The following recipes have been extracted from The Scandikitchen Summer by Brontë Aurell, published by Ryland Peters & Small.

MIDSUMMER STRAWBERRY LAYER CAKE

From ScandiKitchen Summer by Brontë Aurell

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

SPONGE

350 g/1¾ cups caster/granulated sugar

5 eggs

300 g/2 ¼ cups plain/all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

100 g/1 cup ground almonds

100 g/1 stick minus 1 tablespoon

unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 teaspoon vanilla sugar or

Vanilla extract

100 ml/1?3 cup plus 1 tablespoon

Whole milk

Grated zest of 1 lime

WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING

150 g/1¼ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature

425 g/3 cups icing/confectioners’ sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla sugar or seeds

scraped from 1 vanilla pod/bean

200 ml/scant 1 cup whipping/heavy cream

TOPPING/FILLING

Pastry Cream (see below)

50–70 g/¼ cup raspberry jam

600 g/1¼ lb. strawberries, sliced,

some left whole for garnish wild strawberry flowers, to garnish

disposable piping/pastry bag

3 x 20-cm/8-inch round springform cake pans, greased and base-lined

PASTRY CREAM

1 egg yolk

1 whole egg

30 g/generous ¼ cup cornflour/ cornstarch

80 g/1?3 cup plus 1 tablespoon caster/granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

500 ml/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons

whole milk

seeds from 1 vanilla pod/bean

25 g/1 ¾ tablespoons unsalted butter

For the pastry cream, whisk together the eggs, cornflour/cornstarch, sugar and salt until well combined and set aside. Heat the milk and vanilla seeds until just boiling in a saucepan. Slowly pour one third

of the milk into the egg and cornflour/cornstarch mixture, while whisking vigorously to incorporate but not scramble the eggs. Pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.

Whisk continuously and bring to the boil again for around 30 seconds until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter until melted. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool with a layer of baking

parchment on top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate, ideally for a few hours, before using. (This pastry cream will keep well in the fridge for a few days, if you want to make it in advance).

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.

Put the sugar and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until pale and fluffy. Alternatively, you can use a mixing bowl and a hand-held electric whisk.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground almonds together and fold into the sugar and eggs until incorporated. Fold in the melted cooled butter, vanilla, whole milk and lime zest until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 25–30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans before turning out.

To make the whipped cream frosting, whisk the butter, icing/ confectioners’ sugar and vanilla on high speed (in a stand mixer or using a hand-held electric whisk) until very well mixed. Add the cream and mix for 3–4 minutes until fluffy. Place in a piping/pastry bag and chill for 30 minutes.

Place the first sponge on a serving plate. Use a palette knife/metal spatula to spread over a thick layer of raspberry jam. Cut a hole in your piping/pastry bag and pipe bulbs of whipped cream frosting spaced evenly around the edge. Fill the inside with a layer of pastry cream and carefully spread out. Add the second layer of cake and repeat, this time adding sliced strawberries on top of the pastry cream, too.

Place the third and final sponge layer on top. This time, don’t add jam but repeat the neat bulbs of whipped cream frosting around the top edge and add a nice, thick layer of pastry cream to the middle. Finally, pile on whole and/or halved strawberries, leaving some with their green leaves attached. Add a few wild strawberry flowers, to decorate if you have them.

NETTLE DIP

SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

50 g/2 oz. nettle leaves

1 shallot, chopped

¼ garlic clove, crushed

50 g/2 oz. Västerbotten or pecorino cheese, finely grated

1 spring onion/scallion, chopped

1 tablespoon mayonnaise Greek/plain Greek-style yoghurt, to taste

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice, to taste

Salt and freshly ground

Black pepper

METHOD

First, wearing protective gloves, discard any thick stems and rough bits from the nettles. Rinse the leaves and then pop them into a saucepan of boiling water for around 2–3 minutes until soft. This will kill the stings.

Drain, then chop the nettle leaves. Add to a food processor or use a stick blender and blitz. Add the other dip ingredients (except the Greek yogurt and seasoning) and blitz again until fairly smooth.

Fold in the Greek yogurt and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before serving.

Note: When foraging for nettles always wear protective gloves. Only use the new tips and leaves, not the old plants – the best season is April through to May in the UK where I live, but if you live elsewhere you can look this up online. Never pick nettles that have grown next to polluted roads