Country of origin: France
I have been meaning to make these for a while and have finally assembled most of the equipment needed. You only really need a large sheet pan (for the sponge layers), a cake ring and some acetate, although even cling film/Saran wrap will do.
I would recommend doing these first steps two days before you want the cake:
1. Make the pastry cream, which you can lighten with whipped cream or butter (making it into mousseline). I used the pastry cream recipe in here, and I used double the recipe for a ten-inch diameter cake. Cover with cling film/Saran wrap and cool, then store in the fridge.
2. Make some simple syrup.
3. Make any chocolate decorations that need to harden and set.
4. Raspberry coulis topping (optional): make rapsberry coulis following the recipe in here, but don’t add the gelatin (do that just before you pour onto the cake.) If you don’t want to add the raspberry coulis just glaze the top layer of the cake with neutral glaze instead (which I did with the larger cake pictured below.)
The day before you want the cake:
5. Make the sponge layers, you can use a genoise sponge, regular sponge cake or a butter-less sponge recipe. I used this recipe (under Chocolate Joconde, and omitted the cocoa powder) and it makes enough for one half-sheet pan. Use a spatula to smooth the batter in the pan, to ensure you get even layers. However, do this quickly and with light hands: you don’t want to beat out all the air bubbles in the meringue.
6. While the sponge is baking, you can prepare and cut the fruit you plan to use. Traditionally this is strawberries cut in half or raspberries left whole, but I don’t see why you couldn’t try something else, mango perhaps?
7. Cake assembly:
Once the sponge is baked and cooled, remove from the pan and cut it to size using the cake rings. You want two layers for each ring. Cut on the outside of the ring, as you want a snug fit when the biscuit goes in the ring (no gaps please, otherwise the pastry cream will seep through!).
On a tray or plate lined with parchment paper (check that this tray/plate fits in your fridge!), place the cake ring for cake assembly. Line the inside of the cake ring with acetate or cling film/Saran wrap. Then put the first layer of sponge in. Brush with simple syrup.
Align your fruit, equal distances apart in a circle, cut side out. Make sure you leave enough room at the top for another layer of sponge plus a bit more.
Put your pastry cream/mousseline in a piping bag and pipe the cream in between the strawberries. Then put a spiral of cream in middle and top with some chopped fruit.
Using an offset spatula, smooth out until it’s flat and you can just see the tips of the strawberries upright strawberries.
Add the next layer of sponge and syrup it.
Now you’ll only have a little space left. Add a final layer of pastry cream. Smooth this completely with an large flat knife/ruler.
Put in the fridge to firm, you can leave it overnight, but at least a couple of hours.
After a couple of hours it’s time for the glaze/raspberrry coulis final layer or neutral glaze.
If you have neutral glaze, which you can buy here, heat it up as per instructions and glaze. Confidence is the key! Pour it on when it’s nice and liquid and using a flat knife spread it so it’s even. Again, back in the fridge to set.
Alternatively, you can pour on your raspberry coulis, with gelatin added.
Once the whole cake has sat in the fridge for a while, you can take the ring off carefully and peel off the acetate from the side of the cake.
Decorate as you wish and eat!
Don’t use skimmed milk if the recipe calls for whole, i tried and ended up with split and grainy pastry cream.