A salute to the C.W.A. & Country Women Everywhere.
(Part One.)

Pass The Sponge Cake Please.

A serendipitous instagram tag led us to our latest photo shoot with Clancy Paine, stylist, photographer and mother of four who has carved out her own niche capturing the beauty of the bush from her home in rural NSW.

In recent years she and her community have supported each other through drought, (mercifully no floods), a best forgotten mouse plague and the pandemic. But today is a magical afternoon, one of rustic tablescapes laden with home grown oranges, lush roses, pots of hot tea, a sponge cake festooned with strawberries and friendships old and new. 


 Clancy’s Tablescapes | Hints Of The past & Anything Goes. 

There’s a practicality that comes from living in the bush.  The long commutes to town often means rural hospitality can be a little more relaxed as we country women often have to ‘make do’ with what is the pantry and garden. I love to source my inspiration from my surroundings and use what I have on hand. Mismatched plates, recycled condensed milk cans, delicate sprigs of rosemary plucked from the garden, posies of pastel roses and delicate fine-bone china.

The Knitted Ram Tea-Cosy - I Mean Have You Ever!!
I bought this at the Dubbo Craft Cottage, a stalwart of our local community. With members in their 50’s right up to 94, it is a treasure trove of homemade goods, preserves, lovingly stitched and knitted items. 


Secrets Of A Rosette-Winning Sponge Cake - The CWA Way
Sweet, firm and fluffy.  A good sponge is joy personified. If you are going to bake, you have to do it properly, it truly is a labour of love. I like to keep things simple - lashings of strawberry jam and double cream from the local family owned ‘Little Big Dairy' which is just down the road. 


The CWA Never-Fail Sponge Cake.
Makes two 20 cm cakes
4 eggs, separated
small pinch of salt
3/4 cup (165 g) caster sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
3/4 cup (90 g) cornflour
1 large tablespoon custard powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 175°C.
Beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form, then gradually beat in caster sugar. Beat well until very thick, stiff peaks form. Gently fold in egg yolks and vanilla.
Add twice-sifted dry ingredients, then gently fold them through the egg mixture until combined.
Turn evenly into two well-greased sandwich tins, 21 cm x 6 cm deep.
Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the sides of the cake have shrunk a little from the side of the tins.
Turn out to cool, then slice through and fill with cream and jam, to make two individual layered cakes, or one big cake with four layers.
Ice or decorate the top as required; in the photo the cake is topped with strawberry halves and dusted with icing sugar.