Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Strawberry & Chocolate Genoise Cake

I have never made a genoise cake before- or pastry/mousseline cream, and I don't have a handheld electric whisk, so I wasn't too sure about how this would turn out. I also don't have a deep 20cm cake pan, so was pleased to find out that this works in a slightly deep (for a sandwich pan) 20cm sandwich pan.
If you've never tried a genoise cake before, it doesn't use any raising agents such as baking powder/soda or self raising flour, so to get the rise you must whisk, whisk, whisk. I didn't find it especially challenging (despite the want of a handheld electric whisk), and with the ingredients being eggs, flour and sugar (excluding the mousseline cream), it's a good recipe for an emergency when one is out of butter etc (or in a non-baker's kitchen). 

I had seen a few photos of this cake (or one which looks similar), and wanted to find the recipe. I really liked the idea of putting the strawberries around the outside, and it proved to be easy enough.

I didn't have any kirsch, so I substituted it for a couple of tablespoons of brandy heated with a strawberry (mashed up) and a small sprinkling of caster sugar. I strained this before adding 11/2 tbsp of it to the syrup.

Recipe from Le Cordon Bleu

Strawberry & Chocolate Genoise Cake

For the Genoise sponge
4 eggs
125g sugar
125g plain flour, sifted
For the strawberry syrup
150ml water
150g sugar
1 ½ tbsp kirsch/strawberry liquor
For the chocolate mousseline cream
160g milk chocolate, chopped
75g sugar
3 egg yolks
30g corn flour
400ml milk

200g unsalted butter
500g strawberries, halved
For the decoration
200g marzipan
pink food colouring
dark chocolate, melted

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/mark 4 and butter a 20cm cake pan.

2. For the sponge, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a bain-marie (I used a large saucepan filled with almost-simmering water, just touching the underside of the bowl) and whisk for 5-8 minutes, or until doubled in volume. Ensure the mixture does not become hot to the touch. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie and continue whisking until the mixture has cooled and trails off the whisk in a ribbon when lifted.

3. Sift over the flour, in thirds and fold into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, so that it fills 2/3 of the pan. Bake for 25 minutes, or until springy and risen and a skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack and remove the sponge from the pan once cool.

4. For the mousseline cream, begin by making a crème patissiere; place 50g of the sugar, the 3 egg yolks and corn flour into a medium-large bowl and whisk until pale and smooth.
Place the chopped chocolate in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, combine the milk and remaining 25g sugar and heat until boiling.
Carefully whisk half the hot milk solution into the egg mixture, whisk in the other half and pour the whole mixture into the saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir, continuously, until it begins to boil. Continue heating for one minute, remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and the crème patissiere is homogenous. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until cool.
Beat the butter until light and fluffy and mix in the crème patissiere. Return to the fridge for 20 minutes.

5. To make the syrup, heat the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the syrup up to a simmer, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Stir in the liquor.

6. To assemble, slice the sponge horizontally into two layers. Line the circumference of a 22cm pan/ring with strawberry halves, pointing upwards with the flat side against the sides of the pan/ring. Place one of the sponge layers into the pan/ring and pour some syrup over the top of the sponge. Spread about a third of the chocolate mousseline cream over the top, and place the remaining strawberries on top. Spread on another layer of mousseline cream, using about half of what’s left- be sure to fill in the gaps between the strawberry halve. Top with the other sponge layer and brush on some more syrup. Spread on the remaining mousseline cream.
On a surface dusted with icing sugar, colour the marzipan pink and roll out to a thickness of about 3-4mm. Cut into a 22cm diameter circle and cover the top of the cake with it.
Fit a piping bag with a small round nozzle and fill with the melted chocolate. Decorate the top of the cake with swirls of chocolate and strawberries.
Refrigerate for an hour before removing from the tin/ring and serving.

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