Open Garden Squares weekend has turned out to be quite demanding. The Spring Fair at Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park required some serious baking and a few hours of dedicated cake cutting on Saturday morning. It was a good warm up session for an afternoon at the wonderful Abbey Gardens Vintage Garden Party where I was judging the Victoria Sponge competition. See how I just dropped that in as if it was something I did everyday? When did I manage to develop the demeanour of someone who knows about sponges when really I'm more of a fruit cake type? Perhaps it's the pearls...which I wore of course,.
Back to Abbey Gardens. I love Abbey Gardens - the long narrow beds filled to bursting with hearty brassicas and artichokes, the patches of poppies, the espaliered trees, the enthusiasm of the volunteers, the honesty stall where you can buy healthy little plantlets. And yesterday, nestled at the back of the cake stall, four Victoria Sponges waiting to be judged. Such a responsibility.
It turned out not to be too onerous a task with a clear winner - a firm, moist sponge, easy to cut, a light dusting of icing sugar, enough raspberry jam without overwhelming the sponge. The winner was delighted with her rosette, as were the runners up and there was a round of applause for all.
When all the clapping was over, I settled down for a piece of cake. Rhubarb, as it happens.