April 3, 2012

dream on

Have you met frangipane? I only recently made her acquaintance (she lets me call her Fran), but I can already tell that we're gonna be pals.


For the less informed, frangipane is essentially a combination of pastry cream, almond paste, and ground almonds. While I typically can only tolerate the taste of almond extract in very small amounts, there's no defeating the power of rich, luscious pastry cream. It makes the almond extract exponentially more enjoyable. Combine that with a subtly favored almond cake, a layer of sweet, tart raspberry preserves, and a smooth, tasty coating of almond buttercream frosting, and you have one heck of a magnificent dessert.


If you pay any attention at all, you've probably noticed that I often do two things to my layer cakes: 1)cut each layer in half horizontally, and b)apply some sort of moistening agent to each layer. I do so hate a dry cake, and taking these steps seems to hold off the dessication long enough for the cake to be consumed. Bakerella suggests loading a spray bottle with a simple syrup, and that's an idea I may try in the future to save myself a few minutes.


So, not only do the moist pieces slice neatly, but if you make it a point to get a bite containing each and every component, you'll experience a blend of the nutty, the tangy, the sweet, and the splendid. Good on you, Fran!

Raspberry Almond Dream Cake
Cake:
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Frangipane:
3/4 cup (about 7 ounces) almond paste (not marzipan)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Raspberry preserves

Almond buttercream:
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2-3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups almonds, toasted and crushed

First, make your frangipane, as it can be kept in the fridge for weeks. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the almond paste until it is crumbly. Add the butter, sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, egg, flour and salt, and continue to pulse until the mixture is combined and smooth. Cover tightly and refrigerate until needed.

Now, the cakes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottom of each pan with a round of buttered parchment or wax paper.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl. Combine the sugar and the butter and beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until very light. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly-mixed and well-aerated. Divide the batter between the pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the cakes are well risen and springy to the tough--a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to cooling racks and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Cool completely, then cut each layer in half horizontally. (It helps tremendously to freeze the layers for about 30 minutes first.)

To make the frosting, beat the butter with an electric mixer for a few minutes. Add the extract and milk and briefly blend. Add the powdered sugar gradually until the frosting is thick enough to spread easily. If the frosting is too dry, add additional milk until the desired consistency is reached.

To assemble, liberally brush the four sides of exposed cake with the raspberry preserves. Divide the frangipane into thirds and slather it between the halved and preserved layers (stacking as you go), then frost the sides and top in a decorative fashion. Press the toasted almonds into the sides, if desired. Chill for a bit to let things mingle, then slice and serve!

44 comments:

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Oh, what a beauty! I love the flavors. ;-)))

Cheers,

Rosa

Becki's Whole Life said...

It's interesting that you posted this today because my b'day is in exactly one month and I found the cake I want! Oh my, this sounds absolutely amazing. Raspberry and almond is one my favorite flavor combinations. The frangiapane sounds dreamy. I even love your buttermilk yellow cake.

It even looks pretty with the sliced almonds on the outside...and incredibly moist.

bellini said...

I will take your advice and get a little bit of everything in every morsel

Joanne said...

This is what easter is going to look like on my dessert table!

jose manuel said...

De lujo

~~louise~~ said...

Oh my heavenly goodness!!!

Kate said...

It is breakfast time here...I don't thing the cake cares...I would have a large piece if I could. This looks amazing!

darla magee said...

beautiful cake! i can't wait to meet Fran, i could use a new tasty friend! ;-) bravo!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I'm nuts about frangipane, no pun intended ;) and your cake looks spectacular, I love how you can see the moist gooey jam sinking into the cake layer.

jillian said...

What a beautiful cake! I love raspberry and almond together!

PrayerPoseMom said...

Frangipane is one of my favorite things; I can't wait to try this!

Elizabeth King said...

Looks so darn good! Also that's a great ides of putting simple syrup in a spray bottle, I think I just might do that! Should I keep that refrigerated?

Elizabeth said...

I love the almonds on the side!

Marjie said...

I adore almonds and almond extract. I can drive everyone else nuts with it sometimes. This is one beautiful cake; I'm glad Fran made your acquaintance.

Mimi said...

Beautiful cake! Glad you met Fran. Now that you know her you will have a hard time getting rid of her, she'll stick to you like glue when your at the gym!
Mimi

I Wilkerson said...

Really lovely cake--I've always liked nuts on the outside and lots of layers!

Choc Chip Uru said...

Congratulations :D
I have awarded you on my blog - enjoy right here:
http://gobakeyourself.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/give-me-a-grin-for-easter-2012/

You deserve it :)
Cheers
Choc Chip Uru

tania@mykitchenstories said...

This looks delicious I love the flavour of almond, though it took me a few years. This is not what I know as frangipane. I know it as a mix of almost equal parts butter sugar eggs and almond meal that is cooked in a tart shell....... you learn something new every day.!

Blond Duck said...

Now that sounds like a good cake!

Angie's Recipes said...

o yes..I adore frangipane.....this 4-layered cake looks divine!

sophia said...

Oh dear...I really need to make acquaintance with frangipane too! It sounds gorgeous!

Rosita Vargas said...

Un pastel hermoso lleno de sabores toda una delicia,abrazos hugs,hugs.

XL @ 6 Bittersweets said...

Mmm! Raspberry with almond is simply irresistible!

Beth said...

I do love almond flavoring, and frangipane is wonderful. I know I'd love that cake!

Lynda said...

I was smitten when you said "almond buttercream". I love your cake creations Grace, and I have noticed that you always split the layers in half. I'll come to your house for cake anytime as they always look so moist and decadent, just as a good cake should!

kale @ tastes good to me! said...

Well this is certainly NOT a dry cake!! Looks mouth-wateringly moist. :)

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I love the adding of a syrup and the spray bottle is a great idea (I've done it using a pastry brush but that drags crumbs).

Erica said...

Wow! That cake looks so moist and delicious! Happy Easter!

lisa is cooking said...

I wish I could have a bite right now with each and every component. The raspberry preserves between layers looks lovely!

Pam said...

Beautiful and delicious! I ALWAYS leave your site drooling. Seriously.

Lisa-Marie said...

Frangipane is my actual favourite. I like anythign with almonds, but it's texture is so lovely!

This cake is ACE Grace. All kinds of ace.

Hungry Dog said...

This might be your best creation yet! A dream is right, this is gorgeous.

Catherine said...

Dear Grace, Thank you for your visit. I am following your blog now.
It is a beautiful blog full of delicious and tempting recipes. I hope that we will be blogging friends.
Blessings my dear. Catherine xo

Karen T. said...

I made this cake tonight and the cake itself turned out beautifully, but the Frangipane on the other hand was a disaster!!! I followed the recipe to a T and it was so runny and watery. I did a search later for recipes just for almond Frangipane and non of them call for milk and all that heating nonsense. If I had skipped that, then yes I think it would have been better. Can't wait to frost the cake in the morning and serve at Easter.

grace said...

@Karen T: i'm sorry fran and i failed you, but i'm glad you were able to turn things around! :)

Gloria said...

I love frangine and this look amazing!!!!!

Lisa @ Snappy Gourmet said...

Oh my, this cake looks incredible! Going to pin now so I don't forget about it!!!

Vianney Rodriguez said...

what a stunnning cake, layer upon layer of flavor. thanks for the tip, will use it next time!

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

I love this cake - it sounds and looks so good!

Elina (Healthy and Sane) said...

Wow, wow wow. Looks amazing!! :)

Jeff @ Cheeseburger said...

This raspberry almond cake looks gorgeous. I bet its very delicious.

Deborah said...

Ok, I've never had frangipane before, but this cake is seriously calling my name!

Carolyn Jung said...

As a serious almond lover, anything with frangipane is to die for in my book. ;)

Donna and Miss Spenser said...

I am so excited to find your site! I just returned from an incredible (long awaited!!) European trip...in Germany, the cakes were incredible...I think I will try this out...it will take me back there for just a moment! Thanks for posting!!!! Donna