600mls milk / dairy-free alternative milk
The seeds of vanilla pod, or 1 tspn vanilla paste
6 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter / dairy-free spread
175g jam sugar
OR 250g raspberry jam
4 large eggs
150g caster sugar
75g gluten-free plain flour
1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
50g butter / dairy-free spread, melted.
Sugar paste rose
25g pink sugar paste
icing sugar for rolling out
750ml double cream / whipping soya cream
50g dark chocolate / dairy-free dark chocolate
400g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
250g icing sugar
2 medium eggs
1 tsp almond extract
green food colouring paste (do not use liquid food colouring)
1) To make the vanilla custard: Pour the milk into a pan with the vanilla seeds and pod or paste and place over a low heat until just simmering then remove from the heat.
2) Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together until pale and creamy. You now have 6 eggs whites to use up - the answer is of course meringues, but maybe later (they'll keep in the fridge for a couple of days) , onwards with this cake....
3) If you have used a vanilla pod, remove it from the milk. Stir the warm milk slowly into the egg mixture then transfer the mixture back to the pan. Cook over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, whisking until it thickens (It should be very thick).
4) Remove from the heat and beat in the melted butter until well incorporated. Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with clingfilm to stop a skin forming. Once cooled place in the fridge to chill.
5) To make the jam: Tip the raspberries into a saucepan with the sugar and two tablespoons of water. Cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to the boil and boil vigorously for about 4 minutes, or until the temperature reaches 104C on a sugar thermometer. Transfer to a heat proof bowl and leave to cool completely.
6) To make the sponge: Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 23cm/9inch springform tin with baking parchment.
7) Place the eggs and sugar into a large bowl and using an electric mixer, whisk together until the mixture is very pale and thick and the whisk leaves a trail on the surface when lifted. It is worth taking the time to do this - if you don't get enough air in the mixture at this stage the sponge won't rise enough - you'll need to be able to cut it into three layers later.
8) Sift the cornflour, flour and baking powder over the egg mixture and fold in using a large metal spoon. Fold in the melted butter until just incorporated.
9) Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes - the sponge should be golden brown and be just starting to shrink away from the sides of the tin. Set aside to cool, and when cool enough to handle turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
14) Place the second sponge on top and spread over the remaining custard cream. Place the third sponge on top and spoon over the remaining whipped cream, covering the sides and smoothing a dome shape on top of the cake. Place in the fridge to chill for one hour.
16) Using a cocktail stick add a tiny amount of green food colouring paste (I used Wilton's 'leaf green') to the marzipan and knead until it is an even pastel colour. Roll the marzipan out on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to a 40cm/16 inch diameter circle. Lift the marzipan up using your rolling pin and drape it over the top of your cake. use your hands to smooth it around the sides of the cake and trim around the bottom edge with a sharp knife.
17) Whip the remaining cream to medium peaks and spoon into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle. Pipe around the base of the cake.
18) Spoon the melted chocolate into a small piping bag, snip off the tip of the piping bag and pipe a swirl over the top of the cake. Top with your sugar paste rose. Stand back and admire your hard work! A lot of work I'm sure you'll agree but hopefully worth it for an impressive looking dessert cake....let me know how you get on!