Custard Meringue Gateau

Last Friday was my boyfriend's 29th birthday. One of his greatest culinary loves in life is custard. So when I was brainstorming ideas for a nice-looking, fondant-free cake that pandered to his tastes, I just knew it had to involve custard.

This was my first attempt at making a sponge cake. I had tried a génoise sponge before, but never a classic sponge. I'd always been scared off by other people's horror stories about post-baking collapse and/or the inherent difficulty of getting them to rise. Perhaps I should have judged these stories based on the patience quota of the individuals telling me so, as I found the challenge to be very achievable. With patience.

The sponges were halved and layered with as much custard and raspberries as they could handle.

This was then covered with a thin layer or meringue, roasted almonds, more meringue and more raspberries.

Quenelles are definitely something I struggle with, and this cake was no different. This is by far the closest I've come to achieving a proper quenelle, and that's not that close. At one point I thought I was going to have to give up on the idea and just pipe some decorations, so I was relieved to have something that vaguely represented them. These pseudo-quenelles were then glazed with apricot jam.

The overall effect resembles something akin to a sunflower or daisy. I dusted it with icing sugar ad then packed it up for the journey. By the time it reached the destination, the icing sugar has all but dissolved. Good thing, too, as Boyfriend will lament the waste of icing sugar when used for aesthetic purposes.

Topped with blue candles after the birthday boy's favourite colour. We didn't realise one amongst these was a trick candle until after the birthday wishes were sung and he attempted to blow out the candles.

Dissected and ready to nom. The quenelles encouraged massive slices that were a struggle to finish after the enormous Thai feast wed had for that nights celebratory dinner. Somehow, everyone save me and his mum managed to squeeze it all in. Boyfriend squeezed in our leftovers so as not to waste a crumb. This was perhaps aided by how light this cake is. Despite the weight of the cake, how much liquid and sweetness is in it, the final product is light on the palate and not the sweetness overload I was wary of. The thick layers of custard were soaked up by the sponge overnight and the airy meringue covering it made for a refreshing change from icing. The almonds and berries offset the sweetness, as did the light, plain sponge.

Here's how you can make your very own.

Custard Meringue Gateau

Ingredients

Sponge Cake
75g plain flour
150g self-raising flour
6 eggs
220g caster sugar
8 tsp boiling water

Decoration
75g caster sugar
300g raspberries, plus extra to decorate
90g flaked almonds, toasted
2 tbsp apricot jam
icing sugar, to decorate

Custard Filling
2 tbsp custard powder
2 tbsp cornflour
55g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
500ml milk
2 eggs, beaten

Meringue Topping
4 egg whites
250g caster sugar

Method

Sugar Syrup
Combine the sugar and 160ml of water in a small pan; stir over medium heat until sugar has dissolved; simmer for 2 minutes. Cool.

Custard Filling
1. Blend custard powder, cornflour, sugar and vanilla in a pan with a little of the milk to make a smooth paste; stir in remaining milk and eggs; mix.
2. Stir over the heat until the mixture boils and thickens; pour into large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool.

Sponge Cake
1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line two 22cm tins.
2. Sift flour thrice. Beat eggs for 7 minutes, or until pale and thick. Gradually beat in the sugar. Gently fold in sifted flours and boiling water, a third at a time.
3. Divide evenly between tins. Bake for 25 minutes [to test if cooked; cake will spring back when touched and will shrink slightly from the sides of the tin]. Cool.

Meringue
Whip egg whites to stiff peaks; gradually add sugar, beating well after each addition.

Assembling the cake
1. Halve each of the cakes; assemble on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (cake needs to be returned to the oven later).
2. Brush each layer of sponge with sugar syrup until it has all been used up. Top the first three layers with one third of the custard and raspberries; top with the fourth layer. Chill cake for an hour, best to chill overnight.
3. Spread a thin layer of meringue over the top and sides of the cake; press almonds around exterior of the cake.
4. Using two dessert spoons; make quenelles. [Dip spoons into hot water, then use one spoon to scoop up desired amount of meringue; use second spoon to scoop meringue from the first spoon to form the oval-shaped quenelle. Gently scoop quenelles onto the cake.]
5. Bake at 250°C for 2-4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Check intermittently and rotate if browning too quickly on one side.
6. Transfer to a serving platter.
7. Heat apricot jam in a small; sieve. Gently, brush jam over meringue quenelles. Fill centre with raspberries; dust with icing sugar if desired.

x-posted here @

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9 thoughts on “Custard Meringue Gateau

  1. Thanks again for making this. It was very delicious. Most of what I was going to say about the cake, you’ve covered in your blog. =P

    I thought the quenelles looked very good to me.

  2. If I had known that custard, meringue and raspberries could be combined I would be a lot larger than I am today.

    ZOMG CAKE AWESOMENESS.

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