Great for the Queen’s birthday celebrations and summer parties!

Everyone loves a strawberry dessert come summer and this one by top chef James Martin is the best of the best! How pretty does it look? It’s a real show-stopper which is easy to make (thanks to the use of a shop bought fan base!) and ideal for any summer parties, BBQ’s or get togethers you may have planned!James-martin-straweberrygateaux_2

What you need:
1 25cm sponge flan base
Drizzle of Drambruie
1 vanilla pod
450ml double cream, softly whipped
300g large strawberries
300g mixed berries
Icing sugar to dust
Spun sugar (optional)

What you need to do:

  • Use a 23cm round spring clip cake tin to cut out a circle from the sponge flan case and slice horizontally in half to create two thin discs. Drizzle both halves with Drambuie, then place one sponge circle into the tin.
  • Slice the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Fold the seeds into the cream.
  • Halve the strawberries and place around the edge of the tin on top of the sponge, cut-side facing outwards.
  • Cover the bottom sponge with cream and then put the other sponge half on top.
  • Warm the sides of the tin with a hot cloth and unclip the tin to release the cake.
  • Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar
  • Decorate with mixed berries and spun sugar (if using)

How to make spun sugar:

  • Making caramel is fun and relatively straightforward. Simply place 250g caster sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with 250ml water. Heat gently, without stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and boil the sugar syrup until it turns a pale golden colour. Don’t be tempted to walk away during this process as sugar boils quickly and can burns easily. As soon as it reaches this point remove from the heat and work quickly as caramel sets fast!
  • Making spun sugar and caramel spirals requires quite a high skill level (see below for instructions) but for something  a bit easier: Line a baking sheet with baking paper and as soon as the sugar turns a caramel colour use a teaspoon to drizzle caramel onto the paper. Alternatively you can spoon the caramel onto the baking sheet in shapes such as small ‘dots’ or ‘squiggles’. Once the caramel shapes are cold, lift off the paper and use to decorate.
  • For the more ambitious cooks amongst you that want to try making spun sugar or caramel spirals, here’s how:
  • Lightly oil the handle of a wooden spoon or a small rolling pin. When the sugar syrup reaches a caramel colour place the pan in a bowl of cold water. Dip a metal skewer and pull out to make long threads. Wind around the spoon handle or rolling pin and pull off once set.
  • To make spun sugar, lightly oil a rolling pin and place on a sheet of baking paper. When the caramel has cooled ever so slightly and has a ‘tacky’ consistency dip a fork into it and flick caramel back and forth over the rolling pin.  Lift the rolling pin up and place the spun sugar over the cake.

See more on James’ recipe here