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Succulents and cement cake

epicure 31 January 2017
Cuisine ,
Type of Meal
Vegetarian-friendly Yes

Like succulents and industrial-style home accents, herb-flavoured desserts – which are often overlooked in favour of more traditional fruit or chocolate flavours – are currently having their moment in the spotlight.

Serves 10 Prep time 1½-2 hours
Cook time 1 hour


olive thyme financier
280g unsalted butter
5g thyme leaves
50g olive oil
200g all-purpose flour
435g icing sugar
15g salt
200g almond powder
10g baking powder
565g egg whites

  • Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two 6-inch by 2-inch square and two 4-inch by 2-inch round cake tins.
  • In a saucepan, heat butter with thyme on medium heat for 30 minutes, until the butter browns and is infused with thyme. Mix in olive oil and heat to 90°C, then strain mixture.
  • Sift together all dry ingredients.
  • Using a paddle attachment, whip egg whites on high speed, then lower to slowest speed and slowly add in the dry mixture.
  • Add hot thyme oil to the mixture while still whipping. Mix until well-combined.
  • Pour batter in cake rings and bake for 30-45 minutes.


fig and strawberry compote
25g sugar
22g molasses
330g strawberries, roughly chopped
550g fresh figs, roughly chopped
11g orange zest
22ml rum
11g pectin NH

  • Heat 15g sugar and molasses in a saucepan on medium heat and caramelise, or until the mixture reaches 150°C.
  • Add chopped strawberries and figs, then simmer until tender. The fruits should become very soft.
  • Mix in orange zest and rum.
  • Combine pectin and remaining 10g sugar in a bowl, then mix into the saucepan mixture and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Take mixture off the heat, cover with cling film, then let the mixture cool at room temperature for 2-3 hours.


to assemble
fondant exterior
fondant succulents, as desired

  • Cut each olive thyme financier cake horizontally into 3 layers.
  • In a 6-inch by 2-inch square mould, place 1 layer of the square cake at the bottom and spread 100g of compote on top.
  • Repeat the process until you use all the 3 layers of sponge altogether in one ring.
  • Repeat the previous 2 steps with a 4-inch by 2-inch round mould, then stack on top of the 6-inch by 2-inch square cake.
  • Freeze the whole cake overnight.
  • Wrap cakes with fondant exterior. Create cement texture by carving ridges in the fondant layer and using edible paint to make the cracks look realistic.
  • Decorate cake with fondant succulents, then serve.

Excerpt from the February 2017 issue of epicure.

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