“I love a good classic English dessert and this one ticks all the boxes for a right royal knees up! Bursting with fresh strawberries and cream, and laced with elderflower, lemon and vanilla, it’s a thing of beauty and an absolute joy to eat. ”
Hull and finely slice 6 strawberries. Line a 35x40cm baking tray with greaseproof paper, then arrange the strawberries in six evenly spaced rows across the tray. Place the tray in a cold oven and heat it to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
Once the oven comes up to temperature (my oven takes about 15 minutes, but keep an eye on it), remove the tray of strawberries – you want them to be slightly dehydrated, but still vibrant and red.
Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl, add the sugar and vanilla extract, then beat for at least 5 minutes, or until pale and tripled in volume.
Finely grate over the lemon zest, then sift and fold in the flour until smooth. Pour the mixture over the baked strawberries and smooth it out evenly. Tap the tray on your worktop a couple of times to remove any air bubbles, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Remove the sponge from the oven and confidently turn it out onto another tray lined with greaseproof paper. Carefully peel off the original greaseproof paper to reveal the striped strawberry pattern.
Place another sheet of greaseproof paper on your work-surface and scatter over 1 tablespoon of caster sugar. Flip the sponge back onto it so the strawberries are face-down.
Using the greaseproof paper to help you, tightly roll up the sponge and leave it to cool completely.
Hull and finely chop the remaining strawberries, reserving a few for decoration, and place in a bowl with the jam and elderflower cordial. Give everything a good mix and leave to macerate.
Halve the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds into a clean mixing bowl. Add the cream and icing sugar, then whisk to soft peaks. Transfer to a large piping bag with a star nozzle.
Blitz the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor to a super-fine dust.
Carefully unroll the cooled sponge and spread all over with the macerated strawberries and elderflower mixture. Pipe over most of the cream (reserving a little for decoration), then gently roll the sponge back up. Trim the ends to neaten, and transfer to a serving board.
Decorate the roulade with the remaining cream, strawberries and mint leaves, then sprinkle over the strawberry dust. Delicious!