This gorgeous recipe comes from Juliet Sear's latest cookbook Botanical Baking.
"I love these playful desserts – my take on a layered style jar cake, or a trifle and cocktail combo. They are perfect for parties and with the violas suspended in the jelly, so beautiful! These are quite labour intensive, but to cut out a stage you can use a store-bought curd and add some colouring." - Juliet Sear
Yield: Makes 6 (depending on glass size)
For the sponge:
- 150g (51/2oz) butter
- 150g (51/2oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 medium free-range eggs
- Zest of 1 large grapefruit
- 150g (51/2oz) self-raising (-rising) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 large free-range eggs plus one yolk
- 2 teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
- Juice and zest of 1 grapefruit
- 75g (23/4oz) unsalted butter
- Pink food colouring
For the jelly:
- 125ml (41/2fl oz) tonic
- 65g (23/8oz) caster (superfine) sugar
- 60ml (21/4fl oz) gin
- 65ml (23/8fl oz) water
- 4 leaves of gelatine
For the mascarpone layer:
- 250g (9oz) mascarpone
- 200g (7oz) grapefruit curd
- 50ml (13/4fl oz) gin
- Fresh and crystallised violas
- Stand mixer, electric whisk or bowl and wooden spoon
- 6 glasses for serving, I used 250ml (9fl oz) capacity glasses
- Piping bags
- 18cm (7in) square cake tin, lined with baking parchment
- Round cutter, suitable size for your serving glasses
- Cling film (plastic wrap)
1. Make the curd first, you can do this a day or two in advance if you wish. Mix the cornflour with the eggs and colouring and set aside.
2. Heat the sugar, zest and juice until the sugar is dissolved and the mix is hot but not boiling. In a separate pan, off the heat, add the egg mix and then pour over the hot sugar mix whisking well the whole time.
3. Return to the heat, stirring constantly and heat on low as the sauce thickens, this can take up to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
4. Once cool, chill in the fridge until needed, covered to prevent a skin forming – make sure the cling film is touching the surface of the curd.
5. Next make the sponge: in either a stand mixer, electric whisk or by hand, cream the butter, sugar, grapefruit zest and food colouring together until pale and fluffy.
6. Add the eggs gradually until incorporated then fold in the flour.
7. Spread into the tin, level off and bake for 20–25 minutes at 180˚C (350˚F), until the edges shrink away from the tin and the sponge is cooked through. Leave to cool.
8. Next, make the gin and tonic jelly: soak the gelatine in a bowl, then heat the water, juice and sugar in a pan.
9. Once the sugar mix is hot add the gelatine (squeeze out the excess water first) to the pan and mix well.
10. Add the gin and tonic and pour into a jug.
11. Now you can assemble your desserts: pour the first of four shallow layers of gin and tonic jelly into each glass and add an edible flower, pushing it below the surface of the jelly for the first layer. As it is only a shallow layer it won’t take long to set in the fridge. Repeat with three further layers to build up a pretty base of suspended flowers in the bottom of each glass.
12. Once the jelly is set, make the mascarpone layer. Beat the mascarpone until soft, add 200g (7oz) of curd to this and two shots of gin, and beat well until creamy. Place into a large plastic piping bag and snip the tip of the bag.
13. Pipe a thin layer of mascarpone filling over the jelly.
14. Cut a sponge disc out to fit into the glass, leaving a little room around the edge. Push the sponge disc into the glass and pipe extra mascarpone filing around the sponge and over the top to cover.
15. Lastly add a layer of curd to finish. Top each glass with a little cling film and chill for an hour to set. Keep in the fridge, then remove the cling film and top with a crystallised viola when ready to serve.
TIP: These will last for two days. You can cover the glasses with cling film once assembled, and then when you are ready to serve, bring out from the fridge for an hour and top off with flowers.
Recipe extracted from: BOTANICAL BAKING: Contemporary baking and cake decorating with edible flowers and herbs by Juliet Sear. Published by SewandSo. RRP £16.99/€19.00. Photography by Jason Jenkins.