100 g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
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Panettone is a brioche-type bread from Italy. It comes in loads of different sizes - I’ve used a large one here but you could easily adapt the ingredients to make a smaller cake.
Cakes don’t come much simpler than this one and the nice thing is that, even if it’s assembled roughly and things aren’t exact, it will still look cute. You’ll probably have a bit of panettone left over so keep in mind that it’s brilliant torn up for a layer in trifle or eaten toasted for breakfast.
Halve the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds into a bowl. Add the cream, lemon zest and the sugar, then whisk. Don’t overwhip the cream, though - stop when it forms nice thick peaks, and slightly hangs off the whisk.
Lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan until golden brown. Let them cool then scrunch them up with your hands so they are quite fine.
Peel the paper off the panettone and turn it onto its side. Slice off 3 rounds about 2cm (¾in) thick. Rotate the sponge to help keep the slices even. Wrap up the rest of the panettone and put it away.
Lie a slice on a plate and drizzle over roughly 2 tablespoons of vin santo and a tablespoon of elderflower cordial. Spoon a generous dollop of the whipped cream onto the slice and smear it all over using a palette knife. Arrange half of the strawberry slices on top of the cream. Place another slice on top and do another layer exactly like the first one. Finally, place your third slice on top. Spoon the remaining cream over and smooth it gently over the top and sides of the cake. Pat the top with the knife to create little peaks.
Take the crushed nuts in your hand and sprinkle or gently press against the side of the cake so they stick to the cream. Do this the whole way round the cake – and don’t worry about it being too perfect! Place the raspberries on the top and around the bottom of the cake.
To finish it off, take the bar of chocolate, place it on a chopping board, flat side up. Very carefully pull a chef's knife along the length of the chocolate to create little chocolate curls, or just grate the chocolate and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Either serve right away or put in the fridge until later. Gorgeous.