you just want to use the raspberries to make the drizzling syrup, then you can use frozen (and defrosted) if they're not in season. Please also feel free to use strawberries, if you want to remain loyal to the classic Eton Mess brand.
Clotted cream. A decadent luxury, but not essential if you don't want to use it. Just increase the cream, sugar and vanilla slightly to make up the difference.
Lemon curd. I don't insist on anything when it comes to baking, but I would strongly urge you to try this little addition. By half folding the lemon curd through the cream, you get delicious little pockets of tart sweetness that balance beautifully with the other flavours.
Meringue kisses. Lastly, not a necessity, but oh so cute! If you don't want to make your own meringue, then by all means please buy some; I don't judge anyone in pursuit of sweet happiness, however they get there!
For the Cake:
300g unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
Zest of 4 large lemons
6 large eggs
300 self-raising flour
100ml whole milk – if necessary
For the Drizzle:
Juice of 4 large lemons
100g caster sugar
2-3 tbsp Chambord liqueur
For the Filling:
300ml double cream
225g clotted cream
2 heaped dessert spoons of icing sugar
2tsp vanilla bean paste
2 dessert spoons of lemon curd
For the Meringue Kisses:
2 large egg whites
120g caster sugar
1-2 tsp peppermint extract
Grease and line the bottom and sides of two 8” x 2” cake tins and preheat the oven to 180°c.
In a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs in one at a time, scraping down the sides between each one.
Sift the flour into a bowl and use a fork to stir through the lemon zest. Fold this into the cake mix in two parts, being careful not to over mix.
Divide the mix equally between the two prepared cake tins and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes or until springy to the touch. Please watch your sponges, as oven temperatures do vary depending on the type and age.
Once baked, leave the cakes in their tins whilst you prepare the drizzle.
Add 200g of the raspberries, sugar and the juice of the 4 lemons to a food processor – blitz for 10 seconds. Strain the mix through a sieve (scrape with a spoon) into a saucepan and warm through on a medium heat for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to boil. Add the Chambord if you want to and set the mix aside for a few minutes to cool slightly.
Using a chop stick, or something as equally thick, poke lots of holes in the two warm sponges. Carefully pour the drizzle all over the two sponges, making sure that it goes in the little holes. Allow the cakes to cool further before carefully transferring them to a rack to cool completely. The sponges will be very soft and moist, so I recommend flipping them out of their tins on to a plate before inverting them on to the cooling rack.
To make the filling, simply add the cream, sugar and vanilla to a large bowl and whisk into soft peaks. Scrape the very top layer off the top of the clotted cream (save for a scone) and fold the rest into the whipped cream mix. Finally stir through some lemon curd, but not too much – the pockets of lemon are a nice tangy touch.
For the kisses (if you want to make them), Whisk the 2 egg whites in a grease free bowl until they reach the soft peak stage. Add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, ensuring it has been whisked in before adding the next. Continue to whisk on high until the sugar has completely dissolved – rub some between your finger and thumb to feel for any graininess. Add the peppermint extract and taste for strength (try to avoid toothpaste).
Heat the oven to 110°c and line a large baking sheet with a silicone mat, or a piece of baking paper stuck down with dots of the meringue mix at each corner.
Transfer the meringue to a piping bag and cut a ½ inch hole in the top. Pipe little mounds of the meringue onto the baking sheet about and inch apart. Alternatively, you can spoon little mounds with a dessert spoon.
Bake for 1 hour and then turn the oven off, leaving the meringues in the closed oven. After 30 minutes, remove the meringues from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To assemble, lay one of the sponges on a serving plate, pipe or spoon over half the cream and dot half of the remaining raspberries. If you want to you can crush up some of the meringue kisses and sprinkle these in the middle – bear in mind that they will dissolve into the cream after a while, so probably best not to if you’re not eating this immediately.
Lay the second sponge on top and repeat the process, adding the little kisses as a final flurry of fancy.
Serve as soon as you can but keep in the fridge (covered) to keep the cream from spoiling.