Tuesday 12th December 2017
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Serves
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients
For the almond sponge
4 large free-range eggs
150g ground almonds
100g self-raising flour
250g butter – room temp
250g caster sugar
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
2 or 3 tablespoons of Pimm’s or your favourite tipple

For the cream filling and coating
600ml fresh double or whipping cream
Raspberry jam
1 teaspoon rosewater

A selection of fresh, seasonal fruits

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Recipe by Dominic Franks, Belleau Kitchen

It seems that the approaching summer months are filled with big events like birthdays and weddings and I’m often asked to bake a ‘special occasion cake’ which sends shivers up my spine.

I’m not a fancy cake decorating kind of guy so this cake, with its impressive white chocolate cigarillos and tumbling fruit, is actually an amazingly simple way to make something look extra special.  The trick is not to be too neat and tidy.

For me, Pimm’s is the taste of summer but you don’t have to use alcohol for this; a nice, fresh lemonade or diluted elderflower cordial would work just as well.

I used a 20cm wide and 8cm deep cake tin – greased and lined on the bottom and the sides to stop it from catching.

You will need roughly 30 white chocolate cigarillos, which are easy to purchase.

METHOD
Pre-heat the oven to 170C.

In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add one egg and beat in followed by a third of the flour and almonds which you then beat in. Continue this way until all the eggs and flour are used up, remembering to push the sides of the bowl down between each beating to incorporate all the mixture. Add the orange blossom water when you add the final egg.

Pour the batter into your cake tin and bake for about 35 mins or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Don’t worry if it catches a little, no-one will see it and you can trim it down once it’s cooled. Remove from the oven and set aside on a cooling rack to cool completely.

When you’re ready to assemble, whip the cream with the rosewater until it’s quite thick.

Carefully slice the cake into thirds. I go around the cake with a sharp knife first, to measure out the layers to be safe, and then when you’re ready use a serrated bread knife – but don’t cut all the way through in one go; turn the cake as you cut and go deeper each time until you’re through.

Place the bottom layer onto your cake stand or plate and sprinkle on some Pimm’s, then cover with cream. Pour a little raspberry jam onto the cream and swirl it in with a knife. Lay the next sponge layer on top and repeat the process. Continue with your top layer and don’t forget to cover the sides and top with cream and jam swirled in. Now place the cake in the fridge for about 15 mins for the cream to harden a little; this will help stick the cigarillos.

After 15 mins take the cake out of the fridge and carefully place the cigarillos around the edge – they should stay in place quite easily. Then wrap with a ribbon. Now you can place the fruit into the cake – be as wildly creative as you dare, with fruit tumbling over the edges for a bit of luxuriant excess.

Don’t forget to follow Dom on his blog www.belleaukitchen.com

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