Magazine article Sunset

You Choose the Overcoat for This Basic Cake

Magazine article Sunset

You Choose the Overcoat for This Basic Cake

Article excerpt

Dress up one basick cake in three different ways. You can embed sliced almonds in the crust and soak the cake in lemon syrup, layer with raspberry jam and wrap in a marzipan coat, or spread with whipped cream and top with fresh strawberry and kiwi slices.

Pruchased marzipan or almond paste can be used in this firm, fine-textured cake. Sold in the baking, nut, or candy sections of many supermarkets, either mixture gives the cake a subtle almond flavor.

Marzipan contains the same ingredients as almond paste--ground almonds, sugar, egg white--but the proportion of ingredients varies. Marzipan is softer and contains fewer almonds and more sugar than the denser paste, and it yields a slightly finer, lighter-textured cake.

First you beat the marzipan or almond paste with eggs until very thick and light. This cake is leavened by incorporating air, so don't underbeat. Then gently fold in a little flour and melted butter, and bake. Serve the cake plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or decorated as shown in the photograph at right.

The basic cake, almond-crusted cake, and marzipan-cloaked version can be held at room temperature up to overnight, or frozen for longer storage. You can chill the fruit-topped cake up to 4 hours.

French Almond Cake (Pain de Genes) 7 to 8 ounces (about 3/4 cup) marzipan or almond paste 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons kirsch, orange-flavored liquer, or vanilla 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled Powdered sugar (optional)

Crumble marzipan into a large bowl of an electrix mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended. Then beat at high speed until thick, light, and about doubled in volume, about 15 minutes. Beat in kirsch. Sift flour and cornstarch over batter; gently fold in. Pour melted butter over batter; gently fold until blended. Pour into a buttered 8-inch round cake pan.

Bake in a 325 deg. oven until cake just begins to pull from pan sides and feels firm when lightly pressed in center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert on rack and cool; if made ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to overnight. Put on a dish and offer plain, or sift sugar over top. Serves 6 to 8.

Nut-crusted Almond Cake

Make the batter for the French almond cake (recipe precedes). Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sliced almonds evenly over pan bottom. Carefully pour batter into pan, then bake as directed. …

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