9.16.2010

Italian Love Cake

Why is it an Italian Love Cake? Something about musky rosemary, itself a symbol of love, combined with the dark sweetness of italian forest honey and crowned with a seemingly innocent cover of vanilla bean buttercream make this a decidedly romantic, but not sticky bite. This is not a trashy love affair. It's a satisfying kiss.

Italian Love Cake

Yield: one 9 inch layer cake (three cakes and filling…or 2 larger layers and filling)

INGREDIENTS

For the filling:
1 oz. All-purpose flour
1/2 cup Milk
4 oz. unsalted butter
1 tsp Vanilla extract
¼ cup Marscapone cheese
3/4 cup superfine sugar
2 tbsp dark Italian forest honey or chestnut honey
2 tsp dark rum

Whipped cream:
2 cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup superfine granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract.

For the cake:
1 ¾ cups All-purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 eggs separated
2 cups superfine granulated sugar, divided
8 oz unsalted butter
2 sprigs rosemary

METHOD:

1. To make the filling, quickly whisk together 4 tbsps of the milk with the flour. The slurry will be somewhat thick, so whisk thoroughly to make it smooth. Press out any lumps with a flexible spatula if necessary.
2. Whisk in the rest of the milk and transfer to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium hear, whisking constantly. Once bubbles that burp steam form, remove the pot from the heat and continue to stir for another 30 seconds.
3. Cover the milk mixture with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface. Cool for 15 to 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile combine the ingredients for the whipped cream in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a wire whip attachment and whip on medium to high speed and soft peak. The whipped cream can be made in advance if you prefer.
5. At the same time, combine the butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on high for up to 5 mins.
6. Add the milk mixture and continue to beat on high speed until the filling is smooth, another 5 mins. Beat in the marscapone 1 tbsp at a time and add the honey and rum. Add the whipped cream 1 tbsp at a time until you reach a consistency you like. Some people like fluffier fillings…some people like them denser!
7. Preheat the oven to 335F and place the rack in the middle position. Line the bottoms of three 9 inch round pans with parchment.
8. Measure the flour, cornstarch, baking powder and salt into one bowl, and the milk and vanilla into a separate bowl. Whisk each to combine.
9. In the standing mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed to a stiff peak. Drizzle in 1 cup of sugar while the mixer is running. Scoop the meringue into a large bowl and set aside.
10. Lightly wipe the mixer bowl and replace the wire whip with the paddle attachment Cream the butter with the remaining 1 cup of sugar on low speed.
11. Add the egg yolks one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl all the way to the bottom using a flexible spatula and mix on low speed until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Tear off the rosemary leaves, rip and add to the batter.
12. Alternatively add the dry and wet ingredients about a quarter at a time without pausing between additions.
13. Stop the mixer and gently fold the meringue into the batter with a flexible spatula. Pour the mixture evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until the cake bounces back when lightly pressed and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
14. Cool the cakes for 2 minutes, then run an offset spatula around the edges and invert the cakes onto a flat surface. They will be very fragile so handle with care.
15. Once the cakes have cooled, assemble the cake filling between each layer.

Then ice with the recipe below.

Old-Fashioned Vanilla Bean Buttercream

INGREDIENTS

1 cup Milk
¼ cup all purpose flour
8 oz. Unsalted butter
1 cup superfine granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 ½ tsp vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean

METHOD

1. Quickly whisk together 4 tbsps of the milk with the flour. The slurry will be somewhat thick so whisk thoroughly to make it smooth. Press out any lumps with a flexible spatula, if necessary.
2. Whisk in the rest of the milk and transfer the mixture to a 2 quart heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a simmer for about 30 seconds over medium heat, whisking the whole time.
3. Remove the pan from the stove and place plastic wrap directly against the milk’s surface. (This is the best method to prevent a skin from forming). Cool to room temperature.
4. Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at a medium to high speed for 5 minutes. Scrape the contents of the vanilla bean into the mixture.
5. Pour the cooled milk-and-flour mixture into the bowl and beat for another 5 minutes, or longer, as needed to achieve a spreadable consistency.

Then ice the cake!! Decorate with sprigs of rosemary.

1 comment:

SiRen65 said...

This cake has now become the inspiration for a perfume by my friend Hilde Soliani, who is concocting for my wedding day!