This classic French cake with lots of cream and strawberries takes less time than you think to make and is perfect for dinner parties or even as an afternoon treat with your cuppa
- 175g/6oz soft vegetarian margarine
- 175g/6oz caster sugar
- 175g/6oz white SR flour
- 3 free range eggs, beaten
- 2.5ml/½tsp vanilla essence
- 10ml/1dsstsp hot water
- 218cm/7” sandwich tins, greased and floured
- 450g/1lb fresh strawberries
- 100g/4oz flaked almonds, toasted
- 600ml/1pint whipping cream
- 150ml/5fl oz Kirsch or other liqueur
Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas mark 5.
Put the margarine, caster sugar, SR flour, eggs, vanilla essence and hot water into a mixing bowl and beat until smooth. Divide equally between the two prepared tins and bake for about 20 mins until the sponge is golden and springs back to the touch. Leave for 5 mins then turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
Cut each sponge in half horizontally so that you have four layers.
Whip the cream until stiff and fold in the Kirsch. Put about ¼ of the cream on one side for the decoration.
Reserve six evenly sized strawberries and slice the remainder. Spread each layer of sponge with cream and top with the strawberries. Make sure you leave enough cream to coat the top and sides of the gateau. Smooth the top.
Coat the sides of the gateau with toasted almonds.
Use the reserved cream to pipe rosettes on the top. Halve the reserved strawberries and use to decorate. Chill until required.