Sumptuous but effortless, this stunning gateau doubles as a cake to serve for afternoon tea, or when accompanied with fruit, makes an elegant dessert. If time is not on your side, use a single layer of a bought, double sponge for the cake. The custard needs to be made a day or two in advance.
- 100 grams butter, softened
- 100 grams caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 100 grams self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups milk
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 4–6 egg yolks*
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste, essence or extract
- 1/4 cup sweet white wine
- 200 grams dried thread coconut
- 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line two, 18cm shallow-sided cake tins, also called sponge tins. Set the oven rack in the centre.
- 2. Into a mixer put the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking powder. Beat gently until all the ingredients are well mixed. Increase the speed and beat for two minutes. When the beaters are lifted, the cake batter should fall softly. If it does not, add 1-2 tablespoons hot water and beat in. I find I often use two tablespoons of water as the size of the eggs I have to hand often differ.
- 3. Divide the mixture evenly between the prepared tins and level off.
- 4. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cake has shrunk from the sides of the tin, is golden and top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Stand in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool, removing the paper lining at the same time.
- 5. When cool, drizzle the cakes with an equal amount of the sweet wine. Sandwich the cakes with just under half the custard before placing on a serving plate. Cover the top and sides liberally with the custard. Scatter the coconut evenly over the cake top and sides. Refrigerate for 2 hours to allow the custard to firm, and the cake to soften, though remove from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving. Delicious served with poached rhubarb.
- 1. Heat the milk to scalding point. Work the sugar, flour, egg yolks and vanillas together in a jug or bowl to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in about ½ cup of the hot milk and when smooth, return to the saucepan of hot milk. Use a whisk and cook over a moderate heat until the crème patisserie is thick. Set aside, covered with a piece of plastic wrap to cool. At this point the custard can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.
- *Egg Yolks: You can use four size 7 egg yolks… for a richer custard use six yolks
- Serving Size: 8