There is a bit of a story behind this cake. I have been wanting to make something like this for a while, pretty much since I first tried the ‘Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake’ from Flour & Stone. While the ingredients are simple, the end result is definitely the best cake you can buy in Sydney. My version, while highly inspired by the cake at Flour & Stone, ends up being a bit different, but equally as delicious.
It also ends up being gluten free as I opted to use a almond based cake for this recipe. I didn’t choose the almond cake deliberately for its gluten free qualities, I just wanted something that in some way resembled the cake at Flour & Stone, which is denser than a traditional sponge cake, yet still very light and fluffy.
The cake recipe has been adapted from ‘Gran’s almond cake’ in Sophie Hansen’s book ‘Local is Lovely’. This book never ceases to provide culinary inspiration and great recipes.
The filling for this cake, while still being influenced by the ‘Old Fashioned Vanilla Cake’ which has a mascarpone element to its filling, is also inspired by my desire to use some of Pepe Saya’s great products. I visited the Pyrmont Grower’s Market earlier this month and came home with Pepe Saya’s mascarpone and buttermilk. I bought the mascarpone knowing I wanted to try make this cake, and I felt that such good quality products could only be used in something as special as a cake. The buttermilk was used to make a double batch of these muffins, which we are still eating as they freeze so well, and a double batch of these pancakes. The pancakes worked so well with the Pepe Saya buttermilk, I’m not sure I want to make them again unless I have it!
The recipe for the filling ended up being an amalgamation of this recipe from Delia Online and this recipe from Fool Proof Living. The second recipe has some good tips about whipping mascarpone, as apparently if the mascarpone and cream you are whipping are different temperatures the mascarpone will split. Most places I looked advised using both products at room temperature, however I used both chilled from the fridge and it worked well.
As a little side note, I did add some toasted coconut chips to the layers of the cake, mostly because I had some leftover from breakfast that morning. I didn't add it to the recipe as I didn't think it significantly added anything to the cake as a whole, however they are visible in some of the photos of the cake.
290g almond meal
315g golden caster sugar
6 eggs, separated
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp baking powder
Ingredients for the Mascarpone & Raspberry Cream
150ml thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
35g icing (confectioners) sugar, plus extra for dusting
250g fresh raspberries
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius, and grease and line the base of two 18 cm round loose bottomed cake tins (spring form cake tins will work well too).
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar until they are pale and creamy. Add the vanilla bean paste and beat to combine.
Sift in the almond meal and baking powder, and gently mix to combine.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the egg whites into the almond meal mixture, a quarter at a time.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two prepared cake tins. Turn the oven temperature down to 180 degrees Celsius. Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean.
Once cooked, cool the cakes in their tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely (leaving the baking paper lining on the cakes as they may stick to the racks).
Once the cakes have cooled completely, make the mascarpone and raspberry cream.
Place the mascarpone in a medium bowl and whip until it has thickened and soft peaks form. Gradually add the cream, extract and sifted icing sugar a third at a time, and continue to whip until all ingredients have combined and the cream has thickened and stiff peaks form.
Leave a quarter of the raspberries aside for decoration, and squash the remainder with a fork. Gently fold the squashed raspberries into the mascarpone cream.
Remove the baking paper from the cakes and cut each of the cakes in half (horizontally). Place the base of one cake on a serving plate or cake stand and cover with a third of the mascarpone cream. Top with the top half of the cake, then another third of the cream, then top with the base of the second cake, the remaining cream and finish with the remaining cake half.
Decorate with the remaining raspberries and dust with icing sugar.
This cake is best served on the day it is assembled, but will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Reference: ‘Local is Lovely’ by Sophie Hansen (Hachette Australia, 2014), p.233.