There is little else I would rather do on a luxurious day off than bake a cake to match the occasion. I find no better source for decadent but savory cakes than in my Italian Baker cookbook. They are challenging, but worth the effort. Not too sweet and full of good fats. This cake has no oil at all, all the fat is egg yolk in the sponge, and then of course in the heavy whipping cream frosting. I brought this to our Midcity dinner club last night to compliment a rosemary and peach roast pork dish.
Torta al Limone, Lamponi e Rosmarino
Adapted from the Italian Baker
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup water
125 g rosemary sprigs
¾ cup (160 g exactly) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 ¼ cup (160 g exactly) flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of one lemon (finely grated)—I used Penzey’s lemon powder with a touch of real zest
12 oz rasperries
1 tsp cornstarch
2 TB fresh lemon juice
60 g caster sugar (about 1/3 cup)
1 cup heavy cream
9 oz mascarpone cheese
¾ cup confectioners sugar
Make the syrup first. Put sugar and water in a pan and heat to a simmer for 15-20 minutes until a little syrupy. Add the rosemary (and it’s going to seem like a ton. I actually only used one ounce because I didn’t have enough on my little rosemary bush and I didn’t want to leave it denuded. I think 40 grams was plenty to confer the proper flavor). Cover and remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, then move to chill in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease two 8-inch pans (I did three because I like my cakes a little taller.) Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla together and whisk in a kitchenaid until at least doubled in volume, like 6 minutes. Then blend the dry ingredients and fold in by hand after sifting over the egg fluff. Divide the batter into two tins. (I just made one more ½ batch of the sponge and filled a third tin.) Bake for 25-30 minutes—cakes should be springy to touch. Pull them out too soon and they will collapse. Let cool completely on a rack. Go out and thank your chickens for their dozen eggs that made this sponge.
Combine all the filling ingredients in a small pan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly. After the fruit has softened, put the stuff through a strainer and press until all the juice is returned to a new saucepan (without those nasty seeds). Stir constantly over the medium heat while the juice thickens, then let cool completely.
I know, there are so many parts to this. You can lay down for a second. Izzy did.
Now whip the cream until medium-stiff. Set aside. Put the sugar and mascarpone in a stand mixer and whip together for 3 minutes with a paddle mixer. Then add the whipped cream and mix on high with a whisk for 3 minutes.
Finally, level the cakes. Brush rosemary syrup over each cake and let soak in. Pipe a ring of frosting around the middle layer to create a ridge and fill with spoonfuls of the raspberry fill. Repeat with a second layer if you are doing a triple layer cake. Then frost and top with little pretty raspberries and rosemary and sifted confectioner’s sugar. Do a couple of ballerina moves, plie, arabesque, pirouette, splits! Because that is what you have done dessert-wise.
Seriously one of the most beautiful cakes I’ve ever made. Just gorgeous.