Crema De Fruta
Vanilla Sponge Cake With Sweet Custard-Fruit Filling
3 large egg yolks [60 g]
1/3 cup granulated sugar [66.7 g]
2 tbsp cornstarch [15 g]
1/2 tsp table salt [2.8 g]
1 1/2 cups whole milk [360 mL]
2 tbsp unsalted butter [28.4 g]
2 tsp vanilla extract [10 mL]
2 tsp dark rum (optional) [10 mL]
1 cup heavy cream [240 mL]
1/3 cup powdered sugar [40 g]
Vanilla Sponge Cake:
1 1/4 cup cake flour [150 g]
2 tsp baking powder [8 g]
1/3 cup granulated sugar [66.7 g]
1/2 tsp table salt [2.8 g]
5 egg yolks [100 g]
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp vegetable oil [95 mL]
2/3 cup water [160 mL]
1 tsp vanilla extract [5 mL]
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest [0.5 g]
1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest [0.5 g]
5 egg whites [150 g]
1/2 tsp cream of tartar [1.7 g]
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar [79.2 g]
(powdered sugar for dusting)
Fruit Cocktail Filling:
3 cups fruit cocktail (fruits from two 15-oz can of fruit cocktail)
20 peach slices (from 15-oz can of peach slices)
16 maraschino cherries
1/4 cup ice-cold water [60 mL]
1 tbsp (1/4 oz) clear unflavored gelatin powder [7 g]
1 1/4 cups fruit cocktail syrup (drained from two 15-oz can of fruit cocktail) [300 mL]
2 tbsp granulated sugar [25 g]
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in 3 egg yolks and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Using the whisk attachment, mix them together on high speed until it looks thick and lemon-yellow in color.
Add in 2 tbsp of cornstarch and 1/2 tsp of salt, and continue to mix until fully combined.
In a medium saucepan, heat 1 1/2 cups of milk over medium heat. Once the milk is hot and steaming, turn off the heat, and while whisking on medium speed with the whisk attachment, add about one-third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, and mix them on medium speed until combined. Then while vigorously whisking by hand, add this milk-egg mixture back into the steaming milk in the saucepan, and whisk them together until well combined. It's important to constantly whisk so the egg doesn't not get cooked and form lumps.
Turn the heat back on and continue cooking over medium heat, and bring it to a boil, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream is thickened. Once it starts to boil, continue heating for about 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a clean bowl and set it aside.
Whisk 2 tbsp of unsalted butter into the pastry cream, 2 tsp of vanilla extract, and an *optional* 2 tsp of dark rum until it is fully combined. If you prefer not to add alcohol, just leave out the dark rum. Transfer the pastry cream into a large mixing bowl. By now the pastry cream should have cooled down to warm and no longer extremely hot. Cover it with plastic wrap so that the plastic wrap is touching the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Rest this pastry cream in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours to overnight.
(Tip: work on the vanilla sponge cake while the pastry cream firms up in the fridge).
Take the cooled pastry cream from the fridge and remove the plastic wrap.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in 1 cup of very cold heavy cream, and 1/3 cup of powdered sugar. With the whisk attachment, whip this together until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold this whipped cream into the pastry cream, until they are smooth and well blended, forming the vanilla custard. Store this in the fridge until ready to assemble.
Vanilla Sponge Cake:
Separate 5 eggs into yolks and whites, and let them come to room temperature (about 30 min). Then preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
Line a half sheet pan (13" x 18") with parchment paper. Do not grease the pan or the parchment paper.
In a large bowl, sift together 1 1/4 cup of cake flour, 2 tsp of baking powder, 1/3 cup of sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Add in 5 egg yolks, 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp of vegetable oil, 2/3 cup water, 1/4 tsp finely grated orange zest, 1/4 tsp finely grated lemon zest, and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Beat this together with an electric mixer just until smooth and well blended.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the 5 room temperature egg whites and 1/2 tsp cream of tartar, and beat on medium speed until it's frothy. Then increase to medium-high speed, and very slowly add in 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar while continuing to beat. When all the sugar has been added, increase to high speed, and continue beating until you see stiff glossy peaks.
One-third at a time, very gently fold in this meringue mixture into the chiffon batter until it is well combined. Pour this batter into the prepared half sheet pan, and smooth the top with the spatula.
Bake for about 20 to 23 minutes or until the surface springs back when gently pressed.
Place the pan on a metal rack and let it cool completely to room temperature. When it has cooled to room temperature, use a knife to gently unstick the sides as needed. Dust the top with some powdered sugar to prevent this surface from sticking once inverted. Place a rectangular piece of parchment paper that's bigger than the cake on top, and invert the cake onto the parchment paper. Then slowly peel off the parchment paper the cake was baked with. From the long 18" side of the vanilla sponge cake, cut it in half so that it makes two rectangles that are approximately 9" x 13".
Tip: to be precise, measure the bottom width of your dish and the top width of your dish. If your dish is like our Pyrex dish, it will be slightly narrower at the bottom and slightly narrower on top. Slice your sponge cake so that one slice will fit snugly at the bottom (slightly narrower), and one slice will fit snugly on top (slightly wider).
Assembling the Cake:
1Prep your fruit. Take two 15-oz cans of fruit cocktail (in heavy syrup) and strain out the fruit from the syrup, and save the syrup. The two 15-oz cans will yield about 3 cups of fruit and about 1 1/4 cups of syrup. Lay the fruits on a paper towel to wick off syrup from the fruits.
Take a 15-oz can of sliced peaches (in heavy syrup) and strain out the peaches from the syrup - no need to save the peach syrup. It will yield about 20 slices of peaches. Lay the peaches on a paper towel to wick off syrup from the peaches.
Strain out 16 maraschino cherries from the jar and lay them on a paper towel to wick off syrup from the cherries - no need to save the cherry syrup.
Place the slightly narrower vanilla sponge rectangle in the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish, ideally a clear one (e.g. glass Pyrex dish) to show off the layers.
Spread approximately half of the sweet custard over the first sponge cake layer, creating a thin and even layer of custard. Sprinkle the 3 cups of prepared fruit from the fruit cocktail over the custard, spreading them evenly throughout and gently pressing them into the custard.
Take the slightly wider rectangle of sponge cake and place it on top. Use the back of your hand to tap it making sure the layers are snug. Spread the remaining half of the sweet custard over the second sponge cake layer, smoothening it out as much as possible.
Take the 20 peach slices and arrange them on top of the sweet custard to make 5 rows of peaches, with 4 peaches per row. When you're happy with the arrangement of the peaches, place a maraschino cherry in the middle of the inner arch of the peaches, excluding the bottom row of peaches, for a total of 16 maraschino cherries.
Place this assembled cake in the fridge to chill for a minimum of 2 hours to set before pouring the gelatin on top. This will allow the top layer of custard to firm up so the gelatin does not disturb the smooth layer of custard.
After the assembled cake has firmed up in the fridge for at least 2 hours, take a heat-proof container, add in 1/4 cup of ice-cold water and 1 tbsp (1/4 oz, 7 grams, or 1 packet) of unflavored powdered gelatin. Mix them together and let the gelatin bloom for 10 minutes.
In a saucepan, add in the 1 1/4 cups of fruit cocktail syrup that was set aside, and 2 tbsp of granulated sugar. Bring this to a boil over medium heat, while mixing to dissolve the granulated sugar.
Once it is boiling, remove from heat and pour the hot fruit cocktail syrup into the bloomed gelatin mixture. Stir this till the gelatin is completely dissolved. Let this gelatin mixture cool at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
After the gelatin mixture has cooled a bit, carefully and gently spoon the (lukewarm, so it is still pourable and not hardened) gelatin mixture over the chilled cake to form a thin, even layer of gelatin over the slices of peaches, maraschino cherries, and sweet custard. Use as much gelatin as you need to create a thin layer over the fruit and cream. Depending on the size of your dish, you might not need to use all the fruit cocktail gelatin mixture.
Let the entire cake rest in the fridge to allow the gelatin to firm up and for the layers to finish setting for a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. Serve this cake chilled. Enjoy!
The cake will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 2 months.