This is a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking. I made it yesterday as a friend of mine was coming for afternoon tea. It is basically a Victoria sponge recipe and in between the layers of sponge there is crème pâtissière which similar to custard with the top layer covered in ganache (an icing made from chocolate and cream). I adapted the recipe slightly as I also spread a thin layer of home-made apricot jam beneath the crème pâtissière. It is called a pie and yet as you can see from the photograph it is a cake.
For the cake: 1 batch Victoria Sponge recipe
For the icing (ganache):
150ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
For the crème pâtissière:
125ml double cream
1 vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
50g caster sugar
15g plain flour
Make the cakes then pour into prepared sandwich tins and bake for about 25 minutes, while you make the crème pâtissière.
Warm the milk and cream in a saucepan along with the vanilla pod split lengthwise. Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and let stand to infuse for 10 minutes. If you're not using the pod, add the vanilla extract later, when you've combined all the ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar until creamy, and then beat in the flour. With the point of a small, sharp knife, scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod into the milk, and add this warm milk to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour back into the saucepan and stir or whisk gently over a low heat until the custard thickens. Remove from the heat and let the custard cool by pouring it into a wide bowl and tearing off some greaseproof paper, wetting it, then covering the bowl with it. This stops it forming a skin. Don't put this in the fridge: something goes horribly wrong with the texture if you do, and you want utter, smooth voluptuousness here.
When the cakes are done, sit them in their tins on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn out and cool directly on the rack. When the cakes and the crème pâtissière are cool, you can make the chocolate ganache with which you're going to ice this pile-up of gorgeousness. Warm the cream, vanilla extract and butter with the chocolate, chopped into small pieces, and bring to the boil in a thick-bottomed saucepan (I find a non-stick milk pan the best for this), by which time the chocolate should have melted. Remove from the heat and whisk till smooth and thickened. Let cool a little before using, but you want it still runny enough to ice with. Sit one of the cakes on top and spread with cooled crème pâtissière, then top with the second cake. Dollop spoonfuls of the chocolate icing on top, letting it spread and drip down the sides of the cake.