When I left you yesterday, Dear Reader, I had completed the cake portion of Toasted Almond Layer Cake, from Paula Shoyer's new book The Kosher Baker. Let's head on now to the finish line!
Next is the buttercream icing. Sugar and water are combined in a saucepan and heated. A candy thermometer is used to check when the syrup reaches the proper temperature.
Meanwhile, beat some more eggs at medium speed. This cake seems to use more eggs than a Passover cake!
When the syrup reaches the proper temperature, reduce speed to low, then carefully drizzle it in.
After all the syrup is added, increase mixer speed and beat until egg mixture is cooled down.
Note that as it is beaten and cools, the color turns ...
To an off-white.
When mixture is cool, start adding margarine, a tablespoon or two at a time. If you were impatient and tried to add the margarine too early, the margarine will melt and pool. Not a good thing.
Dribble in almond extract.
Beat it a little longer to make sure extract is distributed.
Then scoop buttercream into a one quart bowl. Cover it and place in fridge until ready to assemble the cake.
Toast the almonds. Really. Yes, this cake takes a million hours to make. But take a few extra minutes and toast the almonds. You can't imagine how much better almonds are until you toast them.
Now make the Amaretto syrup. Boil another pot of sugar and water. Except this time, just get the mixture to boil ...
... then add Amaretto. If not using right away, cover syrup and leave at room temperature.
Remember the cake with the patch? The recipe calls for triple layers, but with the patching, I was worried that it would completely fall apart if cut it into three razor-thin layers, so I settled for two.
Take the top layer off.
Turn the top layer over and place on a foil-covered cardboard round. See? I told you the patch wouldn't matter. But did you listen to me? Noooo ...
Liberally brush the cut side with the Amaretto syrup. There's a lot of syrup, so don't be stingy.
Plop on some of the buttercream.
Then schmear it out to the edges.
Sprinkle on some of the toasted almonds.
Take the other cake half and brush Amaretto syrup all over its cut side as well.
Carefully flip over and place on top of the buttercreamed-and-almonded cake half.
Schmear some more buttercream over the top and sides
Since another layer of buttercream will be added, it's not necessary to be perfect at this point. Pop the cake into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up the buttercream.
Then add a second layer of buttercream.
Looks a lot better now, doesn't it?
Press the remaining toasted almonds around the sides and about an inch over the top edge.
Leave the center blank, because if you are like me, you can't write with frosting to save your life. As long as it tastes good, no one will care anyway.
Carefully move the cake to a serving tray or traveling container to bring to work.
Make Birthday Girl wait for her share while you take a few photos.