Like any parent, my life changed when my son, Myles, was born. But, unexpectedly, my baking changed, too.
Since he was able to stand, Myles has been baking with me. He loves the bonding time, working together on a project, eating the end result, and, of course, licking the beater!
I try and create fun but teachable moments, like when I force him to focus and measure perfectly and read carefully through instructions.
When Myles was little, I could easily dictate the projects, teaching him different things along the way – how to measure, how to roll dough, and how to pipe frosting, for example.
Now that he is eight, Myles has his own strong baking opinions.
I like small things – cupcakes, cookies, and mini pies. However, Myles begs me to make layer cakes (totally not my thing).
He has become the one pushing my boundaries and getting me to grow and change!
When you have a kid in the house, things are bound to get messy. So, for our first major cake project together, we chose a cake that is made to be messy – an Eton mess cake! An Eton mess cake is a layer cake made with fresh fruit and whipped cream with crushed meringues between the layers. The meringue gives each bite an unexpected crunch. To make our cake more appropriate for the holidays, we replaced the plain sponge cake with a spiced sponged cake and used sugared cranberries instead of the typical strawberries.
One of the things that my husband Jonathan and I like to teach Myles is the importance of using high quality ingredients in all of our cooking and baking. We believe strongly in using real and ethically sourced ingredients and we want to pass those values on to him. So, I am thrilled to partner with Simply Organic as part of their Cook for a Change campaign.
Just like adding spices can transform a dish, enjoying the process of cooking and baking can transform your life – in small and big ways. On Simply Organic’s holiday page, you can find a cooking series from a few fabulous foodies inspired by their personal stories of change in the kitchen. The stories are so fun to read and each one will help you explore new flavors and recipes and get you in the holiday spirit.
I would love to hear your story of change! Just post on social media using the hashtag #CookForAChange. For each use of #CookForAChange, Simply Organic will donate one meal to the Ceres Healing Meals Program!
Spiced Cranberry Eton Mess Cake
Sponge Cake Ingredients
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 teaspoon Simply Organic ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon Simply Organic ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon Simply Organic ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon Simply Organic ground cardamom
- 6 large eggs separated
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
Whipped Cream and Topping Ingredients
- 3 cups heavy whipping cream cold
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 30 small meringues homemade or store-bought
- 6 ounces sugared cranberries
Sponge Cake Instructions
- Preheat oven to 325 F.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together cake flour and all of the spices. Set aside.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whip egg whites until frothy.
- Add cream of tartar and salt.
- Continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- In another medium-sized mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and pale yellow.
- Mix in sugar until well-combined.
- Mix in orange juice until well-combined.
- Mix in flour and spice mixture until just combined.
- Fold in whipped egg whites.
- Divide batter evenly between three 8" round cake pans lined with parchment.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpicks inserted into the centers of the cakes come out clean.
- Turn out cakes onto a cooling rack.
Whipped Cream and Assembly Instructions
- In a large mixing bowl, whip heavy whipping cream until it starts to get fluffy.
- Add sugar and continue whipping until it looks like whipped cream!
- Top one of the cakes with 1/3 of the whipped cream, spreading to cover the whole cake but not the sides.
- Crush 24 of the meringues into small pieces. You can do this by placing them in a sandwich bag and using a rolling pin.
- Top the whipped cream with 1/2 of the crushed meringues.
- Top the meringues with 1/3 of the sugared cranberries.
- Place the next cake layer on top of the cranberries and top with half of the remaining whipped cream, spreading to cover the whole cake but not the sides.
- Top with the remainder of the crushed meringues and half of the remaining cranberries.
- Place the final cake layer over the cranberries.
- Use a large star tip to pipe the remainder of the whipped cream onto the cake.
- Decorate with whole meringues and the remainder of the cranberries.
- Refrigerate if not serving immediately.