I’ve spent the past 2 weeks trying to get over a nasty February cold, which has meant that while I’ve managed to keep on top of work, the house has reached a horrific state, every room as inhospitable as the other. Thankfully today we have finally got things sorted with everything squeezed back into place – we have a small flat, so it’s really important everything has its home!
This afternoon as a reward I decided to make something from my ‘go-to’ French baking book ‘Je Sais Faire La Pâtiserie’ by Ginette Mathiot, and bake a Savoy Gâteau with chocolate buttercream icing, after all, I’m sure I burnt lots of calories doing the hoovering!
This beauty – like most French cooking is extremely easy, the most arduous part is the whisking, but now I have Kenny (the best mixer in the world) it is a breeze! For this recipe you do need potato flour which is a little tricky to find, I bought mine from the Unicorn co-operative grocery in Chorlton, Manchester, which is an amazing source of all things organic, fresh and responsibly sourced – they also have a handy guide to seasonal veg!
Preheat the oven to a low 165°C and line two sandwich tins. Whisk 4 egg whites to stiff peaks – add a pinch of salt to make them whisk faster, then in a separate bowl whisk the 4 egg yolks with 200g caster sugar until they triple in volume, tip in 60g potato flour, 40g plain flour and a tsp of vanilla essence. Once this is all incorporated carefully fold in the egg whites. Divide between the two tins ad bake for 30mins.
The icing will be quite tricky without a sugar thermometer, they are about a tenner and REALLY worth it – I have a lovely brass one, but stainless ones are still great, we also have a digi thermometer but we mainly use it for checking meat. I use the sugar thermometer to gauge when to pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites, too cool and it won’t harden as it cools, and too hot and it will have a sharp burnt taste.
Mix 125g caster sugar with 100g water in a saucepan, keep the heat really low while the sugar is dissolving, once completely dissolved turn the heat up to bring the sugar to a rolling boil. While in another bowl whisk 3 egg whites to stiff peaks. Once the syrup has reaches ‘the soft ball’ stage (112°C – sugar thermometers have the stages sugar goes through as it cooks written on them) slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites while you continue to whisk them, then add 30g of cocoa powder to the mix, and finally 125g of softened and diced unsalted butter. When the butter is fully incorporated stop whisking to keep as much air as possible.
Generously sandwich your (cool) sponges together with half the icing, and pour the rest over the top – we had some left over so I made a sneaking chocolate pot to eat later…
Leave the icing to set for an hour or so and the egg whites will make it go glossy, slice, serve and enjoy – I’m sure having a lovely tidy house made ours taste better 🙂