My dad's birthday was last month, and I used that as an excuse to bake a non kid-friendly cake. When I saw the recipe months ago I knew I was going to make this for my dad's birthday. It has an almond cake base topped with an espresso-flavored mascarpone cream. It had to be great. And it was. I made this late in the morning for the same afternoon, and although it should be chilled longer, it was still good. And pretty:
It's also fairly easy to make, altough it does leave your kitchen looking like a mess. Oh well. I wish I had taken more pictures, but my dear husband called when I was just cracking the first egg. He had an appointment to have one of the company cars looked at (for German readers: TÜV. You don't mess with them :)) and of course forgot to take the papers with him. So off I went, starting my cake sometime later that morning, and in a hurry to get it done and into the fridge by noon before cleaning up the kitchen mess and running out the door to pick up the kids. So no time to take pics. Just some of the finished cake, not very good ones I admit since you can hardly try to get a really great cake shot while you keep the one having his birthday waiting...
Anyway, the recipe is based on this one from German magazine Essen & Trinken, they call it an Almond Mascarpone Torte. I'd rather call it an Almond Espresso Cake since the espresso flavor is obviously much stronger than mascarpone. The use a funny technique, cutting parts of the almond cake base off, cubing it and adding it in pieces with the toppingto the cake. Hmmmm.... I guess you could also do this as a layer cake, although you might want to make slightly more of the topping then. But it might be prettier.
Also, the recipe used sheet gelatin (most common form of gelatin in Germany), but I did some research and according to this article on Epicurious, four sheets of leaf gelatin equal one package of powdered gelatin. I also made some modifications to the recipe along the way, such as transferring the almond base to a cake platter when cooled and taking it from there.
Almond Espresso Cake
1 vanilla bean
50 g sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
200 g ground almonds
100 g confectioners sugar (sifted)
Mascarpone Espresso Topping
3 sheets gelatin (white)
5 egg yolks
100 g sugar
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
200 g mascarpone
150 ml espresso
2 El Amaretto (almond liquor)
3 egg whites
50 g slivered almonds (I actually left those out)
100 g dark chocolate
1. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in the fridge. Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Add vanilla with sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and egg yolks to a mixer bowl and beat for at least five minutes or until very fluffy. Add almonds and mix briefly. Beat eggwhites with a bit of salt until stiff. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until you get a thick, white and shiny meringue.
2. Fold one third of the meringue under the egg yolks, then add the rest. Cover the base of a 28cm springform pan with baking parchment, add the egg mixture and bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes (mine took only about 30).
3. For the mascarpone topping soften the gelatin in cold water. Mix the egg yolks with 40g sugar and instant espresso in a standing mixer for at least five minutes or until fluffy and pale. Add mascarpone. Heat two table spoons espresso and one tablespoon Amaretto, do not cook. Add the gelatin and dissolve. Add three tablespoons of the egg mixture to the espresso gelatin mixture, stirring, then add the gelatin mixture to the rest of the egg mixture. Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff, slowly adding the remaining sugar. Add one third to the egg mixture, then carefully fold in the rest.
4. Remove the springform pan, peel off the parchment paper and place the almond cake on a cake platter. Cut one third off and cut into large cubes. Mix the remaining espresso with 1 tablespoon Amaretto, drizzle half of the mixture over the almond cake. Spread five tablespoons of espresso topping on the base, then add the cubed almond cake. Drizzle with remaining espresso. Add remaining topping and smooth. Chill at least four ours or overnight. Shave chocolate on top and serve.