- May 2016
- Makes about 25 small squares
- hands-on time 1 hour 15 min
Luxembourg’s popular ‘tree-cake’ recipe has been simplified to bring you a moist, apricot layer cake. A superb addition to afternoon tea.
- 5.1g (2.9g saturated)
- 14.6g (10.4g sugars)
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
- 6 medium free-range eggs
- 250g caster sugar, plus 1½ tbsp
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar (or add 1 tsp vanilla extract to the rum below)
- 6½ tbsp golden rum
- 200g plain flour
- 50g cornflour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp apricot jam
For the icing
- 180g icing sugar
- 2 tbsp golden rum
You’ll also need…
- a 25cm square cake tin
- An electric mixer
- Grease the cake tin with butter and line the base with baking paper. Separate 4 of the eggs, putting the whites in a large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt to the whites, then beat with an electric mixer until they form stiff peaks when the beaters are removed.
- In another large mixing bowl, beat the butter, 250g sugar and vanilla sugar (if using) with an electric mixer. Beat in the 4 egg yolks, then the remaining 2 whole eggs. Beat in 5 tbsp of the rum (mix the vanilla extract with the rum first, if using).
- In a separate mixing bowl, mix the flour, cornflour and baking powder. Gradually add the flourmix to the butter mixture, beating between additions. Fold in the stiff egg whites with a spatula, taking care not to knock out the air – you should have a smooth, aerated batter.
- Heat the grill to high. Spread a thin, even layer of batter onto the base of the cake tin (see tip). Grill it on a high rack, just below the grill, for about 3 minutes until the top of the cake batter has browned.
- Meanwhile, put the 1½ tbsp sugar, the remaining 1½ tbsp rum and 75ml cold water in a small pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved. In another small saucepan, warm the apricot jam so it becomes runny.
- Take the tin out of the oven, then brush a thin film of apricot jam over the entire surface. Add another thin, even layer of batter (see tip) and put it back under the grill.
- Once the second layer is baked, drizzle over a bit of the syrup with a small spoon – do it as evenly as you can, and don’t use too much.
- Spread another layer of batter on top of the cake, pop under the grill and brush the grilled layer with apricot jam. Repeat this process, alternating between syrup and jam, until all the batter is used up. Leave the last sponge layer naked. You should have 6-9 layers.
- Once all the layers have been baked, leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Loosen the edges with a knife, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Mix the icing ingredients in a small bowl, spread over the top of the cake and leave to set. Cut into squares and serve with a good strong coffee.
Use a ladle to help measure the same amount of batter for each layer.
The cake, uncut, will keep wrapped in foil for about 4 days.
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