Rav Gill’s Cherry & Almond Deco Roll

This fresh cream roll features a delicate almond chiffon sponge rolled around a cherry-blossom-flavoured filling. Use template provided to create the picture-perfect image of cherry blossom that gets baked into the sponge.

Serves: 6
Difficulty: Needs skill
Hands-On Time: 50 mins
Baking Time: 10 mins
  • Ingredients
  • Method
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Method

Step 1
Line the cardboard tube with baking paper and wrap cling film around one end to seal. Sit the tube upright in a tall, straight glass with the sealed, cling-film end in the bottom of the glass. Set aside.

Step 2
Make the filling. Pour 2 tablespoons of water into a small bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Sprinkle over the gelatine and leave until melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool a little.

Step 3
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the cream to very soft peaks. With the whisk on low speed, gradually add the gelatine, whisking continuously. Increase the speed and whisk to medium peaks, then fold in the cherry jam and cherry-blossom extract.

Step 4
Spoon the mixture into the disposable piping bag. Snip off the end slightly smaller than the diameter of the cardboard tube and pipe the mixture into the tube. Tap the glass on the work surface to remove any bubbles and smooth the top with a palette knife. Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until completely set.

Step 5
Heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3. Make the chiffon roll. Place the cherry-blossom template in the centre of the square baking tray, then line the base and sides with baking paper (so that you can see the design through the paper). Grease the paper with vegetable oil, then wipe off any excess with kitchen paper.

Step 6
Make the design paste. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk the egg white, icing sugar, flour and butter together until smooth. Do not over-beat as you do not want air bubbles in the batter.

Step 7
Pour half the mixture into a small bowl and add pink food colouring until the mixture is a strong pink.

Step 8
Divide the remaining mixture between two bowls and colour one bowl brown and one bowl yellow. Spoon the coloured mixtures separately into the three piping bags fitted with a writing nozzle.

Step 9
Pipe the cherry-blossom design onto the baking paper, using brown for the branches, yellow for the middle of the flowers and pink for the petals. Place in the freezer while you make the chiffon sponge.

Step 10
Put 3 tablespoons of water into a jug and colour it with green food-colouring paste to create a medium green shade.

Step 11
Place the egg yolks and the 2 teaspoons of sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, whisk until the sugar is dissolved and the yolks are pale in colour. Drizzle in the vegetable oil, whisking continuously until incorporated, then whisk in the green-coloured water, along with the almond extract and salt.

Step 12
Sift the flour and cornflour over the batter and fold in until incorporated.

Step 13
Tip the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on low speed until the egg whites are frothy. Add the 45g of sugar and whisk on high speed for 2–3 minutes to medium-soft peaks.

Step 14
Fold one third of the egg whites into the green batter to lighten it, then add the remaining egg whites and fold in using a spatula or metal spoon, until just incorporated. Pour the batter over the top of the frozen design, spreading it out into an even layer using a large spatula. Bang the tin a few times on the work surface to remove any air bubbles and level out the top.

Step 15
Bake the sponge for about 10 minutes, until the top is springy and the edges are just barely starting to brown. Remove from the oven and carefully turn out onto a piece of baking paper.

Step 16
Peel off the baking paper to reveal the design. Cover the design with a fresh sheet of baking paper then flip the sponge over so the design is facing downwards. Leave to cool.

Step 17
Trim the edges of the cake to an even square. Make sure the cherry design is running horizontally along the work surface, then score horizontal lines 2cm apart all the way along the cake, which will help the cake roll – take care not to score too deeply as you don’t want to actually cut through the cake.

Step 18
Remove the filling from the freezer and slip it out of the cardboard tube. Peel away the baking paper and place the cherry roll horizontally in the centre of the sponge so it is perfectly straight.