As mentioned in a previous post, one of my job responsibilities at the local library is to order cookbooks. When they arrive, the Good People in Technical Services process the cookbooks (catalog and protective cover'em, among other chores) before the books are released to the public. One of those Good People noticed how the recipes in a particular cookbook looked particularly delicious, so I asked if I could "borrow" it before it was released to the public. She replied that if I make one of the cakes for her birthday, she would rush it through processing. When I saw that the book was The Kosher Baker, I said YES!!! before finding out which glorious item she had in mind.
She opened the book and pointed to Toasted Almond Layer Cake. A triple-layer almond sponge cake, soaked in Amaretto syrup and slathered with almond buttercream. Thirteen steps, many of them with multi-parts.
But a promise is a promise. So I took the book and, so as not to make myself insane, made the cake's components over a period of several days.
The result, as you can see above, is not cookbook quality, especially the above photo; it was taken with my cell phone. But at least it's not eligible for Cake Wrecks.
However, the flavor ...
The. Best. Buttercream. EVER! Covering thereal sponge layers, flavored with Amaretto-infused syrup. This cake really should only be reserved for angels.
Birthday girl liked it. And so did the library staff that were lucky enough to be at work that day. The cake was pretty much demolished in a half-hour, with a sliver of a slice remaining, picked at for a short while longer.
Because the book is new and the recipe is not available on the intertubes, the recipe will not be posted here. But I will show you how I made it. For the actual recipe, buy the book or borrow it from your favorite library. Because of length, this post (part I of II) will show you how I made the cake component.
First you need to separate the eggs. Do this with cold eggs because it's easier. Break each egg over a small cup to avoid separation anxiety (thank you, I'll be here 'til Tuesday, try the veal :P ).
After carefully cracking the egg, hold the yolk in one half of the eggshell and let the whites fall into the cup. For photo-taking purposes I had to put down the other half until I could
Pass the yolk back and forth between the eggshell halves a few times ...
. . . until all the whites, or as much as you can drip out, fall into the cup.
Tip alert -- use an eggshell half to fish out a stray shell.
Then pour the whites into the mixing bowl. Save or discard the yolks; they aren't needed.
Let the egg whites come to room temperature -- at least a good half hour. Meanwhile, grease the cake pan. I didn't have a regular cake pan the right size so I used my cheesecake pan.
Place parchment paper on the bottom of the pan, then grease parchment as well. Drop a couple tablespoons of flour into the pan ...
... then hold the pan on its side and gently tap around to evenly coat bottom and sides. Discard excess.
Beat the egg whites ...
... and beat the egg whites ...
... and beat the egg whites ...
... until stiff peaks form when you remove the whip.
Slowly add sugar. Transfer egg whites to another bowl and set aside.
Add the rest of the cake ingredients to the dirty bowl. Note -- those are whole eggs in there, not the yolks from before.
Mix until combined.
Add back in some of the egg whites.
Beat just until combined.
Then gently fold in the rest ...
... until no streaks remain.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick or skewer inserted comes out clean.
I use this skewer. It came in a baking kit I got as a wedding gift a hundred years ago.
For some reason I always thought the directions were mildy amusing. But I digress ...
See how the skewer came out dry? And the top is nicely browned.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, to allow it to firm up and shrink ever-so-slightly so it will be easier to remove. A bit of cake still stuck to the side, so I ran a table knife around to loosen it.
Here's where I thought I was brilliant. I placed a dish on top of the cake pan.
Then quickly flipped both over.
Voila! The cake released from the pan beautifully! It's hard to see, but parchment is now on top. Peel off said parchment.
Now place the cooling rack on top of the cake ...
Then flip back, remove the plate and ... uh-oh.
The top, which is a bit sticky, stuck to the plate. :( Note to self: next time parchmentize the plate as well Now scrape off the stuck cake ...
... and drop it back onto the cake. No one will notice. Seriously. When the cake is frosted, no one will notice. It will be our little secret. Honest.
(to be continued ...)