Traditional French Christmas Cake
- For the sponge cake
- 2 eggs
- 50 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 40 grams Pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- For the vanilla cream
- 500 grams milk
- 1 Vanilla bean
- 4 egg yolks
- 150 grams sugar
- 400 grams whipped Whipped cream
- 10 sheets gelatin
- 4 centiliters Orange liqueur
- For the raspberry jelly
- 500 milliliters Raspberry juice (lightly sweetened or raspberry syrup, diluted with water to 500 ml)
- 10 sheets gelatin
For the sponge cake: Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites with the lemon juice until stiff. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy. Whisk the yolks and fold the whites into the yolks. Mix together the cocoa and the flour and fold into the eggs. Spread the batter on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 200°C (approximately 400°F). Bake for about 12 minutes, checking with a toothpick to see if it is done. Turn out of the pan and let cool.
For the garnishes: Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of simmering water. Temper the chocolate. Cut the film (or acetate strips) into 6 strips. Each strip should measure 3-4 cm (approximately 1-1 1/2 inches) wide and 10-12 cm (approximately 4-5 inches long). Spread the chocolate thinly on the film (or acetate strips). Cut the edges of each strip with a warmed knife to make a smooth edge. Fold the plastic film to make a loop. Allow the chocolate to harden. Remove the film (or acetate) before garnishing.
For the vanilla cream: Split the vanilla pod open. Boil the milk with the vanilla pod. Once the milk reaches a boil, remove the vanilla pod. Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft, about 10 minutes. Mix the yolks with the sugar and temper the eggs into the milk. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Divide the cream in half. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and dissolve half the gelatin in the milk mixture. Pour the mass through a sieve to remove any lumps. Let cool in an ice water bath. Fold in half of the whipped cream and half of the orange liqueur once cool.
Cut the sponge cake in half. Line a square pan with foil. Spread the vanilla cream on the bottom of the pan. Flatten it and top with half of the cake. Press very lightly and spread the other half with about 5 mm (approximately 1/4 inch). Place in the refrigerator to set.
For the raspberry jelly: Soak the gelatin in cold water until soft, about 10 minutes. Squeeze the excess water from the gelatin and melt in a small saucepan. Stir in the raspberry juice.
Pour the raspberry jelly over the cream, in the pan and let chill until set. Dissolve the remaining gelatin in the second half of the vanilla cream. Fold in the remaining orange liqueur and whipped cream. Spread the rest of the cream in the pan, on top of the raspberry jelly. Place the remaining half of cake on top of the cream and press lightly. Let the pan chill in the refrigerator.
To serve, turn out the cake from the pan. Remove the foil and sprinkle the surface of the cake with the red sugar. Cut the cake into squares and garnish each piece with a chocolate loop, orange slice, and a raspberry.