1 cup all-purpose flour3 tablespoons cornstarch1 1/2 teaspoons baking powderscant 1/2 cup very soft unsalted butter1 cup granulated sugar4 eggs2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract2 tablespoons milkscant 1/4 cup slivered almonds1 1/2 cups heavy cream1/2 pint strawberries
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line, butter and flour two 9-inch springform pans.
Combine the flour, cornstarch and baking powder into a bowl.
Cream the butter and 1/3 cup of the sugar in another bowl until light and fluffy. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks into the butter and sugar, saving the whites to whisk later. Gently fold in the measured-out dry ingredients, add the vanilla, then sir in the milk to thin the batter. Divide the mixture between the two prepared springform pans.
Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then gradually add the remaining sugar. Spread a layer of meringue on top of the sponge batter in each pan and sprinkle the almonds evenly over.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, by which time the top of the almond-scattered meringues will be a dark gold. Let the cakes cool in their tins, then spring them open at the last minute when you are ready to assemble the cake.
Whip the cream, and hull and slice the strawberries; that's to say, the bigger ones can be sliced lengthwise and the smaller ones halved. Invert one of the cakes on to a plate or cake stand so that the cake crumb is uppermost. Pile on the cream and stud with the strawberries, letting some of the berries subside into the whipped whiteness. Place the second cake on top, meringue upwards, and press down gently, just to secure it.
If you've got any more strawberries in the house, hull and halve them, and serve them in a dish to eat alongside; it gives the cake a more after-lunch, less afternoon-tea kind of a feel, but it's hardly obligatory.
Excerpted from Forever Summer by Nigella Lawson. Photographs by Petrina Tinslay. Copyright (c) 2003 Nigella Lawson. Photographs Copyright (c) Petrina Tinslay. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold. All Rights Reserved.