Since he saw me make it for the CCM back in May, my nephew (The Boy Wonder) had only one request for his birthday cake – a panna cotta filled sponge … but with a twist; the panna cotta had to be blackberry.
The recipe and method is the same as the cake I made in May but with added blackberries (200g punnet of blackberries pureed and sieved, then heated until reduced by half to make a thick syrup with intense flavour; add sugar to taste – I added 2 tablespoons). I made the panna cotta as usual then added the blackberry syrup just after whisking in the gelatine.
The idea with this cake is that you carve out the sponge to make a bowl and then fill it with panna cotta – it’s simpler than it sounds (as you will see if you click on the link to the method, given above). From the outside, the cake doesn't look all that, but I think this photo gives you a visual idea of the magic within:
Now you might be thinking that this would be a nightmare to cut but – surprisingly – it isn’t and you can get beautifully crisp slices:
The colour of the panna cotta was a delicate lilac and the fruitiness worked very well. At first I thought I hadn’t added enough fruit to the panna cotta as the initial taste was creamy and rich; then the fruit came through and was unmistakable. I’ve tried to capture how the sponge turned lilac as it soaked up the panna cotta before it set:
Happy birthday Boy Wonder!