This classic vanilla sponge is filled with Ruby’s homemade strawberry jam and a decadent mascarpone and cream filling topped with fresh peach. It’s certainly woo-woo if you soak the peaches in vodka first!
Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4.
Beat together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the beater, on medium speed until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla paste and sift in the flour, then fold with a wooden spoon to combine to a smooth batter.
Divide the mixture equally between the prepared tins, level with a spatula and bake for 25–30 minutes, until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, place the peach slices in the vodka, if using, and set them aside to soak while you make the syrup, jam and cream filling.
For the syrup, place 100ml of water in a small pan and add the sugar. Place over a medium–low heat and bring to the boil. Allow to boil for 2–3 minutes, swirling the pan from time to time, but not stirring, until syrupy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool while you make the jam.
Put the chopped strawberries, cranberry juice, caster sugar and chia seeds in a medium pan. Place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Boil for 5 minutes, until pulpy with a few pieces of soft strawberry, then remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and leave to cool while you make the cream filling.
Using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk together the mascarpone, double cream, vanilla paste and icing sugar until smooth. Set aside.
Brush the sugar syrup onto the flat side of the cooled sponges on the rack. Spread the cooled jam on top of one sponge in an even layer. Then, spoon some of the cream filling on top of the jam and spread evenly. Drain the peach slices (if soaking) and place them in an even layer over the cream filling (if you haven’t soaked them, simply place the slices on top of the cream). Place the second sponge on top (syrup-brushed side upwards) to sandwich.
Transfer the cake to a serving plate and decorate with the whole fruit and mint sprigs. Sift the icing sugar over the top to finish.