I am not the first person to pair Chamomile and Strawberries – there is a recipe for chamomile panna cotta and macerated strawberries in one of Heston Blumenthal’s books and a quick jaunt around the internets will bring up recipes for chamomile sorbet, chamomile custard and other sweet floral delights made with chamomile. Yet, it is a rare combination. Maybe unsurprising given a lot of us will have grown up sipping tepid chamomile tea while recuperating from yet another childhood illness.
Yet with herbs finding their way into baked goods more and more, it is about time we gave chamomile a second chance. Its flavour is delicate. Lemony, even a bit grassy, and undoubtedly floral. Moderation is key when using chamomile – too generous a helping will yield a bitter flavour yet, if you show too much restraint, the chamomile will be imperceptible.
These individual Victoria Sponge Cakes are my idea of the perfect treat for a summery afternoon tea. Quicker and less involved than baking a regular-sized version. And the addition of chamomile, the use of macerated strawberries rather than jam and the topping with whipped creme fraiche are enough to give the original recipe a delicious make-over without straying too far from the original.
Depending on how many I am serving I also like baking individual Victoria Sponge cakes, using muffin tins to bake small, cupcake sized sponges. Rather than splitting these small cakes in half, I like simply topping each with a generous dollop of whipped cream or creme fraiche and a spoonful of my favourite jam, or even some macerated berries or fruit compote.
Head on over to Food& for the recipe.