Strawberry gâteau


For the sponge cake
6 eggs
1 cup (200g) sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 2/3 cups (200g) flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

For the crème pâtissière
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups (500ml) milk
50g butter

750g strawberries
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1 packet strawberry jelly (4 servings)
2 cups (500ml) cream, double
6 tablespoons icing sugar

For the syrup
1/2 cup (125ml) water
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
3 tablespoons cognac, brandy or rum

Place sugar and water in a saucepan.
Bring to the boil and keep cooking for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in cognac.

Wash 500g of strawberries, cut in halves and place in a bowl, with ½ cup of sugar. Refrigerate for 3 hours.

Sponge cake
Beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer for about 15 minutes, until light yellow and creamy.
Fold in vanilla essence.
Sift together flour and baking powder and gently fold into egg mixture.

Pour mixture into a 24cm round tin, greased on the sides and lined with nonstick baking paper at the base.
Bake in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before turning out.
Cool on a wire rack.

Cook’s tip: You can place it in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting it.

Crème pâtissière
Place egg yolks and sugar in a small saucepan. Mix well.
Fold in cornstarch and milk.

Cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens.
Bring to the boil and keep cooking for 2 more minutes.
Remove from heat and fold in butter.

Cut cake horizontally into four layers.
(Take into account that the top layer must be about 3cm thick).
It is advisable to cut layers while spreading them with the filling.

The top layer is the one that is covered by the nonstick baking paper.
Cut bottom layer and place it on a serving dish.
Brush with syrup, without reaching the edges.

Spread with crème pâtissière and arrange some strawberries onto it ( previously drained), making sure they reach the edges of the cake, so they can be seen.

Repeat this procedure until you get to the top layer.
Cut this into a 3-4cm wide ring.
Spread with some crème pàtissière and place it on top of the gâteau.

Whip cream with icing sugar until stiff.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a large fluted nozzle (1M,22 or 2D) and pipe rosettes of cream around the inner edge of the ring, forming a high frame which will contain the jelly.
Reserve remaining cream in the fridge.

Prepare strawberry jelly, according to the instructions in the packet.
Allow to cool until half-set.
Arrange remaining strawberry halves on top of the cake, in the central well framed by cream rosettes.

Spoon half-set jelly over strawberries, but reserve some.
Refrigerate until jelly is set.

Heat remaining jelly again until liquid and pour it over the strawberries until completely covered by an even layer of jelly.
Refrigerate until set.

Use remaining cream to decorate sides and top of gâteau with a piping bag fitted with a large fluted nozzle (1M , 22 or 2D). Refrigerate until serving. (Do not freeze or the jelly would melt at the moment of serving).