During a hair appointment Sydney and I were discussing recipes and flavors. I really wanted to lighten up a pound cake I had designed for DF; he eats a piece for breakfast every morning. To be perfectly honest I am bored with baking the same cake every week, and thought it would be great fun to play around with a family classic.
The major problem was my husband hates to change his favorite foods, so the cake needed to resemble the original one, DF was unaware of our little operation. His breakfast cake is important to him (sometimes it feels like I am raising two children). From the moment we arrived back in our kitchen the DF cake project started, I knew using toasted almond and mascarpone cheese would be a good start. Sydney had been using Amaretto Di Saronona (on a different recipe) and I accidentally used it instead of vanilla; after I realized the error I just kept going and added the vanilla extract too!
I have mentioned previously DF becomes a tad, understatement and solicitous; therefore Sydney and I agreed not to tell him. Neither of us wanted to reassure him that his cake would be fine, also if he decides the new cake isn't as good as the traditional cake, he will never admit it tastes just as good (or perhaps better tasting). It was not an easy task, he loves joining us in the kitchen to taste the pastries we are working on. We now had a baking “sting” and only time would tell if Sydney and I could pull it off.
Almond-Ginger Mascarpone Sponge Cake:
161 grams, 1½-cup cake flour, sifted
26 grams/ 1/4-cup almond flour
½ teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
113 grams, ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
300 grams, 1½ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon candied ginger or grated fresh ginger (optional), chopped bite size
115 grams, ½ cup double cream
116 grams, ½–cup mascarpone cheese
99 grams/3 large eggs whites
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon Amaretto Di Saronona
14 grams/ 1-Tablespoon melted butter, clarified
4 Tablespoons Domaine de Canton (ginger liqueur)
120 grams, 1-cup powder sugar
2½ Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean, seeds only, save the skins in an airtight bag for later use
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 163 degreesC/350 degreesF
Prepare mise en place. Butter and flour a loaf pan. Sift together, 3 times, cake flour, almond flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In an electric mixer with fitted paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until blended, about 4 minutes, add the lemon zest continue to beat until creamy, smooth, and incorporated .
Add the cream and mascarpone, and continue to beat on medium speed.
In a medium size measuring jug add egg whites,vanilla, and amaretto whisk till combined and foamy.
On low speed add dry ingredients, alternating with the egg mixture. Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, till the batter is homogenized.
Fold the ginger into the batter.
In a small heavy bottom pan heat the 28gram/1- Tablespoon of butter.
Pour the batter into prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top, gently tap the pan against the counter top, (to remove air bubbles). Pour a line with melted butter in the center of the raw cake. Bake for about 65 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and cool on the rack. Meanwhile bring oven temperature down to 300 degrees or 150°
Prepare Ginger-Lemon Glaze:
Place sugar in a bowl; add Domaine de Canton, lemon juice, vanilla seed, and vanilla extract. Whisk the ingredients together. Pour the glaze on the cooled pound cake and put in the oven on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in the 300 degrees oven for 2 minutes to allow glaze to set.
Operation Almond Sponge was a huge success, DF, I quote, said “I can't put my finger on it,
but the cake's flavor is over the top! Did you add something?”
Sydney and I just smiled!