Monday, 18 March 2013

Italian Layered Continental Cake

If you're Italian or if you've been brought up around Italians, this kind of cake should be very familiar to you. To be honest, I actually hated this cake growing up, but it was one I had to cross off the list and make for myself, well it was actually for my Nonna. It was really yummy, moist and light and had the perfect balance of flavours. It's sponge, crema di pasticceria, vermouth, frosting, almonds, chocolate and strawberries, LOADS of yummy flavours going on. There are three main components to this cake and I highly recommend making the Crema di Pasticceria first, this wasn't a quick cake by any means, but it was a labor of love, and the whole family enjoyed it! Happy Baking!






Crema di Pasticceria

1/3 cup cornflour
1/3 cup of custard powder
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or essence
300ml cream
1 egg yolk (beaten)
2 tbls of liquor (only if you like)

(150g of mixed dark/milk cooking chocolate for half the mixture to be chocolate flavoured)

1. Sift cornflour, custard powder, and caster sugar into a pot and stir to combine.


2. Gradually add milk and whisk until smooth and free from lumps.


3. Add vanilla bean and cream and continue whisking until combined.


4. Turn heat on. Whisk over a low heat until mixture begins to thicken and simmer.




5. Remove pot from heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the beaten egg yolk. Mix well.

6. Separate mixture evenly into two bowls.

7. Pour in melted chocolate into one of the bowls to make a chocolate version of the crema di pasticceria.


8. Cover bowls with cling film and refrigerate either over night or for several hours. Don't worry if mixture is slightly lumpy at this point.


9. Remove from fridge and place mixture into an electric mixing bowl and beat for a few minutes. This will remove any lumps from the cream and will make the mixture smooth and easy to pipe.




Chiffon Sponge Cake

1 ½ cups plain flour
½ cup corn flour
1 ½ cups caster sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable oil
7 eggs separated
¾ cup cold water
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon cream of tartar



1. Preheat oven to 165°C, and grease and line your cake tin/s with baking paper.

2. Sift flour, sugar and baking powder into a large mixing bowl and make a well.

3. Add oil, egg yolks, water and vanilla to the well, fold mixture until smooth. Set aside.

4. In an electric mixer beat egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff.

5. Gradually add egg white mixture, to the other ingredients, carefully folding in with a spatula. (It is crucial to fold rather than mix to ensure the air is left in the cake batter.)

6. Pour mixture into cake tin/s and bake until a skewer comes back clean or when cake springs back. 

Swiss Meringue Buttercream

250 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
120 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste / vanilla extract
2 egg whites


1. Add caster sugar and egg whites to a heatproof bowl over simmering water.
2. Whisk until sugar has dissolved into the egg and the mixture has been warmed to an approximate temperature of 60C or 140F.
3. Transfer mixture to electric mixing bowl and fit with the whisk attachment and beat for around 3-4 minutes. The mixture should be bright white in colour and quite stiff.
4. Ensure the bowl has cooled down enough before proceeding. Divide the butter into 8 small blocks and ensure mixer is on medium speed.
5. Gradually add the butter, one block at a time, ensure each block has been thoroughly mixed through before adding the next.
6. NOTE, mixture will begin to look curdled and that is completely normal by around block number 5 of butter.
7. Once all the butter has been included, add the vanilla (or desired flavouring) and leave to mix for 4-6 minutes. The buttercream will gradually go from curdled and chunky, to glossy and smooth, just keep mixing!
8. Once complete add desired colourings and flavour.
9. SMB is a great frosting to pipe with and smooth and I used it in between the layers of the cake for a subtle creamy flavour.
(Please note SMB is best served at room temperature and not refrigerated)

Assembly

Start by putting the first sponge down and generously brush or sprinkle the cake with vermouth. Layer with crema, then repeat with the rest of the cake and the crema. Then coat the cake in Swiss Meringue Buttercream and decorate as desired. As you can see I made some dark chocolate fans simply by sprinkling melted chocolate over some baking paper and leaving to set and I also used flaked almonds and strawberries to accentuate. 











21 comments:

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  2. Wow that cake looks Amazing ... Yummie xx

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  3. Gorgeous and delicious cake. Thanks for sharing tips.

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  4. Gorgeous and delicious cake. Thanks for sharing tips.

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  5. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  6. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  7. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  8. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  9. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  10. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  11. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  12. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  13. Thank you for sharing and continuing the Italian tradition xx

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. I made this cake for a family birthday and it turned out beautifully. It was my first attempt at all three components but your instructions were spot on! My only slip was with applying the icing as I didn't allow enough for the top as well as the side and with the custard filling I could have been more generous. Now I can't decide if I make cannoli or vanilla slice with the left over crema?!

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  17. Love the detail of your recipe - how long do you bake the cakes for? Approximately 20 or so mins? Thanks!

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  18. Thanks for the recipe, but just wanted to know what Vermouth did you use? There are sooo many.

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  19. I am making this tomorrow for my dads birthday and a bit nervous as we have our entire Italian family attending!
    a bit nervous especially with the icing and decorating. you've left out images and instructions for the decorations

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  20. Hi
    What size cake tin is this recipe for? It looks amazing!

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  21. Hi there. Just wondering, what size cake tin did you use? Is this recipe for one cake cut into 3 or did you put the mixture into more than one tin? Also, how long did you bake it for? Thanks!

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