|although i just said pink frosting is cheery, i presented you with a photo of pink frosting on a dark gray morning and didn't process it for light, so instead of cheery i see dreary. oh well!|
November 1, 2011
Name of Cake: Toasty!
Constituents: two 9 in layers of almond chiffon cake, filled and frosted with raspberry whipped cream
I am fascinated by chiffon cake. Not quite a genoise and too light for a butter cake, chiffon cake straddles the middle between light and spongy, and substantial and rich. This cake, in particular, blurs the boundaries even more by not being rubbery like standard chiffon cakes, baked in layer pans like genoise cakes, and employing ground toasted almonds like a nut cake--or even a financier.
The Almond Shamah Chiffon, named after Rose's former assistant David Shamah, starts with toasting the almonds, then grinding them up in a food processor with the wondra flour and baking soda. The recipe calls for an equal weight of egg whites to yolks, which means you'll be freezing extra whites for a future white cake, or egg white chocolate buttercream, or italian meringue buttercream, or...you get the idea. (A large egg has about 30g egg white to about 19g egg yolk.)
The yolks and half the sugar are whipped up to the ribbon stage, the oil and some warm water and flavorings added, and whipped back up to a frothy mass. The ground nut mixture is sprinkled over the top and set aside while you tend to the egg whites. The egg whites are beat to soft peaks, the other half of the sugar is beat in until stiffish peaks. Then the meringue is folded, in three parts, into the yolky stuff.
What you get is what Rose describes as a very thick batter.
This batter fills the pans about 1/3 full and bakes for about 20-30 minutes. The cakes need to be unmolded as soon as they are pulled from the oven and set upright to cool.
In the meantime, I made the sugar syrup for the cake. This is super easy: the sugar and water are combined in a small pot, brought to a boil, covered and pulled from the heat. That's about it. Once the syrup cools, the liqueur can be added. The original recipe called for Amaretto, but I choose to go with something I already had in my pantry: Tuaca. This is a lightly citrusy/vanilla liqueur and I thought both the citrus and the vanilla would go well with the almondy cake, as well as the raspberry frosting. To be honest, in the final product I can't really taste it. (However it hasn't been 24 hours yet, maybe by tomorrow it will be more boozy?)
Once the cakes are cooled, the top and bottom crusts are removed and the syrup painted on. Then was time frosting time. The frosting was just about as easy to make as the sugar syrup. Heavy cream is whipped until beater marks leave traces, then the raspberry jam is added in, and the whole thing whipped to stiffish peaks. I had homemade raspberry jam left over from when I made it for Coleen's big birthday cake last December, and was happy to use it up.
Whipped cream frostings apply to cakes very easily and so filling and frosting were a breeze. The cake needs about 24 refrigerated hours to set up and let the flavors sort themselves out. After about nine hours I decided it was time to try a slice. It was delicious. The cake is soft, but it still has tooth. The toasted almonds and the raspberry jam play off each other in a way not unsimilar to peanut butter and jelly. A simple cake, with lots of delicious flavor that could be dressed up for a dinner party or left casual for tea time (or breakfast).
ETA: Here's Marie's Almond Shamah Chiffon, which she took the day off work to bake. Apparently not a lot of bakers made it through to the Last Cake, Next Cake round-up, but Vicki was named featured baker.