Sometimes you need a little shot of pâtisserie magic and light pillowy cakes with a heavenly touch of kirsch. Irresistible. So I pushed aside my resolution to avoid sugar or flour and just reduced my daily ration – hurray for freezers! The genoise sponge layers are interspersed with crème mousseline made with crème pâtissière, buttercream and kirsch cherry liqueur. All covered in a yummy layer of marzipan. Their creator Christophe Felder probably named these delicious little cakes fondante because they melt in your mouth. They’re quite sweet but the kirsch-vanilla combination is delightful and I was so enamoured of these cakes last year I made them again and again. Try them and see! 🙂
My recipe is adapted from Christophe Felder’s Les Petits Gateaux book with some changes in quantities and techniques. My syrup’s less sweet but more alcoholic (!) and there are not two but three layers of genoise sponge and three thinner layers of cream, with a higher ratio of sponge making ‘lighter’ and taller cakes. Ho ho. Then I added a kirsch-soaked glacé cherry on top for decoration so everyone can guess there’s cherry liqueur in the cakes! 🙂Equipment
Digital weighing scales, along with a sugar thermometre and 8 small cake rings (6.5/6.8cm diametre and 4cm high but if you have different ring sizes just adapt your layers and quantities).
Syrup, 5 mins; crème pâtissière, 20-30 mins; genoise sponge, 25-40 mins then 10 mins baking; buttercream, 15-20 mins; assembly 20-25 mins. So 2 and a half hours of work more or less. Sorry! Though I think it’s worth it… 🙂
- Soak 10 cherries (2 are for testing.. hee hee) in 1-2 tablespoons water with 1-2 tablespoons kirsch.
- Before decorating with your cherries, drain on kitchen paper and you can add a little silver or gold leaf (Sainsburies sell some relatively cheap squares)
- 50g warm water
- 50g caster sugar
- 50g kirsch cherry liqueur
Heat the water and sugar together in a saucepan till simmering, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Take off heat, add the kirsch then pour in a bowl and let cool at room temperature till needed.
- 160g full-fat milk
- a third of a vanilla pod, sliced in two with the seeds scraped out (use both the pod and seeds)
- 32g egg yolks (about 1 and a half yolks from medium-sized eggs)
- 37g caster/superfine sugar (half a tablespoon of this in the milk)
- 16g/1 and a half good tablespoons cornflour/cornstarch/Maizena
- 13g/scant tablespoon unsalted butter
Place the milk and vanilla pod and seeds in a heavy-based saucepan with half a tablespoon of the sugar. Bring to the boil then take off the heat, cover and allow to infuse for at least 1 hour if you can (during this hour you could make the genoise sponge). Continue making the crème pat later, following the instructions on my crème pâtissière page here.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (static, non-convection oven) or 160°C/320°F (fan-assisted). Line a 30cmx40cm (12inch x 15/16inch) baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- 4 medium-sized/large eggs – around 240g
- 120g caster/superfine sugar
- 100g cake flour (T45) or plain/all purpose
- 40g ground almonds
- 30g melted butter
- Whisk your eggs with your standmixer on high for 10-15 minutes. By hand it takes about 25-30 minutes. The eggs should double or even triple in volume.
- Whisk the sugar in gradually then keep whisking 5 minutes.
- Gently fold in the sifted flour and ground almonds, in 2 goes. Use figure of eight motions while turning the bowl a quarter turn with each fold.
- Mix a little of the cake batter into the melted butter, then fold the butter gently into the remainder of the cake batter. Don’t overwork or it flattens out.
- When it’s just combined pour into the prepared baking tray. Spread out evenly with a metal spatula or back of a spoon.
- Bake in the middle of the oven around 10 minutes (don’t open the oven door before) till golden brown and springing back when you touch lightly with a finger. An inserted skewer should come out clean.
- Cover with another sheet of baking paper. Turn upside-down and let it cool.
- Peel off the original baking paper from the bottom. Then turn over again so the sponge is right side up. Cut out 24 (8 x 3) circles.
Buttercream (makes 360g)
- 150g caster/superfine sugar
- 80g water
- 1 egg
- 188g softened butter (beat to beurre pommade – hair cream texture)
- Place the sugar and water in a heavy-based saucepan on low heat stirring occasionally till the sugar melts.
- Increase the heat to medium-high and start boiling the sugar – stop stirring completely at this stage and place the sugar thermometre in the saucepan.
- Meanwhile, put the eggs in a standmixer (or big) bowl.
- When the syrup reaches 110°C put your stand mixer on maximum speed till the eggs are pale and a little fluffier. If you’re whisking by hand start earlier.
- When the sugar reaches 118°C quickly take off the heat, pour a thin stream immediately into your eggs while whisking fast. Scrape splattered syrup quickly off the sides.
- Keep whisking till the mixture has cooled and reaches ribbon stage (let some fall and it leaves a thick ribbon on the surface).
- Whisk the butter gradually into the egg mixture. Continue whisking 5 minutes till light and fluffy. If the cream’s too soft, place over a bowl of iced water but if too stiff place over a bowl of warm water. If it separates, whisk over a bain marie till smooth again.
- Scrape the buttercream into a clean glass or metal bowl and cover on contact with plastic film. Store at room temperature till required. If you’re in a hot place refrigerate then take out a while before using to bring back to room temperature, and whisk to refresh.
- 200g crème pâtissière
- 360g buttercream
- 35g kirsch cherry liqueur
- a very little red food colouring (powder or gel)
Warm the kirsch on a bain marie to 30°C. Also warm your crème pâtissière on a bain marie and whisk to loosen up. Everything should be at the same room temperature when combining. Whisk together the crème pat, buttercream and kirsch. Whisk in the red food colouring. If the buttercream is too stiff then soften on a bain marie. If it starts separating it’s because the components are at different temperatures so whisk over a bain marie till homogenous again. Reserve at room temperature till required.
WARNING: if you refrigerate the cream it might separate (and look a bit grainy) then you need to whisk over a bain marie to bring everything to the same temperature and smooth again – this happened for my swirls on top of the cakes. It was tricky because the cream was overfirming in the fridge then oversoftening in the heat of my kitchen, then separating. So they taste fine but they’re not perfect swirls, sob. Will do these cakes again when it’s cooler.
Place your 8 cake rings on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Soak 8 circles in your kirsch syrup and place as the first layer in your rings. You can dip in the syrup but switch to brushing with a pastry brush if you see you’re running out of syrup too quickly.Place your tray with the rings on a weighing scale if you want to calculate and weigh out the amount of cream going in each layer, to make even layers and similar cakes. Keep aside enough cream to make the little swirls on top later.Use a piping bag and small-medium nozzle no.6 to pipe in the first layer of cream (around 15g – but it depends on the thickness of your sponge). Cover with another soaked sponge circle. Press down a little. Pipe the next layer (around 15g). Cover with a third soaked circle and press down a little. Pipe a thinner layer at the top (around 8 to 10g) then use a butter knife or small spatula to spread evenly, levelling it out to the height of the cake ring.
Freeze the cakes 1 hour.
Take out of the freezer and so you can push the cakes up and out of the metal rings, heat the metal around the sides with a blowtorch or a towel soaked in very hot water. Once unmoulded return your cakes to the freezer while you prepare the marzipan.
Marzipan (recipe for homemade marzipan here or use shop-bought – about 400-450g)
Add a little food colouring to your marzipan and knead in thoroughly to combine well and get a malleable consistency. Roll out the marzipan on a flat surface lightly dusted with icing sugar till 2 mm thick. Dust the top with icing sugar too if necessary. To remove sugar specks, brush and friction with the palm of your hand to and fro on the surface of the marzipan.Cut out 8cm diametre circles with a ring or glass. Place on the cakes. They’ll look like little hats!Use a piping bag with a star nozzle to make a little swirl in the centre of each cake and top with a cherry and a little silver or gold paper (optional). If you don’t like a swirl scrape it off with a butter knife, clean with kitchen paper and start again.
Storing and eating
Store in the fridge in airtight tupperware and take out at least 20 minutes before eating. These cakes freeze very well. First freeze them whole on a baking tray then after a few hours scrape the swirl and cherry off intact to store separately in a container. Wrap each cake tightly in plastic film and freeze up to a month or 2. Though it’s best to scoff them within 2 weeks.
So there you have it. It might take a while to put together but having my little la Fondante cakes there in the freezer is like having a French pâtisserie on hand and we all know that’s a lovely thing. 🙂 So I hope you’ll give them a go one day. You can break it up by making the sponge and crème pat the previous day.
I’ll take some cakes along to Fiesta Friday hosted by Angie@thenovicegardener and her co-hosts Loretta@Safari of the Mind and Jess@Cooking Is My Sport. And also to the August Perfecting Patisserie challenge hosted by Lucy@BakingQueen74. Then there’s actually a Pink Foods Pinterest board where they should feel at home!
Please help yourself to a la Fondante genoise sponge cake with kirsch crème mousseline. A yummy mouthful. And mingle at a party of your choice, discovering all the wonderful recipes and people there.
Well, I’m off to the freezer to get a couple of these cakes out for later. Wishing you an extra sweet week dear reader. Happy baking and eating! 🙂 x