Swiss berry quilt cake with caramelised peach coulis and lemon verbena sabayon

20 April 2017 by
First published: 28 December 2016

Always a popular light dessert, this Swiss berry quilt cake with caramelised peach coulis and lemon verbena sabayon is a low-gluten and, excluding the sabayon, dairy-free dessert. Add it to your Christmas line-up to be the hostess with the mostest.

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

140g plain flour, sifted

¼ tsp ground cloves

280g soft light-brown sugar

14 large egg whites, at room temperature

1½ tsp cream of tartar

2 tsp orange zest

For the Swiss berry coulis:

450g blackberries

500g raspberries

200g caster sugar

2 allspice berries, toasted and ground

2 cloves, toasted and ground

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

To serve:

Lemon verbena sabayon (see below)

Caramelised peach coulis (see below)

Fresh berries

Edible flowers and/or lemon verbena or mint leaves


Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. In a bowl, combine the flour with the ground cloves and half of the brown sugar. Place a piece of waxed or parchment paper on a flat surface. Sift the flour mixture onto the parchment, then sift again back into the bowl. Repeat then set aside.

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment on medium speed, or in large bowl using a whisk, beat the egg whites until foamy. Ensure all equipment is clean, dry and grease-free. Sprinkle in the cream of tartar then continue to beat the whites until tripled in volume. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the whites one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the sugar is incorporated and the whites are thick and glossy.

Turn the speed to medium–low and fold in the flour and sugar mixture in three additions. Finally, add the orange zest.

Spoon the cake batter into an unbuttered 25cm angel-cake tin with a removable bottom. Run a knife through the batter to break up any air bubbles. Bake for 45 minutes, until golden and the cake springs back when you lightly press the surface. Invert, in its tin, onto a cooling rack and cool completely, at least an hour.

While the cake is cooling, make the coulis. Rinse and drain the berries, reserving about a quarter of each.

Add the remaining berries to a large pan. Over low heat, add the sugar and spices and bring to a low simmer, stirring the sauce to break down the berries. Use a food mill or sieve to strain out the seeds then stir in the lemon juice. Cover and chill the coulis and reserved berries until needed.

Turn the cake right side up, then run a knife around the sides and centre tube of the tin. Release from the sides, then run a knife around the bottom to release. Slice the cake vertically into 2cm slices. Set aside.

Have a spring-form pan, reserved berries and berry coulis ready. Lightly moisten the pan then line with cling film, letting the side of the film fall over the edges. Sprinkle a third of the reserved berries in the bottom of the pan then add a ladleful of sauce.

Press a layer of cake slices onto the bottom, filling in the cracks to make a ‘patchwork-quilt’ layer. Repeat these layers two or three times, finishing with a little more sauce on top. Tuck the cling film over the top then add another layer of film over the top. Weight the cake with a flat plate and a 500g weight or can on top.

Chill in the fridge for at least three hours or overnight.

Make the lemon verbena sabayon and caramelised peach coulis (see below).

To assemble, peel away the cling film from the top of the cake tin and cover with a cake plate. Flip over onto the plate then release the sides then the top of the spring-form pan. Peel away the film. Cut the cake in wedges and place on individual plates. Spread a generous spoonful of peach coulis onto each plate then spoon the sabayon over the edge of the cake.

Garnish with fresh berries and edible flowers and/or verbena or mint leaves.

Lemon verbena sabayon

This sabayon is made with lemon verbena, but you can use the same technique for infusing cream with all sorts of spices and herbs.

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

240ml double cream

10 to 12 fresh lemon verbena leaves, roughly chopped

¼ vanilla pod, split, or ¼ tsp paste

3 large yolks, at room temperature

55g caster sugar

120ml sparkling wine


Put the cream, lemon verbena leaves and vanilla pod (bean) into a pan and heat to a gentle simmer, stirring.

Let cool, then cover and infuse for at least two hours or overnight.

To finish the sabayon, place the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl set over barely simmering water and whisk well. Slowly add the sugar a little at a time, then gradually add the sparkling wine and vigorously and continuously whisk for about 10 minutes until light yellow and fluffy. Have an ice bath ready.

Transfer to the bowl to the ice bath and continue to whisk the mixture until completely cooled. You may set aside the mixture at this point until service, but keep it chilled.

When ready to serve, strain the leaves from the chilled cream, then whip the cream into soft peaks. Fold the cream into the egg mixture in three stages, gently mixing until combined. You can make this up to three hours in advance, covering and chilling until needed.

Serve a generous spoonful over each wedge of quilt cake.

Caramelised peach coulis

Ingredients (serves 8 to 10)

450g fresh yellow peaches (or apricots), pitted and quartered

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp freshly grated ginger

¼ tsp ground allspice

1 tbsp grapeseed oil

Large pinch salt

¼ tsp ground white pepper


Preheat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Put the peach quarters in a large bowl, sprinkle in the sugar, ginger and allspice and toss to coat.

Oil a baking tray and arrange the peaches on it, cut side up. Sprinkle with the salt and white pepper.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 30 minutes, until bubbly and caramelised. When cool, run through a food mill to puree.

Adjust seasonings, cover and chill until needed.

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Swiss berry quilt cake with caramelised peach coulis and lemon verbena sabayon
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