Sunday, March 4, 2012

Almond Cake w/ Chocolate Buttercream

I made this cake for my nephew (well, really his newly minted parents) to welcome him into the world back in December. Because there was such a flurry of activity surrounding both his birth and the holidays, I never got around to posting this until now. This cake is my golden standard and I love the icing because it is an easier buttercream to master. This recipe is for a two-layer 6" cake, which is actually ideal when serving a smaller crowd and you don't want leftovers. All in all, I was pretty pleased with how this one turned out.

Almond Cake
taken from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Preheat oven 350º

In a medium bowl, lightly combine:
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine:
1 2/3 cups cake flour
1/3 cup almond flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sour cream

Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add one third of the egg mixture. Mix 20 seconds. Repeat twice more.
Pour the batter into two 6" cake pans that have been greased and floured. This cake generally doesn't stick, but to be safe you can also cut out parchment paper and place it in the bottom of the pan.

Bake 35 minutes or until the edges have started to pull away from the pan and the top is golden brown. Let cake cool 5 minutes in pan before removing and placing on wire rack. Let cool completely before icing.

While the cake is cooling, prepare icing.

Chocolate Buttercream
adapted from Professional Baking by Wayne Gisslen

In an electric mixing bowl, add:
3 ounces egg yolks (4-5 egg yolks)
Beat on high until the yolks are light yellow in color and thick.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine:
8 ounces sugar (~1 cup)
2 ounces water (~1/4 cup)

Bring to to a boil, constantly whisking so that sugar does not burn. Have a candy thermometer close at hand to measure temperature. Once the temperature reaches 240º remove from the heat and pour into a glass Pyrex measuring cup. Very slowly pour the syrup into the egg yolks (I generally have a stream going down the side of the bowl to avoid hitting the whisk attachment). Continue to beat until all the syrup is added and the mixture is completely cool.

A little at a time, beat in:
10 ounces unsalted butter (~1 1/4 cups)
Be careful not to add the butter to quickly, otherwise the mixture won't absorb it.

3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Finally, in a separate medium bowl melt:
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
Let cool a bit before adding 1/4 of the prepared buttercream to the melted chocolate and thoroughly blend together. Add the remaining buttercream.

I had extra buttercream, which I froze and used on a birthday cake a couple of weeks ago. To defrost, just remove from the fridge a couple of hours before you want to use it.

Eat up!

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