- Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Grease 8 holes of a 12-hole muffin tin.
- Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (an electric whisk will make this much quicker). Beat in the eggs one at a time until pale and mousse-like. Add a few drops of vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour into the mixture, then fold through, being careful not to knock too much air out of the mixture. Divide the mixture equally between the 8 greased holes of the muffin tin.
- Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until lightly coloured and quite firm to the touch, 12 to 15 minutes. When fully cooked, remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from the tin and placing on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Whilst waiting for the cakes to cool, wash and dry the muffin tin thoroughly. Dust 8 holes of the tin well with icing sugar.
- Roll out the marzipan on a surface well dusted with icing sugar and cut into 8 even pieces. Line each hole with the marzipan pushing right into the corners, and smooth the marzipan, trying to keep it an equal thickness all over. Make sure you don't have any holes.
- Whip the cream and add a few drops of vanilla extract until firm.
- When the cakes are cool, slice them horizontally into 3 separate layers and discard the top layer.
- Spread a little of the cherry syrup from the pie filling inside your marzipan moulds then place a little cream, and top with a layer of sponge. If you want to, at this point, sprinkle with a little Amaretto or Marsala and add a few cherries. Repeat this process, finishing with a layer of cake.
- Wrap the tin in clingfilm and place in the fridge for about 2 hours with a dinner plate on top to help cakes compress and firm up.
- Take them out of the fridge just before serving and carefully turn them out of the tin, using a knife to loosen the edges if necessary.
- Finally, when plated, dust with a little icing sugar and if you like, top with a little extra cream and a cherry.
- Now savour the heavenly taste!!!
The cherry pie filling that I use is available in a 500g carton from Sainsbury's. Other supermarkets may stock a similar product but the Sainsbury's one is tried and tested and not the same as the cans of mushy cherries that are just awful!!
As you will no doubt have a load of the cherry filling left, and the carton is only good for three days once opened, take a look at my other recipe - like my Black Forest gateaux cupcakes - to use some more of them up.
If you fancy trying a similar item (but in my opinion not as good) go to Morrison's supermarket as they sell a whole, family-size festival gateaux. This is in the fresh cream cakes section. It's a semi-sphere shape and has a covering of green marzipan. This also uses custard in the filling, but gives you a good idea of what the taste is all about!!!!