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TO MAKE THE CAKES: Heat oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3. Butter and base-line a deep, 30cm round cake tin (20cm round cake tin for the smaller cake) with baking parchment. Whisk the eggs and sugar together using a hand-held or tabletop mixer until the mixture leaves a trail when the whisk blades are lifted. This could take 8-10 mins, but don’t skimp this step as it is crucial to the success of the cake.
Fold in the butter, almonds and orange zest using a large metal spoon, then sift in the flour and baking powder. Fold everything together lightly, then pour into the tin. Bake for 50-60 mins (30-40 mins for the smaller cake) until firm to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 mins, then turn out, peel off the paper and leave to cool completely. The cakes can now be frozen for up to a month.
TO MAKE THE ORANGE SUGAR SYRUP: Put the caster sugar in a small pan with the water and orange peel. Heat gently, stirring until the sugar has melted, then boil hard for 2-3 mins until slightly syrupy. Cool, then stir in the Cointreau.
TO MAKE THE CRÈME PATISSERIE: Whisk together the egg yolks, vanilla extract and caster sugar using an electric whisk until the mixture is pale and thick. Whisk in the flour. Boil the milk, then gradually whisk into the egg mix. Return to the pan and cook over a gentle heat, whisking until the custard is thick and glossy. Cook gently, stirring for 2 mins more to cook out the raw flour taste. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter.
Spoon into a clean bowl, then cover closely with cling film (so it’s in contact with the custard) and leave to cool. Whip the double cream, then fold into the cool custard. Can be made up to 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge. Just before using, stir in the crème fraîche. This quantity makes enough to cover both cakes.
TO DECORATE: The day ahead of serving, split each cake in half; brush the cut edges with syrup. Lightly crush half the raspberries. Put the base of each cake on a cake board, then spread each with a layer of raspberry coulis. Scatter over the crushed raspberries followed by a thin layer of Crème patisserie (about one-third of the total amount). Cover with the other halves of the cakes, then chill.
Select about 6-8 long strands of redcurrant. Lightly beat the egg white and put the sugar in a shallow bowl. Brush redcurrants lightly with egg white, then coat lightly with sugar and arrange over a flat tray lined with baking paper. Leave overnight to dry out.
Spread Crème patisserie thinly over the tops and sides of the cakes. Measure the depth and circumference of the small cake, then roll one-third of the modelling paste into a sausage. Put this shape between two large sheets of baking parchment, then roll to the circumference of the cake and about 3-4cm more than the depth. If the paste splits, put it in the food processor with 1 tbsp oil and whizz it up, then re-knead and it should come back again to a smooth paste. Once rolled sufficiently, flip the whole lot over and peel away the uppermost sheet of paper. Trim the base of the paste in a straight line, leaving the top wavy. Carefully wrap the modelling paste around the cake with the straight edge to the base, pressing in the sides, then peel off the parchment. Repeat with remainder of paste for the larger cake.
Cut the dowels into equal lengths, about 2cm more than the depth of the larger cake, then insert 4 into the centre of the cake in a square formation, just smaller than the size of the smaller cake, then put two in the middle. On the day, place the smaller cake on top of the larger one, then fill around the edge of the large cake and the top of the small cake with the berries, finishing with the frosted redcurrants. Dust with icing sugar.
CHOCOLATE MODELLING PASTE: Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, then leave to cool for a few mins. Heat the glucose gently in a pan, then tip into a large bowl. Gradually beat the chocolate into the glucose, beating to a thick paste that leaves the sides of the bowl clean. Place in a polythene bag and leave for about an hour until set firm.
To use, knead lightly until slightly softened. Microwave on Defrost for 10-15 secs if really firm, then use as desired. (Takes 10 minutes to prepare, 10 minutes to cook and makes about 1.8kg)