Here’s a great looking cake with that “Wow” factor. It tastes terrific and it’s as light as a cloud. Slice easily through the delicate crunchy almond coating to reveal a wonderful creamy, fruity interior.
Time: Crème Patissiere – 30 minutes; the sponges – an hour + cooling; assembly and decorating – 40 minutes
Level: A small step up from “Easy”
Need: 2 x 20cm/8” round, loose bottomed cake tins, well greased with melted butter, base lined and dusted with flour
Crème Patissiere (coating & topping)
- 225ml/8fl oz double cream
- 1 or 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 75g/2.5oz caster sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- 45g/1.5oz plain flour or cornflour
- 75g/2.5oz unsalted butter, cubed
- Another 100ml/3.5fl oz double cream + 30ml/1fl oz available if required
- 4 large eggs
- 140g/5oz caster sugar
- 1 – 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 125g/4.5oz self-raising flour
- 60g/2oz unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 250g/9oz blueberry jam
- 300g/10oz mascarpone
- 100g/3.5oz flaked almonds
- 6 – 12 blueberries
1. Make the crème patissiere. (You could do this the night before and leave in the fridge.) Pour the 225ml/8fl oz of double cream into a pan and add the vanilla extract. Use a low heat to bring it to just below boiling point, then remove from the heat.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and flour (sifted in) until well combined. Add in the vanilla/cream mixture. Rinse out the saucepan, then pour the mixture back into it and cook gently over a low heat, whisking all the time to stop any lumps from forming. Once it has thickened, add the cubed butter and stir well until fully melted together. Pour the crème patissiere into a bowl and cover with cling film in contact with the surface to avoid a skin forming. Chill until needed (overnight is OK).
3. For the cake, melt the 60g/2oz butter and leave to cool. Meanwhile pre-heat the oven to 200C / Fan 180C / 400F / Gas 6. At this point you could, if you wish, roast the almonds for extra flavour. Heat a large, heavy frying pan without any oil then scatter the almonds in. It will only take a few minutes before they begin to darken. Keep them moving all the time. Tip onto a plate to cool for use later.
4. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a large heatproof bowl until well combined. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk until pale in colour and thick enough to leave a trail when the whisk is lifted. Remove the bowl from the pan and continue to whisk until thick and cool.
5. With a large metal spoon, carefully fold in half the flour. Pour the cooled melted butter around the edge of the bowl and fold in gently until fully incorporated. Equally gently, fold in the remaining flour.
6. Divide the mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for about 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully. Take care, the sponges will probably be quite delicate.
7. To assemble the cake, beat the mascarpone so that it is easily spreadable. If the blueberry jam is lumpy, sieve it into a small bowl unless, like me, you like the blueberry “lumps”.
8. Once cooled, set aside the cake with flattest top (or bottom) and cover the other cake with the mascarpone then add blobs of jam and swirl the two together*. Place the other cake on top, flat side uppermost. If time allows, chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. (*Or mix them together before spreading on the cake.)
9. While the cake is chilling, beat the crème patissiere so that it is spreadable. Whip the remaining 100ml/3.5fl oz of double cream until it starts to thicken then stir it into the crème patissiere. If the sponges are delicate you might need to loosen this mixture with the extra 30m/1 fl oz of cream.
10. Coat the whole cake with the mixture. Cover the sides and the top, or part of it, with the flaked almonds and add the blueberries in any design of your choice.
Here are just a few that I’d love you to try: