Victoria Rhubarb Mascarpone Sponge Cake

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Goodbye Mr. March, welcome Ms. April!

In the old saying, if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb. This year, March came in warm and sunny, early signs of spring were everywhere surrounding us. Beautiful skiing in Fernie’s powder bowls, tulips and daffodils poking out in our yard….Just like a lion! But, then it left us with snow, fog and frigid temperatures last week. Not a lamb, instead a reminder that summer cannot be here yet!

I cannot wait any longer, and I had to make this very easy, fabulous dessert to bring spring back to my table. In my version of this sponge cake sandwich, Queen Victoria’s favourite treat for afternoon tea, I substituted the traditional sticky and sugar-laden jam and whipped cream with a sweet-and-sour orange and rhubarb compote and an unctuous orange-flavoured mascarpone cheese.

Ingredients for 8 generous servings:

Sponge Cakes:

1 cup butter

½ cup sugar

4 large eggs

2 cups cake or all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1½ Kosher salt

½ cup candied lemon rinds

Cream Filling:

½ pound mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1 orange

Rhubarb filling:

3 cups frozen rhubarb

½ cup sugar

2 oranges

1 stick cinnamon

2-3 tablespoons triple sec

1. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar using an electrical mixer, until light and fluffy.

2. Add the eggs, one at a time to give a homogenous cream.

3. In another bowl, resift the flour with the baking powder and the salt.

4. Fold the flour mixture into the butter cream, then the candied rinds.

5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

6. Line the bottom of two 8-inch round pans with wax paper, butter and dust the sides with flour.

7. Divide the batter into two and spread each half into the pans using a spatula.

8. Bake for 20-25 mins, until a toothpick comes out residue-free when inserted into the cake.

9. Let cool in the pans for 5-10 mins, then transfer on a rack.

10. To prepare the rhubarb filling, place rhubarb, sugar, orange juice and zest, and cinnamon in a saucepan.

11. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat while stirring, and lower the heat to a gentle simmer, until the fruit is tender.

12. Let cool slightly and stir in the liquour.

13. In the meantime, whisk cheese, icing sugar, orange juice and zest in a bowl until smooth.

14. To assemble the dessert, spread the rhubarb filling on one of the sponge cakes.

15. Poke the cake with a fork and wait 1-2 mins to allow any liquid to permeate and moisten the sponge.

16. Spread the cheese on the rounded side of the other cake.

17. Place the cakes right on top of each other, gently pressing to contact with the cheese with the rhubarb.

18. Sprinkle the top with icing sugar and enjoy without moderation!

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