LIKE Easter, Mothering Sunday is early this year on the fourth Sunday of Lent.

Today's children usually buy their mother a Mothering Sunday gift.

In Victorian times, however, it was traditional for girls working in service and living away from home to visit their mother and present her with a boiled fruit cake decorated with almond paste.

This was permitted, despite it being Lent, as Mothering Sunday was then also known as Simnel Sunday, or Refreshment Sunday, a reprieve from Lenten fasting.

This year, I am making my mother a whisked sponge for Mothering Sunday which will be filled with cream and smothered in chocolate.

It's an easy and rewarding recipe and one that children could make with a little adult supervision.

You will need: 3 free range eggs 3oz (75g) castor sugar 3oz (75g) self-raising flour One dspn hot water 4 dspns strawberry or apricot jam One 248ml tub double cream for filling One 142ml tub single cream for topping 4oz (100g) dark chocolate for topping Method: Turn the oven to 180C/350F or gas mark 4 Prepare two seven-inch sandwich tins by rubbing with butter and then dusting with flour to prevent sticking Place the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and whisk until the mix becomes thick and creamy, and the whisk leaves a trail over the surface Add the flour and gently fold into the mix, then add the hot water and fold that in too Divide the mix between the two tins and bake in preheated oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until the surface springs back to the touch Allow the sponges to cool on a wire rack while you beat the cream until thick When the sponges are cool, spread the jam on one, then the cream, and place the other sponge on top Boil up the single cream in a small saucepan, break the chocolate into pieces and add to the cream. Turn off the heat and whisk the mix until the chocolate has blended with the cream Pour the chocolate mix over the cake and allow to dribble down the edges Decorate the cake as you wish and present it to mother.