Mille Feuille Gateau

On Sunday Cameron and I spent Mother's Day with his mum and immediate family. We started the day early, catching breakfast at a gorgeous cafe called Earthly Pleasures. It's situated in a stunning, heritage listed stone manor. The beautiful gardens, medieval architecture and the manor's removal from the surrounding roads and buildings lent to a relaxing atmosphere for the morning. Coupled with the lovely food and pleasant company, it made for a wonderful morning.

We went back to their place after breakfast and spent the afternoon chatting and munching on goodies. The time of gathering had me searching for lighter options for the cake. I wanted to avoid anything too rich or too sweet. The last thing you feel like after breakfast is a dessert that's going to make you feel like slumping on the couch for the rest of the day. So I looked to flavours that would feel a little lighter on the palatte.

The gateau begins with a coconut sponge cake. The smell of this baking filled the house ad made you want to demolish it right then and there. But restraint is rewarding.

While it cools, get the cherries cooking. This syrup takes a long time to cool.

Soon you'll be ready to assemble it. The cake is layered into three, then filled with alternating layers of cherries and cream. Puff pastry acts as the two book ends on this cake.

I decorated the top using this skewer technique. Though instead of making the lattice, I opted for one directional stripes to make for a change.

The cake cuts surprisingly easily after being chilled. Cam and I took a little home for after dinner, and once home I tried to cut it for a photo. After an hour out of the fridge it doesn't cut so perfectly and, as you can see, I mangled this slice a bit so you'll just have to take my word for it!

Thankfully it did serve is the more refreshing dessert I'd hoped for. The coconut in particular lightens it, and the cherries help you make room for more (or at least trick you into believing it). I was so full after breakfast, I meal I usually skip, I was tempted to pass on dessert time. But I got through this without any regrets.

This cake will serve 16 people comfortably, or 20 if you want not so massive slices.

Mille Feuille Gateau

Ingredients

220g (7oz) butter, room temperature
325g (11oz) caster sugar
1 tsp coconut essence
3 eggs
130g (4oz) desiccated coconut
360g (12oz) self-raising flour
360ml (12fl oz) buttermilk

Filling
2 sheets of puff pastry
four 400-450g (14oz) cans of stoneless black cherries
40g (1 1/4oz) cornflour
1 litre (34 fl oz) cream
1/2 tbps vanilla essence
icing sugar

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced, 350°F). Grease or line a 20cm square tin with baking paper.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the coconut essence and beat, then beat in the eggs one at a time.
  3. Fold in the coconut and sifted flour alternatively with the buttermilk.
  4. Pour mixture into cake tin, smooth the surface and bake for 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Allow to cool inside the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 210°C (190°C fan-forced, 415°F). Prick sheets of puff pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just golden. Set aside to cool.
  2. Drain the cherries, reserving 500ml of the liquid. Stir the cornflour into the syrup, then add it with the cherries into a large pot. Cook over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely.
  3. Add vanilla to cream (and a little icing sugar if you wish) and whisk to soft peaks

Assembly

  1. Cut coconut cake into three layers. I used this technique.
  2. Place a layer of pastry on cake board. Top with a third of the cherries, then with a layer of cake. Top this with another third of the cherries and then a third of the cream. Add another cake layer, the rest of the cherries and another third of the cream. Add the final cake layer, cover with the remaining cream and top with the last layer of puff pastry.
  3. Allow to chill in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight. Once settled, you can use a serrated or electric knife to neaten the edges if you wish. Dust with icing sugar before serving.

You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.

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One thought on “Mille Feuille Gateau

  1. It certainly was a lovely morning, and your cake was the perfect way to top it off. I really liked the diagonal only stripes, and the different components of the cake went really well together.

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