Guys Love Cooking Weekend Recipe: Alessandra Cake
Nothing warms up the chilly days of late autumn like a delicious cake. In this week's Guys Love Cooking recipe, the guys bring us one inspired by top pastry chef, Ernst Friedrich Knam, who named the dessert after his wife. It is so typical, the cold weather arrives and your heating stops working. I am sure many of you are reading this from the comfort warmth of your living room, some others can sympathize with us.
Only a few days ago, as the temperature dropped, we found ourselves shivering in our own apartment. Finding a plumber readily available these days requires either a lot of luck, or a handyman friend. We had neither, and had to wait for a few days before the issue was sorted. In our place we have an open plan kitchen and living area, that means we can generate heat by doing what we like the most: Cooking! And that was exactly what we did. We needed something that we could do using the oven of course, and that at the same time would cheer us up. Not difficult I suppose: a cake! I simply loved this recipe. I must admit, this is not the fastest cake you could ever bake, but trust me you will enjoy this one thoroughly. Alessandra cake is a creamy almond cherry cake full of flavours and so tasty. It is an invention of one of my favourite patissiers, Ernst Friedrich Knam. Ernst named this cake after his wife, Alessandra.
Prep Time: 25 minutes Cook Time: 55 minutes Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes Yield: 6-8 servings
Butter: 100 g (3.53 oz) Sugar: 100 g (3.53 oz) Egg: 1 small Salt: a pinch (1.5 g) Vanilla stick: 1/2 Baking powder: 7 g (2 tsp) Flour: 200 g (1 1/2 cup)
Cream #1 ("volcanic" custard):
Milk: 250 ml (1 cup) Vanilla stick: 1/2 Egg yolk: 60 g (2.1 oz) Sugar: 40 g (1.5 oz) Corn starch: 15 g (0.5 oz) Rice flour: 5 g (1 3/4 tsp)
Cream #2 (frangipane):
Butter: 50 g (1.76 oz) Sugar: 50 g (1.76 oz) Egg: 45 g (1.6 oz) Flour: 15 g (0.5 oz) Almond flour: 50 g (1.76 oz)
Cherry (canned): 150 g (5.3 oz) Almond: 50 g (1.76 oz)
For the crust:
Cream the butter with the sugar and vanilla. Add the eggs, then the flour, baking powder and salt. Mix all the ingredients and let the dough rest for 30 minutes.
For the "volcanic" custard:
Pour the milk into a saucepan, and cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Warm them up on the stove. Mix the whole yolks with sugar and stir in the sifted flour. When the milk boils, remove the vanilla bean and add the mixture of flour and eggs, without mixing. Only after "the volcano effect", turn off the heat and stir in the cream.
For the frangipane:
Whisk the butter and sugar until the mixture is white and fluffy. Combine flush beaten eggs, mix well and then add the flour with the help of the spatula.
Let's make the cake:
Roll out the pastry to 3 mm (0.12 inch) thickness in a 20 cm (7.8 inch) buttered and floured pan. Fill the pastry with the frangipane, up to half of the cake pan. Coarsely chop the cherries, and place them on the cake with a spoon to form an even layer. Mix the rest of the frangipane with custard, pour on top and complete the cake. Garnish with crushed almonds. Bake at 175 C (350 F) for about 35 minutes. Allow to cool and serve