Wednesday 30 July 2008
[Raspberry, almond and cream layer cake]
It’s not that I didn’t like it. It’s just, that, well, there is so much more than buttercream-layered-cakes out there. Hence, this challenge initially felt a little frustrating.
Then ideas started to pop like crazy. I knew I wasn’t going to make it buttercreamy, because, we all know I don’t dig buttercream.
I wanted it to have a summer feeling. Berries imposed themselves in the most natural way.
So did the cream filling; flavoured with a fragrantly nutty paste made from almonds and sugar.
– three layers of butter and almond enriched génoise, sandwiched with
– an almond and cream filling, and
– fresh raspberries, and glazed with
– a dark chocolate ganache
The cake is a génoise, enriched with butter and ground almonds, which both make for a moist and tender gâteau.
I kept the given proportions – almost – unchanged, but slightly tweaked the process because I dare to be different. I first whipped with egg whites until they formed soft peaks, then added one fourth of the sugar, and set those aside. Using the same whisk (no cleaning involved), I beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar until white and fluffy, then carefully folded those into the whipped egg whites.
In a small bowl, I had handy the flour, cornflour and ground almonds – all, thoroughly mixed. I dumped this mixture onto the whipped eggs and folded using a large metal spoon, until just combined.
Finally, the warm melted butter (not clarified) was poured over and incorporated as fast as possible.
The batter was then transferred into a 20cm cake buttered-and-baking-papered tin. And the cake was baked for 30 minutes, or until it feels springy to the touch and separates itself from the sides of the pan.
The filling is made by folding almond praline paste into softly whipped cream.
The almond praline is very straightforward to make. The only you really need is a powerful food processor, and you’re in.
Just make a syrup with caster sugar and water, and bring it to 120°C. Next, ditch the blanched almonds in there, mix quickly and transfer onto a lined baking sheet. Allow to cool and chop into smallish pieces that you blitz using your super processor until smooth and creamy.
Now, you simply have to slice the cake into three layers, sandwich them using the filling and throwing in a couple of handful of raspberries; and finally glaze the cake using a basic ganache made of equal parts of dark chocolate and double cream.
My cake was so moist that I didn’t find it necessary to brush it with syrup before going on with the layering part of the process.
In the end, I really liked this challenge, but who can go wrong with berries, almond and cream?
Oh, sure, I did find the chocolate a little overpowering and will totally leave it out if I ever happen to make this again. Because I will.
The cake is so delicate and fragrant; and most importantly, rose beautifully. The filling was thick and creamy, which perfectly complemented the tanginess brought by the berries.