Whether you’re searching for a luxurious dessert or something last minute for a very different Christmas dessert, I think I’ve got the recipe for you. This cake consists of a delicate, fluffy yet tasty brown sugar sponge sandwiched and coated in a creme mousseline filling, which is a pastry cream base lightened with whipped cream. I hope that you like this recipe because it is devilishly rich but also a cake for any occasion, not just for an alternative Christmas dessert.
Just to make everything a bit easier, after all who needs more stress at Christmas, I use a quick all-in-one method for the sponge and make the filling before I make the sponge so everything is ready to assemble at once.
115g soft light brown sugar
115g self-raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
40g plain flour
200ml whole milk
300ml double cream
75g toasted almonds, skins removed, finely chopped
- For the sabayon filling, take a medium bowl and beat the egg yolks until they become lighter in colour. Add all the sugar and continue to whisk (using an electric whisk) for 3 minutes until the mixture is thick and pale.
- Add the flour a spoonful at a time and with each addition, whisk until it has been incorporated. Start to whisk in the milk slowly.
- Put the mixture into a pan over a medium heat and with a wooden spoon, continue stirring until the mixture has thickened. You want to take it to quite a thick consistency – the ideal texture is that the sabayon cannot be poured out of the pan. Place the filling into a bowl and cover the bowl with clingfilm, ensuring it touches the surface. Once it’s cooled completely, place it into the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base of 2 x 20cm round sandwich tins.
- Place all the ingredients for the sponge into a bowl and using an electric whisk, beat the ingredients together for about 1 minutes until the ingredients are all incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
- Divide the cake mix between the 2 tins and then bake for about 20 – 25 minutes until the cakes feel springy in the centre. Allow them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then take a palette knife and run it around the edge of the tin. Turn out the cakes onto a cooling rack and peel off the paper.
- To assemble the cake, whisk the double cream until it holds stiff peaks. Be careful not to overbeat the cream. Loosen up the sabayon by giving it a little whisk. Fold the cream into the sabayon until it is an even paler colour
- Place one half of the sponge on your serving plate or cake stand and spread about ¾ of the sabayon filling onto the sponge. Spread it all the way to the edges and then ensure that it peaks in the middle. Sandwich the cake together. Any of the filling that comes out the side can be used to provide a very thin crumb coat.
- Spoon the rest of the filling into a piping bag fitted with a small star nozzle and pipe lines of the filling around the outside and then stars on the top of the sponge. Sprinkle over the chopped almonds and grate over a little dark chocolate.