Landscape (UK)

Gooseberry & chocolate layer cake


Serves 14 600g green gooseberri­es, topped and tailed 220g caster sugar 170ml cold water 125ml elderflowe­r cordial 25g cornflour 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint, plus extra sprigs to decorate (optional) oil, for greasing 100g dark cooking chocolate, chopped 8 eggs 2 tbsp vanilla bean paste 150g plain flour 40g cocoa powder 1 tsp baking powder 300ml double cream 100g cream cheese 200g icing sugar salt 26cm springform cake tin baking paper To make the gooseberry compote, combine 100g of the sugar with the water in a large saucepan, then simmer for 5 mins until the sugar dissolves. In a small pot, mix the elderflowe­r cordial and the cornflour, then whisk it into the saucepan. Bring to the boil, then add the gooseberri­es. Simmer for 2-3 mins until thickened. Allow to cool, then mix in the chopped mint.

Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4 and grease and line the oven tin with baking paper. Place the chocolate in a jug and melt in a microwave for 1-1½ mins until it can be stirred smooth. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, the remaining 120g of sugar, half the vanilla and a pinch of salt with an electric mixer for 6-7 mins until fluffy. Stir in the melted chocolate.

Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder, and fold the dry ingredient­s into the chocolate mixture until completely combined. Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins until the sponge is firm and an inserted metal skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly, then turn out the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Remove the baking paper from the cake and slice horizontal­ly into two equal-sized cakes. Place one of the cakes onto a flat serving plate.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the cream and cream cheese together with an electric whisk for 3-4 mins until very thick. Sift the icing sugar into the cream mixture, then whisk in slowly until smooth. Stir in the remaining vanilla paste. Spread two thirds of the cream mixture onto the cake on the serving plate, then layer with two thirds of the compote on top of the cream. Place the remaining half of the cake on top. Put the ring part of the cake tin around the cake and tighten with the spring, then press down the top cake. Spread the remaining cream on top of the cake, then decorate with the rest of the gooseberry compote. Leave to chill for 1 hr. Remove the cake ring before serving, then serve, garnished with the extra mint if desired.

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