Raspberry & white chocolate genoise cakes

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This is a challenging bake and is a cross between a dessert and a cake. It is creation arising from the wish to do something a little more special than merely sponge and buttercream: Genoise sponge layers, Amaretto liqueur brushed over the sponge, raspberry mousseline, fresh raspberry jelly, fresh raspberries lightly glazed in their jelly and topped with a raspberry macaron. Not forgetting the crisp, tempered white chocolate border.

These cakes are refined versions of my earlier Genoise Sponge, and are almost miniature versions of my Wedding Cake, taken a few steps further; the aim was for a batch of cakes that were not too sweet but had a real indulgence – a mini event-on-a-plate!

It took about two and half hours to get these cakes made and decorated (the macarons had been made the day before). Fun to put together, most of the components could be made in advance: a Genoise sponge freezes well, as do the macarons. The mousseline can be made a couple of days before assembly.

Raspberries are hands down my favourite fruit to use in desserts and cakes, and of course raspberries have such an affinity with white chocolate. I added raspberry powder to the macaron mix so that they tasted of raspberry rather than just looked red with no actual flavour beyond the almonds and sugar. As a result the cake had a fragrantly sharp raspberry flavour which and the creaminess of the chocolate and lightness of the sponge cut through.

The assembly details are below and give 10 individual cakes; the recipes for the Genoise sponge and mousseline are here and the recipe for the macarons are here (but for the macarons, you will not need the filling given in the recipe).

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Most of the finished cakes

Sponge: use a 6-egg Genoise sponge (from the recipe the proportions are: 6 eggs, 190g sugar, 190g flour, 40g butter) split between 3 lined baking sheets/large swiss roll tins – each approx. 39cm by 27cm. The sponges are then baked, cooled and turned out and are then brushed liberally with Amaretto liqueur. NB: The sponge mixture might seem spread too thinly across the baking trays but they rise enough as they bake to give depth of each layer

Mousseline:  The mousseline is used to sandwich the 3 layers of sponge with a thin layer of mousseline over the top of the cake to give one large rectangular cake – which would be great as it is. However, I cut out 10 rounds of cake using a 7.5cm diameter cutter and lightly coated the outside of the cakes with a thin layer of the mousseline. NB: you can of course use smaller cutters, cut into squares or simply leave the cake whole; any cake off-cuts are great as sweet nibbles with fresh coffee so there should be no waste!

Macarons: I made up half of my macaron recipe, just making the shells, with just under 1 teaspoon raspberry powder added. This made many more than were needed but the extras were filled with spare mousseline and some were frozen. But even the macaron shells on their own are a treat!

Jelly: The jelly forms a nice glaze for the raspberries as well as giving added sharp moisture to proceedings. To make the jelly I puréed about 100g raspberries with a bit of icing sugar and strained them to get rid of the seeds. I warmed this very gently and then added one leaf of gelatine that had been soaked in cold water for a few minutes. This mixture was then left to cool. The raspberries were dipped in the jelly and left to set. A teaspoon of the jelly was poured carefully over the centre of the top of each cake, topped with 3 glazed raspberries on the jelly and finished with a macaron that sat at  angle.

Chocolate: tempered white chocolate was spread onto acetate sheets and then cut into rectangular panels, each just a little longer than the height of the cake.  The panels were then placed around the cake, pushed gently against the mousseline (acting as a glue), slightly overlapping. It is easiest to cut the chocolate rectangles with a sharp knife that has been dipped into hot water for a few moments – that way the chocolate cuts without splintering and the edges are neat.

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