Last week, on Friday 3rd June, my family lost my lovely Grandma Daphne.
She was beautiful and much loved by our family, but she was also an amazing woman of her time. The world is a sadder place with fewer people able to do the things she was so clever with. The things she could do were unbelievable. She was so creative in so many ways and at the top of her game in all of them. Saying goodbyes are always hard, but this one felt like the end of an era.
On behalf of myself and my cousins I wrote a little ode to her. Words never quite paint the whole picture, but for those of us that loved her, this brings us back to the times we loved. The times we remember in the Wilson home at 121 Manning St in Kiama.
Daphne Terese Wilson Our grandma. The creative wonder, the amazing cook and the loving lady.
The singer of the kitchen, the passionfruit sponge creator, the roast dinner specialist.
The award winning crochet queen, the tapestry master, the painter, the drawer.
The gardener and home maker. We all have beautiful memories of grandma. Of Grandma and Faff.
Of the gorgeous old house, the shed and the gardens. Of Christmases and family. What a wonderful family her and Tom started together?
And aren't we lucky to be part of that? You and all of the love you gave will be forever missed,
but everything you've left behind is a testament to how much you gave.
Thomas and Daphne Wilson
I could talk to you about her for hours. About her award winning crocheting abilities, how she created patterns for David Jones, or painted ceramics and had a kiln on the verandah working away most days. How she drew portraits, did amazing watercolours or made tapestry masterpieces with her bare hands. Her knitted toys. Her alice in wonderland garden...
And of course her baking.
She didn't even need recipes.
The one thing we all remember fondly was her passionfruit sponge. It was always waiting for us whenever we arrived for a visit and she'd usually have to whip up a few more over the next few days because one was never enough.
A light spongey cake with a tangy layer of passionfruit cream and finished off with a light dusting of icing sugar. Nothing more and it was always just perfect.
There was never a full recipe left as it was in her head. The only thing I remember was the use of custard powder. So I have been researching and experimenting until I finally put together a strong recipe rendition.
It goes without saying that my grandma's sponge was beyond amazing and despite this not being quite as amazing as I remember hers I do think it's great. If I have requests for more, I'll know I've hit the jackpot!
Adapted from a range of recipes and my memory!
3/4 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup custard powder
1/2 cup cornflour
1 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp baking soda
Thickened cream (to whip)
Pure icing sugar (to dust)
1. Preheat over to 180 degrees celcius (160 if fan forced). Butter and flour two 22cm cake tins. Separate eggs. Whisk egg whites on a medium speed until stiff peaks form. Slowly add caster sugar on a low speed. Whisk on medium speed until stiff and glossy (similar to a meringue).
2. Turn whisk to low and add the egg yolks. Mix until thoroughly combined. Do not over whip. When combined, turn mixer off and put the bowl aside.
3. Sift remaining dry ingredients on top of the egg mixture. FOLD lightly with a metal spoon or a plastic spatula until the dry ingredients are completely mixed with the egg mixture. Be careful when folding so as not to "knock" all of the air out of the egg mixture.
4. Pour the mixture evenly between the two cake tins and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the centre is cooked (springs back).
5. Turn cakes onto cake racks lined by a clean tea towel. They will stick to the wire racks if you forget the tea towel! (Trust me).
6. Whip the cream and fold through the passionfruit flesh/juice.
7. Top one of the cakes with the cream, sit the second cake on top and dust with the pure icing sugar.
Serve and enjoy.
It's not going to last long. You'll need to make more!
You can substitute canned passionfruit for the fresh ones if they aren't in season.
I don't remember my grandma ever drinking much at all and this cake was always served with tea. She preferred hers to be black. Always an English breakfast. So, for traditions sake, enjoy this with tea, but if you would like to make it special, I'd suggest serving it as part of a high tea and enjoying a glass of bubbles. Why not?
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