I was recently invited to do a demo at Ealing Hammersmith and West London College for their catering students and absolutely jumped at the opportunity. There’s something about working with young people that enthuses me. Their passion, their zeal and of course their inquisitive nature. Seeing as the students were studying to become professional chefs I had to push the boat out a bit and came up with what you could call this an enlarged version of my Lemon & Raspberry Cupcakes. This flavour combination is one of my favourite and thankfully got thumbs up all around. The recipe is rather long but not very complicated, it’s just about preparing the individual components and bringing them together with a chef’s dusting of icing sugar! *And yes, there’s a raspberry missing from the slice in the photo…
Lemon & Raspberry Gâteau
for the genoese sponge
- 4 medium eggs
- 120g caster sugar
- 120g plain flour
for the lemon curd
- 2 unwaxed lemons
- 150g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 110g unsalted butter
for the ginger syrup
- 4 balls stem ginger (from a jar)
- 100ml water
- 100g caster sugar
for the filling
- 1.2l double cream
- 400g fresh raspberries (reserve 15 for decoration)
Make the sponge: preheat the oven to 190°C (180°C fan)/375°F/gas mark 5, grease a deep 20cm round loose-bottomed or spring-form cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper. Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer and whisk on high speed (or alternatively in a large bowl with a hand held electric mixer) for 6-8 minutes until very thick and pale (it should hold its shape), and leaves a thick trail (or ribbon) when the beater is lifted. Sift the flour over the mixture then carefully fold in using a spatula or large metal spoon. Transfer to the lined tin, level the surface and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden brown and springy to the touch (it will be more delicate than a standard sponge). Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes before running a knife around the outside of the cake to release it from the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (clean the tin for later). As it cools the cake will shrink slightly.
Make the lemon curd: grate the zest and squeeze the juice of the lemons and place in a medium-sized heatproof bowl with the sugar and set above a pan of simmering water. Whisk in the eggs and keep whisking until the mixture is warm, then add the butter. Cook the mixture for about 20 minutes until it is thick, stirring occasionally, then remove the bowl from the pan and allow the lemon curd to cool.
Make the ginger syrup: finely chop the balls of ginger then place in a small saucepan with the water and sugar. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then simmer for five minutes before removing from the heat. Set the pan to one side for 20 minutes to let the ginger infuse the syrup then strain through a sieve and allow to cool.
Assemble the gâteau: whip the cream until stiff then fold in 300g of the cooled lemon curd. Trim the sides of the sponge to reduce the diameter to about 18 cm, trim the top then cut horizontally into 3 even layers. Line the cleaned tin with cling film and place one of the sponge layers centrally in the base then brush with about a third of the ginger syrup. Transfer a third of the lemon cream into a large piping bag fitted with a 1 cm nozzle and pipe into the gap around the layer of sponge. Pipe a ring of cream on top and another inside it then arrange a ring of raspberries. Pipe another ring of cream and arrange another ring of raspberries then fill the rest with more cream. Repeat with the next layer of sponge, pressing the sponge down well before brushing with syrup.
Place the final layer on top and press down well then brush with syrup and cover completely with cream. Place the gâteau in the fridge to set for about 20 minutes (or until a few minutes before serving) then remove the tin and cling film. Transfer the gâteau to a serving dish (it’s probably best to leave it on the base of the tin) then use a palette knife to smooth the cream around the side. Put a few tablespoons of lemon curd in a piping bag, snip off the tip and pipe diagonal stripes around the side of the gâteau. Arrange the best 12 of the reserved raspberries in a ring on the top then dust with icing sugar and serve.