Recipe by Nic
This cake is really easy to make, especially if you buy a ready made sponge. In the UK we can buy ready made 'sponge flan' cases but I just make my own for this. The filling is more luxurious than plain old whipped cream and easy to whip up too. If you do the hot skewer thing and can make spun sugar to go on top, you will have an elegant cake with a 'wow' factor. If, like me, you are useless with the sugar, a few strawberries on top will still be beautiful. Recipe adapted from James Martin's series 'Sweet Baby James' on the BBC.
- 1 large sponge cake
- 1 1⁄4 pints double cream, 750ml (heavy cream)
- 1 ounce caster sugar, 25g (fine granulated)
- 1 tablespoon orange liqueur
- 7 fluid ounces ready-made prepared custard, 200ml
- 2 lbs strawberries, hulled and halved length-ways leave about ten small ones whole, to garnish (see note, step 10)
- 2 1⁄2 ounces caster sugar, 75g, for the spun sugar (optional)
- 2 ounces icing sugar, 50g (powdered sugar)
- oil, for greasing
- 4 -6 ounces mixed berries, such as red currants, blueberries and blackberries, for the top of cake
- 3 sprigs of fresh mint
Directions See How It's Made
- In a large clean bowl, whip the double cream with 25g/1oz of the caster sugar and the orange liqueur until the mixture holds soft peaks. Fold in the custard, then place into the fridge to chill.
- Using a 20-25cm/8-10in stainless steel cake ring, or the outside ring of a spring form cake tin, cut out the centre of the sponge/flan case. Using a sharp bread knife, carefully cut the sponge in half horizontally to make two thin layers. Place the ring onto a large serving plate and place one of the sponge layers inside to line the base.
- Line the ring with the largest of the strawberry halves, cut-side facing outwards against the ring. Slice the remaining strawberry halves and lay in the centre of the ring, don't forget to save a few for the top of the cake. Then top with the cream mixture and smooth the top with a knife. Place the remaining sponge layer on top of the cream and dust heavily with the icing sugar.
- Carefully remove the cake ring, if you have trouble you can warm the edges with a hot cloth or a mini-blowtorch and then lift it off.
- You can serve it at this point if you want, just top with berries.
- Place the remaining 75g/2½oz caster sugar into a very clean pan and heat gently until it caramelises, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
- While the caramel is cooling, carefully heat a metal skewer until red hot by holding it over a hot hob, then use the hot skewer to score the top of the cake in lines to create a diamond pattern.
- Lightly oil a metal steel and shake spoonfuls of the caramel back and forth over the steel to make thin strands of caramel. Gather them up to make a loose ball.
- To serve, top the cake with the reserved small strawberries and the mixed berries. Garnish with mint sprigs and top with the spun sugar.
- Note: It's hard to estimate the exact amount of strawberries needed, 2-3 punnets was in the original recipe.