Raspberry & chambord opera cake

This fabulous cake was the result of a lost bet (I was hoping to win and receive a chocolate chip banana bread)! I wasn’t so lucky … however, the two days’ work (including chilling overnight) was well worth it. I trusted the one and only Mary Berry, using her recipe from BBC Food.

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What you’ll need*

1. chambord syrup = 100g caster sugar + 2tbps chambord (Mary uses kirsch)
2. jaconde sponge = 3 egg whites (use yolks for crème au beurre) + 15g caster sugar + 100g ground almonds + 100g icing sugar + 3 whole eggs + 30g plain flour + 30g unsalted butter
3. chocolate ganache = 100ml double cream + 100g dark chocolate
4. crème au beurre = 3 egg yolks + 75g caster sugar + 225g unsalted butter + 2tsp vanilla paste
5. decoration = 40 small raspberries + 200g seedless raspberry jam

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(*adapted from Mary Berry’s recipe on BBC Food)

How to make it

1. chambord syrup: small pan. add sugar. pour over 200ml water. medium heat until sugar dissolves. simmer for 4-5mins (1/2 volume remaining). remove from heat. add chambord. cool.

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oven on: 200 fan

2. jaconde sponge [egg whites]: large bowl. whisk egg whites. stiff peaks. add caster sugar 1tsp at a time. whisk between each addition. cling. set aside.

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3. jaconde sponge [batter]: large bowl. ground almonds, icing sugar & eggs. whisk for 3-5mins. double volume.

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4. jaconde sponge [batter]: sift flour. fold flour into batter. fold in egg whites (3 batches). pour melted butter down side of bowl. fold until incoporated.

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5. jaconde  sponge [cook]: grease & line 33x23cm swiss roll tin. pour in batter. level surface with palette knife. bake for 5-7mins. pale, golden-brown, springy. turn onto baking parchment covered cooling rack. peel off base baking parchment. cool.

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6. chocolate ganache: small pan. add cream. heat gently until just bubbling. remove from heat. add chocolate. stir. smooth & glossy. pour into bowl. cool.

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7. crème au beurre: pan. gentle heat. dissolve sugar w/ 3tbsp water. boil. 110 degrees. large bowl. egg yolks. whisk slowly. pour in sugar syrup. continue whisking. thick & mousse-like. add butter (few cubes at a time). continue whisking. add vanilla.

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8. construct: slice sponge horizontally. slice sponge vertically. 1 sponge onto cake board. brush on 1/4 chambord syrup. spread 1/3 crème. another sponge. 1/4 chambord syrup. chocolate ganache. sponge. 1/4 chambord syrup. 1/3 crème. final sponge. remaining syrup. what’s left of crème…

… arrange raspberries in rows. brush over melted jam. refrigerate (2 hours/overnight).

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9. tidy up & decorate: trim edges (these are a delicious éclair-like treat for the chef!) layers are revealed.

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10. admire handiwork: (no instructions required!)

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Serve in smallish blocks (it is quite rich, and this way all your hard work will last longer!)

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