Friday, April 01, 2022


When I was starting my confectionery journey, I loved no-bake desserts, as they were a lot less intimidating for me to tackle. Being a self-taught cook and baker, often having to budget, I relied heavily on things I knew I was able to prepare well.
This type of cake was just perfect; a simple trifle, if you wish, with a creamy berry custard, and billowy whipped cream.
I do consider myself somewhat of a biscuit connoisseur, so I have to say that some biscuits do tend to be a tad dry, especially after a few days of refrigeration. To prevent that, I love dipping the biscuits in some flavourful tea, to help it stay soft. And camomile, with its herby aroma, pairs wonderfully with any fruit filling, making it perfect for this dessert. It also provides moisture, so the biscuits do not dry out while chilling.
It is quite simple to prepare, and fantastic for beginners, as well as for making sweets with children. However, if you are not making it for the little ones, feel free to add a splash of vegan friendly berry liqueur to the custard.
Serve each slice with additional cream, if you wish, plenty of berries, and some extra dark chocolate flakes, for good measure.

For the berry filling
500 grams mixed berries, fresh or thawed
100 grams granulated sugar
80 grams cornflour
100 millilitres cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
120 grams vegan block butter, diced
For the cream topping
200 millilitres plant double cream
50 grams icing sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the biscuit base
300 grams vegan petit beurre biscuits (27 pieces)
150 millilitres hot water
1 tablespoon camomile flowers
For serving
100 grams mixed berries, fresh or frozen

To make the berry filling, place the fruit in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the sugar, and place the saucepan over medium heat. Once it comes to a gentle boil, let it cook for about 5 minutes, until it starts thickening up. Whisk together the cold water, sifted cornflour, and vanilla, and reserve.
When the fruit is ready, add in the cornflour mixture, and cook, stirring constantly, until it thickens, about two minutes. Do be careful, as it can sputter at this point. Remove the berry custard from the heat and immediately add in the diced vegan butter. Whisk, gently at first, then a tad more vigorously, until it melts and entirely blends into the filling. Cover the top with a piece of cling film or baking parchment, and let it cool down, so it does not melt the cream during cake assembling.
While the filling is still cooling, place the camomile flowers into a pot, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat, pour it over the flowers, cover, and let it steep for 5-6 minutes, then let cool until lukewarm. By that time, the filling will be ready as well.
As soon as the filling is ready, pour the plant double cream into a large bowl, add in the icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the cooled berry filling with an electric mixer on high for about a minute or two, until creamy. This step is optional, but it will give you a completely smooth filling. If you prefer it to have pieces of fruit still suspended in it, you can fold it through with a spatula, to loosen it up slightly, and make it easier to spread.
To assemble the cake, line a small rectangular cake tin (18x18 cm), ideally with a removable bottom, with cling film or baking parchment, for easier serving of the cake. Strain the camomile tea and pour it into a somewhat wide, shallow container, so it is easier to dip the biscuits.
Divide the biscuits into three equal parts, making sure each layer of them fits snuggly into the pan. Dip each biscuit of the first layer into the tea, then line the bottom of the tin. Spread half of the berry filling over the biscuits gently. You can pipe on the filling and then spread it out, if that is easier and more comfortable for you. Divide the whipped cream into three equal parts, and spread a third of it over the berries.
Dip the next batch of biscuits into the tea, and lay them gently on the whipped cream. Once again, spread the berry filling and the whipped cream, and then top the cake with the last remaining biscuits dipped in tea. Spread the remaining whipped cream on top of the biscuits, and place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Decorate the cake as desired, and serve with some additional berries. Yields 9 servings.