CHOCO-BERRY FRAISIER

(c) Matt Russell

Ingredients (serves 8/10)

For the genoise sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 130g golden caster sugar
  • 110g plain flour
  • 20g cocoa powder
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

For the blackcurrant crème mousseline

  • 1 quantity Crème Pâtissière (recipe here), cooled and set
  • 2 tbsp crème de cassis liqueur
  • 175g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled slightly
  • 75g white chocolate, melted and cooled 

For the soaking syrup

  • 50g water
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp kirsch liqueur
  • 1⁄2 tsp lemon juice

For the berry filling

  • 400g strawberries (try to get smaller, even-sized ones)
  • 150g blackberries (get the biggest ones you can)

For the topping

  • 2 tbsp blackcurrant jam
  • 50g natural marzipan
  • 1 quantity freshly made Mirror Glaze (recipe here)
  • Gold leaf 

Equipment

  • 20cm/8-inch cake ring (available to buy here)
  • 6cm/2 --inch deep, ungreased, on a baking sheet lined with baking paper
  • 20cm/8-inch round cake card 
  • Disposable piping bag fittedwith 12mm plain nozzle 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6.

Make the genoise sponge. This is best done in a freestanding electric mixer with whisk attachment, but if you don’t have one then use a clean metal bowl and a handheld electric whisk. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl and whisk until they about triple in volume and reach the ribbon stage – when you lift the whisk out of the bowl and draw a figure 8, the ribbon should sit proud on the surface for a few seconds. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder into a bowl, then gently sprinkle over the surface of the whisked eggs and sugar. With a flat spatula or large metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the eggs, ensuring that you scrape right to the bottom of the bowl too, but try not to deflate the mixture. When the flour is just about incorporated, pour the melted cooled butter down the side of the bowl and fold that in too. Gently pour this mixture into the cake ring and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven, turn the cake ring upside down on a cooling rack, and allow to cool.

Make the blackcurrant crème mousseline following the method here, but instead of orange zest, beat in the crème de cassis liqueur, then slowly add the butter, then the white chocolate. Scrape into a bowl, cover with cling film and refrigerate.

Make the soaking syrup by heating together the sugar and water. Bring to the boil and allow to boil for a minute or two. Remove from the heat and stir in the kirsch and lemon juice.

Free the cake by scraping a knife around inside the cake ring and lifting it off. Slice the cake horizontally into two even slices, and set aside.

Clean the cake ring and place it on top of the cake card. Take the slice of cake that was the top and place this top side down into the cake ring. Soak it well with about half of the syrup, using a pastry brush to avoid completely drowning the cake. Take the most perfect strawberry and set it aside, then chop off the leafy ends of the rest, to create a flat bottom. Slice each strawberry in half down the length so that you can see the inside. Cut each blackberry in half this way too. Align the fruit against the sides of the tin: take a strawberry half and place it flat-bottom on to the layer of cake, cut middle pressed against the side. Place a blackberry half in the same way next to it, then alternate the fruits all the way around the circumference, gently squeezing them together so they stay in place (use the image on page 60 as a guide). Chop the remaining fruit roughly, and place it in a bowl.

Put the crème mousseline into the piping bag and pipe a spiral from the centre outwards on to the cake, ensuring you pipe in and amongst the berries at the edge – you won’t need all of the mousseline at this point. Pile the remaining chopped fruits into the centre of the mousseline spiral, then pipe the remaining mousseline over the everything. Smooth off with the back of a spoon. Take the second layer of cake, and place this cut-side down on to the mousseline, so that the original flat bottom of the cake is now the top. Press down ever so gently, then soak that in the remaining syrup.

Paint the blackcurrant jam on to the surface of the cake, then roll out the marzipan to a circle the size of the cake – I use a little dusting of cornflour to prevent the marzipan sticking. Place this gently on top of the jam, so that it sticks to the cake. Place into the fridge while you make the mirror glaze finish, as described in the link above.

Allow the glaze to cool for just a minute so that it is still pourable. Pour enough glaze over the cake to cover the surface of the marzipan, but don’t let it drip down the sides. Return the cake to the fridge and allow to cool for at least two hours.

When ready to serve, gently warm the cake ring by rubbing your hands around it – or carefully warm the cake ring with a cook’s blowtorch, being careful not to get it too hot – then delicately lift up off the cake. Press gold leaf on to the perfect strawberry you reserved earlier, place on top, and serve. To retain the neat edges, cut with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.