Friday, August 07, 2020


Summer is the best time for fragrant cakes, full of fruit and light as air. All the best summertime flavours layered effortlessly in one scrumptious little cake. Moist and soft vanilla cake, smooth and delicate ruby chocolate, aromatic hibiscus, and tangy raspberries, all melded together into ten delicious layers.
I have always loved refreshing berry desserts, especially with fresh fruit. Berries always have a slight tartness and make the perfect choice for chocolate fillings. And ruby chocolate ganache, rich and luxurious, pairs perfectly with plenty of fresh raspberries and hibiscus tea, cooked into a sumptuous jelly. Perfectly balanced, slightly sweet, slightly tart; a true slice of summer.
It is a small, but a very rich cake, so chill it well and serve it in generous slices, with your favourite dessert wine.

For the vanilla cake
4 medium eggs, separated
70 grams granulated sugar
45 millilitres vegetable oil
45 millilitres whole milk
65 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
For the ruby chocolate ganache
150 grams ruby chocolate
60 millilitres double cream
30 grams butter
For the raspberry hibiscus jelly
400 grams fresh raspberries
1 teaspoon loose hibiscus tea
150 millilitres hot water, divided
100 grams granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
8 grams gelatine
For the decoration
200 millilitres double cream
30 grams icing sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by preparing the ruby chocolate ganache. Heat up the double cream until it almost comes to a boil, and pour it over the chopped up chocolate or the callets and the butter. Mix until it is smooth and blended. Cover the top tightly with cling film, let it cool down to room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator to cool completely, for at least an hour.
To make the vanilla cake, separate the yolks and the egg whites into two large bowls. Add the salt to the egg whites, and whip them with an electric mixer on high, until soft peaks form. Without stopping the mixer, add in the granulated sugar in a few additions, beating at least 20 seconds between them. Whip until stiff peaks form, and set aside.
Beat the egg yolks with an electric mixer on high for about a minute, just so they become lighter and creamier. Add in the milk, oil, flour, baking powder, and the vanilla, and blend it until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture in three additions, being careful not to deflate them. Fold them through gently, only until no white streaks are showing. Line four small cake tins (15 cm) with baking parchment, divide the batter between them, and bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 6-8 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. As soon as they are baked, invert all the cakes onto a large piece of baking parchment, and let them cool.
To make the raspberry jelly, add the fruit into a large pot, add in the sugar, mix well, and set aside. Heat 100 ml of water until it just comes to a boil, and then pour it over the loose tea. Place the lid on the pot where the tea will be steeped, and let it steep for 5 minutes. After about 5 minutes, strain it and let cool down for another 5-10 minutes, while the fruit is macerating. After the tea is ready, purée the raspberries completely, pour in the tea, and place it over medium high heat.
Place the gelatine in a small bowl, pour in 50 millilitres of cold water over it, and set it aside to bloom. Cook the fruit purée until it thickens up and boils down to about half. It needs to be almost a consistency of jam. Once it is done, remove it from the heat, and add in the bloomed gelatine and the vanilla. Mix vigorously until the gelatine is dissolved, and everything is smooth; then set it aside to cool down slightly. Keep it at room temperature so it does not start to set.
The cake layers will cool down quite quickly, so take the ganache out of the fridge, and whip it with an electric mixer on high until lighter in colour and airy in texture. Place the first cooled cake layer on the serving platter and close the cake ring around it. Spread a third of the ruby chocolate ganache over it evenly, and then spread a third of the cooled raspberry jelly over that one. Top with another cake layer, and continue layering until everything is used up. Place the entire cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. To decorate, whip the double cream with a bit of icing sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form, decorate as desired, and serve. Yields 12 servings.