Three layers of sponge are filled with pastry cream and mixed soft fruit and topped with cream and flaked almonds in this impressive looking cake.
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line a 23cm/9in round, deep, loose-bottomed cake tin.
Place the sugar and eggs into the bowl of a free-standing electric mixer. Whisk for 10 minutes, or until pale and doubled in volume. Sift over the cornflour and flour and carefully fold in with a large metal spoon until just mixed. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until risen and lightly golden-brown.
Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
For the crème patissière, place the milk into a pan and bring just to the boil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whisk in the flour and cornflour, then whisk in the hot milk. Return to the pan and cook, stirring, over a medium heat until the mixture just comes to the boil.
Pass through a sieve into a bowl and stir in the vanilla paste (or vanilla extract). Sift over icing sugar to prevent a skin forming and allow to cool.
In a separate bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl. Set a third of the whipped cream aside and fold the remaining cream into the cooled crème patissière.
Cut the cake horizontally into three thin discs.
Spread the bottom disc with a third of the crème patissière. Cover the cake with a third of the fruit and another cake disc. Spread with half of the remaining crème patissière and more fruit. Finish with the top cake disc. Smooth the rest of the crème patissière over the sides of the cake.
Press the flaked almonds around the sides of the cake. Spread three large spoonfuls of the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake, put the remainder in a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe a swirl around the edge. Arrange the remaining soft fruit on top and sprinkle over more flaked almonds.
Leave to chill and serve within 24 hours.
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