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Victoria Sponge Eton Mess Cake

Yes, you read that correctly.

It was my Mum's birthday last week (Happy Birthday again Mum) so what better way to celebrate than to bake a cake for the person who inspired my love of baking?

She asked for a Victoria Sponge, but I knew I had to make it a little bit more special, and after thinking about doing some mini pavlovas to show on the blog, I decided to incorporate meringue into the cake, ultimately making it a super-hybrid cake between the traditionally classic, Victoria Sponge and the summery influenced, Eton Mess. A match made in heaven, I think you'll agree.

So when constructing the cake, I knew I wanted to have a meringue layer in the middle, but also meringue kisses, inspired by the amazing Meringue Girls. I wasn't brave enough to attempt to colour them in the striped style but I'm sure it's actually quite easy once you get the hang of it. I searched for a meringue 'kiss' recipe and found this. I used the same recipe for the kisses as the layer, which ended up having a really hard, but almost pure white shell (probably from the use of icing sugar as opposed to caster), but was still satisfyingly gooey on the inside. To make the layer all I did was spread the meringue into a 7 inch circle shape.

I actually made two layers and more kisses than required for contingency, due to the glorious hot weather and being faced with a train journey home after work, I couldn't assemble the cake until I got home for the weekend. Amazingly the meringue travelled really well and I think about one kiss out of the 18 crumbled - result.

For the sponge I used the recipe from my Baking Basics book, as recipe that NEVER fails me and is utterly light and fluffy. The outside crumb was a little crumbly for my liking but I prefer substance over style so I'm not too bothered.

I bought 600ml of cream which I sadly over whipped. I got it to the perfect smooth consistency I wanted, but needed to add some vanilla, and my doing that I went over the point of silky whipped cream to... almost butter. But ho hum, you win some you loose some I guess. I also placed sliced strawberries on the cream layers and the whole on the top for decoration.

Despite it's slightly crown-like appearance, I'm really pleased with how the cake turned out lookswise, and I'll admit it tasted glorious! It really was a crowd pleaser, because I mean, who doesn't love cream, strawberries, meringue and cake? If there's anyone, then I don't want to know them.

I'd love to try doing this again, but refining the appearance to be more, ahem, polished. But I know for sure, that I won't be able to stop incorporating the beautiful British berries that have surfaced this year into my summer bakes - I can't get enough of them!