I’ve done it! I’ve found a cake so gloriously sticky sweet that it caught me right in the glands. Me – queen of buttercream consumption in great and cheap quantities and able to stomach 16 different jams at once – couldn’t finish a cake. A sugary treat has finally beaten me, and it came from a high street cafe chain seen more frequently on street corners than the comparatively prude Hummingbirds Bakery.
Our post-Christmas cake review was a couple of classic Patisserie Valerie gateaux slices. Straying away from the super rich spiced goodies we’ve all been feasting on this Christmas, the strawberry and the forest gateaux flavours where selected.
The main thing we noticed is how Valerie doesn’t scrimp on wholesome, fresh fruit fillings and toppings. Our strawberry gateaux slice was topped with a thick, generous layer of strawberry halves (duh) which nestled beautifully atop folds of fresh cream, separated by identical layers of extra-light sponge and rounded off with a crumbed almond edge. This was my favourite – though I’m not the hugest fan of almost entirely cream cakes, the bittersweet strawberries balance it out perfectly (until you try and shovel in an over-generous forkful and have to abandon your fork. Dunno who did that. Nope.).
Meanwhile, our Black Forest gateaux slice took much the same form as the strawberry layout except that the sponge was of a delicate cocoa variety (as with any traditional Black Forest pudding), the layers of cream shot through with whole – yes WHOLE – black cherries and topped off with a cute chocolate Patisserie Valerie branded button and chocolate curl.
The price for these fresh cream and whole fruit treats? £3.95 per slice – The same as a slice of Hummingbirds classic sponge slices made just with buttercream and sponge.
If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of ordering on of Patisserie Valerie’s amazing whole gateaux for a birthday or celebration (yes, we’re in love the the piled fruit toppings too!), consider the single slices the best way to sample them. Or indeed, simply to try several flavours at once – there are way to many scrummy cakes on their counter just to choose one of.