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Midsummer Dream Cake

Most Swedes would agree that Midsummer wouldn’t be the same without a proper strawberry sponge cake. Swedish sponge cakes are often made extra juicy by the addition of fruit juice, and in this case I’ve chosen to use mango and orange juice, along with a touch of cardamom for extra aromatic interest. I wanted to devise a sponge cake recipe without using eggs, so I’ve added mashed banana instead. That and the use of spelt flour, which I really like in baking for its nutty flavour, makes the sponge a little denser and moister than the traditional kind. It’s also easy to substitute plant-based ingredients for the dairy items in the filling and frosting as suggested. To decorate, use a few common edible wild flowers if you have the opportunity to pick them – after all, Midsummer is all about celebrating the great outdoors in full bloom!

Serves 8

sponge cake

250g spelt flour

75g raw cacao powder or cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

⅔ teaspoon fine salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

125g coconut oil or butter, plus extra for greasing

1 banana, mashed to a smooth purée

160ml plant-based or dairy milk

grated zest of 1/2 orange

50ml mango or fresh orange juice

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

125g honey or agave syrup

Raspberry filling:

200g mascarpone or créme fraiche

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

75g raspberries, fresh or frozen

2 tablespoons honey or agave syrup

Mascarpone icing:

200g mascarpone or créme fraiche

3 tablespoons honey or agave syrup

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

ground cinnamon, for dusting


300g strawberries, halved

other berries and fresh wild flowers (optional)


Preheat the oven to 180º/gas mark 4 and grease a 20cm springform tin with coconut oil. Put the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well together.

Melt the coconut oil or butter slowly in a pan. Put the honey, milk, orange zest, juice, mashed banana and vanilla extract in a second bowl and add the melted oil or butter. Whisk the wet ingredients together, either by hand or using an electric mixer.

Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the batter into the greased tin and level the surface using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 1 hour. Test by inserting a skewer into the centre: if it comes out dry and clean, the cake is cooked. Bake for a few minutes longer if it needs it.

Remove from the oven and allow the cake to rest and cool.

To make the raspberry filling, mix all the ingredients together. Set aside in the fridge. To make the mascarpone icing, briskly whip the ingredients together. Set aside in the fridge until ready to assemble the cake.

When the cake is cool, halve it horizontally and gently lift off the top half and set aside carefully. Add a generous layer of raspberry filling to the cake base then place the top half on the filling. Carefully spread a thick even layer of the mascarpone icing over the top of the cake.

Decorate the assembled cake with halved strawberries. It looks beautiful and festive to arrange flowers and berries around the base or on top with the strawberries.

VE Use coconut oil or olive oil instead of butter; opt for agave syrup instead of honey; and use vegan créme fraiche instead of mascarpone and cottage cheese.

GF This cake is not gluten-free.

More vibrant vegetarian recipes for gatherings in Nina Olsson’s Feasts of Veg