Elderflower and Gooseberry Cake

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Phileas Fogg’s journey around the world has taken him eighty days, carried by steamships, railway carriages, yachts, trading vessels, sledges and elephants. His true prize is the love and companionship of his beloved Aouda. Our final recipe? A beautiful cake for a special occasion.

Ingredients

  • 275g/10oz unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 275g/10oz caster sugar
  • 150g/5oz ground almonds
  • 100ml/4fl oz elderflower cordial
  • 5 large eggs
  • 175g/6oz self-raising flour, sifted
  • 350g/12oz gooseberry compote

For the Frosting

  • 500g/1lb 2oz icing sugar, sieved
  • 125g/oz unsalted butter
  • 300g/11oz cream cheese
  • 55ml/2fl oz elderflower cordial

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4, and grease and line two 23cm/9 inch round cake tins.

Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then mix in the ground almonds and half the elderflower cordial.

Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, then gently fold in the flour using a metal spoon. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake in the oven for about 35—40 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out clean.

While the cakes are still hot and in the tin, pierce holes in the top of each one with a fine skewer or fork, and drizzle with the remaining elderflower cordial.

Leave the cakes to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a rack. When they are cool, slice each cake in half horizontally, giving you 4 layers.

To make the frosting, cream together the icing sugar and the butter. When completely mixed, beat in the cream cheese for around 3—4 minutes until smooth.

If you beat the mixture for too long, it will become runny. Lastly mix in the cordial and set aside.

Place the bottom half of one of the cakes on a cake stand or board. Spread a thin layer of the frosting over the surface, followed by a third of the gooseberry compote. Now place another round of cake on top, and spread with a layer of frosting and compote. Repeat with the next cake round, top that with a final layer of frosting and compote, then place the fourth round on top and cover the entire cake with frosting. If you like a smooth finish, dip a palette knife into hot water to smooth out the edges or use a large spoon to coat the sides and make little snowy peaks.

To serve

Decorate with fresh flowers; if in season, with washed elderflowers. Serve with a flourish and a glass of champagne

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