Swiss Berry Quilt Cake

Challenge yourself with this showstopper berry quilt cake centrepiece, perfect for any festive table.
iStock 1227505629

Serves 8-10


  • 140g plain (all purpose) flour, sifted
  • Quarter tsp ground cloves
  • 280g soft light brown sugar
  • 14 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1 and half tsp cream of tartar
  • 2 tsp orange zest

For the Swiss Berry Coulis

  • 450g blackberries
  • 500g raspberries
  • 200g caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 allspice berries, toasted and ground
  • 2 cloves, toasted and ground
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

To serve

  • Fresh cream
  • Fresh berries
  • Edible flowers and/or lemon verbena or mint leaves


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/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, and then sift again back into the bowl. Repeat then set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer, 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 1 tablespoon at a time and continue beating until the sugar is incorporated and the whites are thick and glossy.
  3. Turn the speed to medium–low and fold in the flour and sugar mixture in three additions. Finally, add the orange zest.
  4. 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, for at least 1 hour.
  5. While the cake is cooling, make the coulis. Rinse and drain the berries, reserving about a quarter of each.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To assemble

  1. Peel away the cling from the top of the cake tin and cover with a cake plate.
  2. Flip over onto the plate then release the sides then the top of the spring-form pan. Peel away the film.
  3. Serve with fresh cream and garnish with fresh berries and edible flowers and/or verbena or mint leaves.

Natasha MacAller – a chef who has always had a vested interest in health and a passionate interest in spices – explores the culinary, nutritional and medicinal uses of more than 30 spices found in one’s kitchen cupboard, from the everyday to the more exotic in her new cookbook, Spice Health Heroes.

Last modified: December 30, 2020

Written by 9:16 am Recipes