Amaretti and raspberry cake
When I was deciding what cake to make for my friend's birthday last week I wanted something a little lighter, a little less intense. I'm still feeling aftershocks from Christmas overindulgence. I wouldn't describe this cake as light exactly, but the fruit does help offset the richness a little.
I was try to replicate the flavour of amaretti cookies, which have a strong, slightly bitter almond flavour. Use a really good quality almond extract, some of the cheaper (artificial) almond extracts are too wimpy and bland.
Almond and vanilla cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbs baking powder
1tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups ice water
3 egg whites
Mix flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside. Cream together the butter and the shortening. Add the sugar and the vanilla and beat until fluffy. Add the egg and just combine. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour mixture and water in turns. Scrape the bowl to ensure everything is mixed properly.
In a clean bowl, beat the eggs until soft peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into the batter until just combined.
Divide batter between two 6 inch cake pans lined with parchment (I make a few cupcakes with any leftover batter) and bake at 325 degrees F for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake come to room temperature then c
ut into very thin layers.
Freeze cake layers, wrapped well in cling wrap.
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 egg whites
2 1/3 cups butter
1/2 vanilla bean innards
1 tsp almond extract
In a very clean, dry, heat proof bowl, whisk together egg whites and sugar. Set bowl over a large saucepan of simmering water, whisking constantly. When the sugar granules dissolve, remove the pan from the heat and wipe the water from the bottom of the bowl. Pour egg mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer whip the eggs until they about double in size. Add the butter, a little at a time. The mixture will very likely break and start to look like a scrambled leaky mess. Keep whipping, it should come back together.
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
juice of one lemon
a little water
Put everything into a saucepan and cook on medium heat. Mash the raspberries a little so they are still a little chunky. Let cool.
Test pattern: I like to practice new frosting designs
on a piece of parchment before I try it on a cake.
Spread a layer of raspberry filling onto a cake layer, top with another cake layer spread with frosting. Alternate cake layers with either filling until you run out of cake layers. Chill cake for 30 minutes.
Frost the cake with a thin quick layer of frosting to seal in the crumbs. Don't worry about making this layer too pretty. Chill again for 30 minutes.
Put about 1/3 cup frosting in a small bowl, add 1-2 drops red food colouring mix well. Repeat with more frosting, adding a little more colouring each time. You want to end up with three different shades of pink to red. Pipe a line of the darkest colour frosting around the bottom of the cake, smooth with an offset spatula. Work your way up the cake, adding lighter shades of frosting as you move up. Blend the edges between the different colours to give a softer fade. Use remaining white frosting to touch up the top of the cake.