Shortcake sponge baskets with diplomat cream and fruit

From Cookipedia

This recipe requires preparation in advance!

I would advise making these over two days. Each component will keep well in the fridge for 3 days at least.

You will need a special tin to make the baskets. I used Nordic Ware's Shortcake Basket Tin and not sure if anyone else makes them. They can be got from Amazon

Shortcake sponge baskets with diplomat cream and fruit
Servings:Serves 6
Calories per serving:592
Ready in:1 hour
Prep. time:40 minutes
Cook time:20 minutes
Recipe author:JuliaBalbilla
First published:19th April 2016

Best recipe review

Nice creamy filling


Never knew this was called 'Diplomat cream'!

The Judge

For the Shortcake Sponge:

For the Crème Pâtissière

For the Crème Chantilly

To finish


For the Shortcake Sponge:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4 (see chef's notes below for fan oven instructions)
  2. Mix all of the ingredients together.
  3. Beat for 2 minutes using a medium speed
  4. Taste and add more vanilla etc extract if necessary
  5. Grease the tin with melted butter and lightly dust with flour. If using the Nordic Ware tin, I suggest you paint the butter on with a pastry brush to make sure you get into all the crevices.
  6. Divide the mixture into the 6 moulds. If you fill to the last basket market, that should be about right.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  8. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and allow to go completely cold.
  9. The sponges should have an interior texture of a cross between normal sponge cake and a nicely baked scone. Do not expect them to be like a Victoria Sandwich as that type of sponge wonÂ’t be strong enough to hold the filling.
  10. When cold, reserve the sponges until ready for use. They can go into an airtight container in the fridge if necessary.

For the Crème Diplomate (This will probably make more than you need)

  1. This is made in two parts – the Crème Pâtissière and the Crème Chantilly – which are then mixed together. You can either make it a 'set' version or an 'unset' one. The 'set' one requires the use of gelatine to set the Crème Pâtissière, but I chose to do the 'unset' one, being a vegetarian. It may be possible to use agar-agar as a setting agent, but this will need some experimentation because agar behaves differently to gelatine. I would make the Crème Pâtissière first as that need to cool.

For the Crème Pâtissière

  1. Hydrate the gelatine (if using).
  2. Beat the egg yolks with the sugar.
  3. Whisk in the cornflour.
  4. Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan, the pour half of the milk over the egg mixture.
  5. Whisk, return to the saucepan and heat, whisking thoroughly.
  6. As the mixture thickens, carry on whisking.
  7. When it returns to the boil, cook for 45 seconds and remove from the heat.
  8. Whisk in the gelatine (if using) and the butter.
  9. Cover and leave to cool.

For the Crème Chantilly

  1. Whisk all of the ingredients in a chilled bowl until it has thickened.
  2. Do not over-whisk or you will end up with sweet butter.
  3. Cover the bowl and keep in the fridge until needed.

To mix the two

  1. Whisk the cold Crème Pâtissière.
  2. Whisk in one-third of the Crème Chantilly, until smooth.
  3. Fold in the remaining cream with a spatula.
  4. Store in an airtight container the fridge until needed, although it is easier to work with if used immediately


  1. Fill the sponge cases with the Diplomat Cream – if you have made the unset version, just pile it in. For set version, you can use a piping bag.
  2. Arrange cherries or fruit of your choice on the cream.
  3. Sprinkle with a little icing sugar.

Chef's notes

It is likely that you will have some of the Diplomat Cream left over. This can be frozen and used in other recipes.

If using a fan oven which does not allow the fan to be switched off, do the following:

Once you have put the mixture into the moulds, wrap some tin foil around the baking in. The sponges need to be protected from the fan, but you donÂ’t want the foil to touch them. I made a sort of tent over the top, which helped to keep it free of the mixture and if possible, enclose the whole baking tin with foil, so that the fan doesnÂ’t dry up the sponges.

Place in a COLD oven, below the middle, but not at the bottom.

Switch the oven on to 160C and bake for about 35 minutes (!).

Remove the foil and check that they are cooked. If not they can go back in without the foil covering.

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