For an Easter cake recipe that is sure to impress all your guests, try this beautiful melon Charlotte with crystallised flowers and it will put a smile on everyone's face.
Taken from My Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo (£20; Penguin Group)
- 18g leaf gelatin
- 500g ripe cantaloupe melon flesh
- 4 large basil leaves
- 30 sponge fingers
- 400ml whipping cream
- 80g sugar
- 200g fromage frais
- For the crystallized flowers:
- 2 good handfulls of edible flowers (pansies, violets, nasturtiums, rose petals) and basil leaves
- 1 egg white, lightly whisked
- 3 tbsp sugar
- You will need:
- a 20-22cm cake ring, or a springform cake tin with the base removed
- a paintbrush
- 40cm ribbon
Line the baking tray with baking paper. Trim the flowers, removing the stem and the sepals. Set aside one handful of the flowers and leave unfrosted. Using the paintbrush, brush each flower lightly with egg white, then sprinkle with sugar, holding the flower by the back of its head, or as delicately as possible if using rose petals. Shake gently to remove any excess sugar and place each one on the lined baking tray. Coat the basil leaves in the same way. Leave to rest in a cool dark place overnight until crisp to the touch.
Soak the gelatin in a large bowl of cold water. Blend half the melon with the 4 large basil leaves until smooth. Pour into a saucepan, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature. Squeeze the water from the gelatin and stir it into the cooled melon mixture until dissolved. Chill in the fridge.
Place the cake ring on your serving plate. If the sponge fingers have rounded ends, cut one end so they are straight. Line the fingers around the inside of the cake tin, making sure they sit tightly together (straight edge on the plate). If they start to fall into the tin, a second pair of hands may be required.
Whip the cream with the sugar until it forms stiff peaks. Chop the rest of the melon into small cubes. Beat the fromage frais into the cold blended melon and then fold into the cream with the cubes of melon. Pour into the cake ring and chill in the fridge for 2 hours.
To serve, remove the ring and tie the ribbon around the cake. Decorate with the crystallized and reserved flowers and basil.