It’s the semi finals!!! And it’s French Patisserie week!
Alongside semi-finalists, Ruby, Rahul, Briony and Kim-Joy we have been baking our little hearts out and made, hands down, our best showstopper to date!
Our Napoleon’s delight cakes are a celebration of St Helena Island’s best known inhabitat and our biggest claim to fame…Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte who was exiled there in 1815 to 1821. The cake layers are made up of ingredients local to St Helena and ones which we like to think he would have enjoyed whilst on Island. A Banana Cake base paired with a St Helena Coffee mousse layer (made using Midnight Mist Coffee Liqueur). Topped with reportedly napoleon’s favorite snack, almonds, crushed and toasted before being crowned by a piped chocolate military bicorne hat synonymous with Napoleon.
When we make it again we think we will double the mousse mixture to get a bigger height on the cakes or maybe add a third layer of complexity..we do love a challenge 🙂
The end result is worthy of a Emperor and turned out deliciously balanced and so moorish.
Have a go at making it yourself.
Here’s how you make it:
Make the Banana Cake
2 or 3 ripe bananas
113g caster sugar
2 eggs beaten
225g self-raising flour
- Mash the bananas and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together and then beat in the eggs followed by the bananas.
- Sift the flour into the banana mixture and combine all ingredients.
- On a lined baking tray spread the mixture thin to create the base.
- Bake in a moderate oven 200c/400f/gas 6 for 20 minutes if creating a flat tray bake / 40 to 45 minutes if making a traditional round or loaf cake.
- Cool on the cooling rack.
- Cut into your desired shape to fit into the tin/or cake mould you’ll be using to shape the patisseries.
Make the Mousse
2 egg yolks
30g of sugar
15g of cornflour
3 tbsp of Midnight Mist Coffee Liqueur
2g of platinum grade gelatine leaves, (approx 2 leaves)
175ml of milk
400ml of double cream
- Soak the gelatine in cold water.
- Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it just comes to the boil
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and Midnight Mist Coffee Liqueur together in a small bowl.
- Remove the milk from the boil, and slowly whisk it into the egg yolk mixture until fully incorporated
- Sieve the mixture back into the saucepan and heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously until thickened.
- Squeeze out the gelatine leaves and whisk them thoroughly into the hot custard. Set the custard aside for a few minutes to cool
- In a large bowl, whisk the double cream into soft peaks.
- Take a spoonful of the cream and combine it thoroughly with the custard, then gently fold the remaining double cream through the custard until it is smoothly incorporated, but without knocking all the air out of the double cream
- Gently spoon the mousse into the Banana cake, place tray/or cake moulds into fridge to chill until set.
- Whilst the mousse is setting in the fridge create your chocolate decorations.
The decorations: Napoleon’s Hat and crushed toasted almonds
- Melt 1 bar of cooking chocolate over simmering water and fill a piping bag
- Mark out the hat shape on oven proof paper, turning the paper over to start pipping
- Pipe the chocolate to create the hats and decorate with a jelly tot sweet for the rosette.
- Place the hats in the fridge on a tray to set
- Crush and toast almonds and set aside for assemble
- Once the mousse and chocolate hats are set you can assemble your napoleon’s delights.
- Carefully remove the move set mousse and banana cake layers from their tin.
- If using a square tin, as we did, you will have to cut the slab into slices remembering to wipe clean the knife between each cut for a smooth finish.
- Alternatively if you have used individual cake moulds just simple remove from each mould.
- Sprinkle a handful of crushed toasted almonds before placing a chocolate hat on top.