Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Recipe: Union Jack Cake

This cake uses a technique called 'biscuit joconde'. It's not as hard as it looks, and I hope I've explained it adequately. Here is a step by step how to make it:

Ingredients for sponge:
85g ground almonds 
75g icing sugar
25g plain flour 
3 large eggs 
3 large egg whites
10g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for piping:
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
7 egg whites 
220g plain flour
Food coloring in blue and red

Ingredients for the tricolour, raspberry, blackberry and vanilla bavarois for the interior:
1 barquette of raspberries
1 barquette of blackberries
500ml double cream
100ml water
12g of gelatin sheets (silver)
250g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
A few drops of vanilla

Method for sponge:
Whisk the egg whites and white granulated sugar to firm, glossy peeks. Reserve in a separate clean bowl for later use. 
Sieve ground almonds, icing sugar, plain flour together.
On medium speed, add the eggs a little at a time to the dry mixture until well combined.
Fold in one third whisked egg whites to your mixture to lighten the batter. 

Then fold in the remaining whisked egg whites until just combined.
Add the melted butter.
Cover with cling film and keep the batter, we will use it later.

Method for the piping decoration:
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. 
Gradually add egg whites. Beat continuously.
Fold in sieved flour.
Divide batter into two bowls.

They will be red and blue.
Add the coloring until you get your desired shade.
Put the red and blue into separate piping bags.
Then, using a silpat (this is one of the things you really should buy, along with a digital thermometer and a decent peeler) placed on a flat baking tray (or turn it upside down) pipe out your Union Jack. I googled one and followed it.
Once you have done your design, place the silpat in the freezer for half an hour.
I did this twice, in order to have enough length of pattern to circumnavigate the cake. 

Method for the cake:
Preheat your oven to 250c (or use the baking oven of the Aga).
Once your design is frozen, gently spread, using a spatula, the sponge batter over the frozen design in a long rectangular shape. It should be about 3mm thick.
Then bake it. Really quickly. In a normal oven it should take about 15 minutes, but in mine it took five! So... keep checking. 
Prepare a rectangle (bigger than the cake) of greaseproof paper dusted with icing sugar.
After 5-10 minutes of cooling, no longer, flip over your sponge onto the icing sugar dusted paper. You will now see the pattern. Yay!
Using a ruler or a straight metal edge, cut, with a sharp knife, the sponge strip to the height of your bottomless cake mould. Straighten the edges too.
I used a springform ring from Lakeland. 
Place the cake ring on top of a flat sheet of greaseproof paper and on top of that put a flat sheet of clingfilm.
Pull the clingfilm up tightly outside the cake ring.
Cut a length of greaseproof paper to fit the inside of the cake ring. It should be a centimeter taller than the cake ring.
Carefully, taking your strip of patterned sponge, line the inside of your cake ring.
The pattern should be facing outwards, so when you remove the ring, you can see it. Use the second strip of patterned sponge, pressing the sides together, if one isn't big enough.
I cut strips of leftover sponge to fit the bottom.

Method for the tri-colour bavarois:
First rub the raspberries into a sieve. This is a bit of a pain and you could use raspberry jam but really the lovely acidity of fresh is worth the effort. Keep pushing it through the sieve over a bowl. You'll end up with a lovely seed-free purée.
In a separate bowl, do the same with the blackberries.
Leave both bowls of fruit purée to the side.
Soak the gelatin sheets in cold water.
Combine the sugar and the water in a pan and heat until dissolved. Let it cool.
Squeeze out gelatin sheets, add to the sugar syrup.
Mix one third into the raspberry purée, one third into the blackberry purée.
Whisk the cream to soft peaks.
Mix one third of the cream into the raspberry purée and fold gently until combined.
Mix one third of the cream into the blackberry purée and fold gently until combined.
Into the last third of cream, add a few drops of vanilla. Into this also add the last third of gelatiney sugar syrup. Combine, gently.
Into your cake mould, pour the raspberry mixture.
Put it in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Then pour in the blackberry mixture.
Freeze for 15 minutes.
Cut the greaseproof paper inside the cake ring level with the top.
Lastly, pour in the vanilla mixture. Smooth it out nicely with a spatula.
Put the whole cake in the fridge. Allow to set for a few hours.

When you come to serve it, peel away the cake ring carefully. You should see your beautifully patterned Union Jack bavarois cake.
Decorate on top with a mix of raspberries and blackberries. You could also use cherries, strawberries and blueberries.
Serve cool with a glass of sweet champagne. Toast the Queen even if you disagree with the monarchy. She's done a good job hasn't she?


  1. Fabulous cake. The biscuit jaconde works really well with the union jack pattern.

  2. Bloody hell! Clever stuff!

  3. Wow!! Impressive and it looks totally delicious.

  4. what a fabulous cake!

  5. Wow, it looks as funny as delicious :)


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