A cake for spring: Malty sponge cake with matcha icing and marigolds

It’s only human to err and some of the best things are born out of mistakes, such as this malty springtime sponge cake with matcha icing. It was meant to be a meringue (which was in itself a by-product of baked pierogi that call for egg yolks only). A lack of sugar in the house meant that I had to turn it into a cake, made mainly from beaten egg whites. It ended up both moist and fluffy – a really great cake – which is why I am sharing it with you now. You need to use a large, round baking tin for this cake – it needs room to grow – and don’t try to scale it down either, I have reason to believe that this will not work as well. It’s delicious and reasonably healthy, so go ahead and make the full recipe!

I had to learn to love my mistakes, because I have a strangely perfectionistic side. Not many people know about this side of my personality, because I give the impression of being a bit dishevelled and low maintenance (which I also am, paradoxically), yet some things I am very anal about. It’s mainly to do with my own performance at something which I feel that I am good at – I used to be very critical and mean to myself in my head, but I have learnt to be kinder (though now and again I still catch the old me bullying the new me, ha ha).

With cooking, I have learnt that what appears to be a mistake, often turns out to be a vital development in creating something new (I found the same thing with art). This cake was certainly something new. I have never eaten marigolds before, and it was not my intention to eat them this time. I remember marigolds slightly differently from Poland, the petals were more frilly those of that flower up there in the picture. I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks, eating unknown flowers is very dangerous, yet the people of Instagram assured me that these flowers were indeed marigolds and were edible. Once I tasted a petal with the matcha icing, I was hooked. 


5 egg whites
100g caster sugar
50g Horlicks
50g ground almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


250g cream cheese
150g icing sugar
4 teaspoons matcha powder


Edible Marigold flowers or other edible flowers


Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks, then slowly add the sugar until the mixture thickens slightly.

Sift in the flour, the Horlicks and add the ground almonds and vanilla essence, stirring it all in very gently with a spatula.

Pour this mixture into a buttered baking dish and bake for 45min on 180 degress C.

Meanwhile, make the icing by combining the icing sugar, cream cheese and matcha powder and blending.

Place this is the fridge for about 30min before spreading on a cooled cake.

Once you take the cake out of the oven, leave it to cool in its tin for at least 30min, before turning out onto a rack.