It's that time of year again, the time when you buy unnecessarily large amounts of candy, watch terrible chick flicks, and eat dinner at a place you probably can't afford, and I must say I kinda love it. Even in my single years I was always a little excited about Valentines Day, I used to shamelessly hand out my cheesy homemade cards which were usually paired with a pastry of some sort. Now that I'm practically married, this day is even more fun! It gives us an excuse to do a something thoughtful for each other or to bake cakes! (Not that I needed an excuse for that.)
I know I've mentioned this before, but marzipan has to be one of my all time favorite baking ingredients. It amplifies fruit desserts like tarts and apples pies, it makes a great filling for breads, and it also can be baked into cakes! There's something so heavenly about that nutty almond scent coming from the oven that no other ingredient can compare. By separating the eggs and beating the whites, you're creating a light and fluffy textured cake with the slightest taste of almond and the light and creaminess of the whipped frosting, this cake is sure to please both you and your valentine this year.
Layered Italian Almond Cake for Two
Makes two 9 inch cake layers (or one heart cake)
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
8 oz almond paste
6 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract
pinch of salt
1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 c powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract + a few drops of red food coloring (I only had pink hence less than desired pepto bismol shade.
Original recipe from Molly Yeh
1. Preheat oven to 350ºf. Prepare two 8- or 9-inch or three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
2. Combine flour and baking powder in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Beat almond paste and egg yolks until well blended, mix in vanilla and almond extract, and set aside.
4. In a separate large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Beat in sugar one tablespoon at a time and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the whites into the yolk mixture and then gradually fold in the flour mixture. pour batter into prepared pans and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tooth pick comes out clean.
Let cool. I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to make the cake.
For the topping, whip up the whipping cream and add the almond extract and red food coloring.