Baking is one of those thing I simply enjoy. It allows me to try out new recipes and occasionally experiment with the old ones, it usually results in something nice, and it normally makes the consumers quite happy. So, it made sense that my first real blog post should be about my latest baking challenge.
Now, I got a cook book as a present for my birthday not so long ago and I have been trying out some recipes ever since. I don’t always follow the ingredients 100% therefore I will give you several options when describing it. This one is a gluten-free cake that I made for a family gathering. And not because someone in my family is gluten sensitive, but because it seemed an easy enough recipe that would still get the necessary amount of ‘wow’ factor. It is probably also worth noting that this cake is better made during the berry season so you could use fresh produce.
Ingredients for the sponge:
- 5 eggs
- 200 g brown sugar
- 125 g Almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- about 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- pinch of salt
Ingredients for the cream:
- 500 g Mascarpone
- 100 g powdered sugar
- 20 ml Limoncello
- 200 ml double cream
- about 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
- cherry compote for decoration
- Heat up the oven to 200ºC. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Prepare the sponge. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Put all 5 egg yolks in a bowl, add the 200 grams of brown sugar (the original recipe said Demerara sugar, but you can also substitute it with your basic white sugar if that’s what you have at home) and whisk for about 5 min (I used a hand mixer on medium speed) till light and fluffy. Afterwards add the almond flour, baking powder and vanilla sugar. Mix it all together and put it aside for a while. I got quite thick substance so don’t panick if you end up with the same.
- Put the egg whites in a separate bowl and add a pinch of salt. Make sure that the bowl is dry in order to get the best result. Whisk the egg whites for about 2 – 3 min (again I used a hand mixer) till you get stiff, but not dry peaks.
- Gradually fold in the egg whites in the egg yolk mixture. It should take three goes. Make sure that you get more or less homogenous mixture. Pour it into the baking tray, level it out and put in the oven (middle shelf) for about 15 min. Check if ready with a wooden toothpick – if it comes out clean, you can take out the sponge. After removing from the oven, leave it to cool till room temperature.
- Prepare the cream. You can do it the same day or next moorning (as I did) depending on when you plan to assemble the cake. Put your 500g of Mascarpone in the bowl and add the powdered sugar (the original recipe suggested brown sugar but I tend to prefer powdered sugar) and whisk slightly till you get a homogenous mixture and light fluffiness. Mix in Limoncello (you can use other type of liqueur; the original recipe suggested cherry liqueur but I wasn’t about to buy a whole bottle for 20 ml). Then, while whisking with your mixer, slowly add the double cream (I did it gradually). Finally, whisk a while longer till you get a cream that can be piped onto a cake.
- Put the cake together. When the sponge has cooled down (this is important, it might fall apart if you try moving it hot, not to mention that the cream would melt if you tried to start piping before that), use another parchment sheet to turn it upside down. Slowly peel off the original parchment paper from the back of the sponge. Now, cut off the edges and cut the sponge in 3 same sized pieces (the original recipe said 4, but I think that 3 is the optimal number). You might want to use some measuring instrument to get it right cause they need to fit one on top of each other quite nicely.
- Drain the cherries from the cherry compote. In case of using fresh berries, clean them and dry them off afterwards.
- Choose the bottom piece and pipe the cream. Make swirls or roses along the edges to make it look nice, but pipe slightly less cream in the middle. Put the cherries in one layer in the middle. Pipe some more cream in the empty spaces if needed. Put on the second piece of sponge and repeat everything exactly as with the bottom piece. Add the final piece of sponge and decorate the top with cream swirls or roses. I also incorporated few cherries and fresh basil leaves (it grows on my windowsill so why not). You can also use nuts or something else to create your own design (let loose the creativity).
- Put it in the fridge for 3-4 hours. And congrats, it’s ready!