This elegant creation is a festive statement in itself. Layers of vanilla cake are brushed with almond syrup, then stacked with buttercream and raspberry preserves. The entire cake is frosted with buttercream and wrapped with fondant. Use the finest preserves you can find. The commercial fondant is usually sold in craft stores; while the cake is lovely without its fondant wrapper, it is worth searching for the fondant. At Michabelle, Chef Nicosia drapes a long strip of extra fondant around her cake like a scarf, and centers the top with a gum paste magnolia blossom.
- Whole Eggs - 4
- Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon
- All-Purpose Flour - 1 cup, sifted
- Vanilla Extract - 1/2 teaspoon
- Almond Simple Syrup
- Granulated Sugar - 1/2 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Almond liqueur - 1/4 cup
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 3 cups
- Unsalted Butter - 1 pound, slightly softened
- Lemon Juice - 2 tablespoons
- Vanilla - 1 teaspoon
- Raspberry Preserves - 1-1/2 cups, strained
- Commercial Fondant - 1 block
To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease and flour the paper only. Cut a strip of parchment 26 inches long and tall enough to extend 2 inches above the top of the cake pan; butter the strip. Fit the strip into the cake pan like a collar. Beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl over simmering water until they are light and foamy. Remove from heat and gently fold in the flour and vanilla. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake until the top springs back when lightly touched, and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to release the cake. Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
To make the syrup: Bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling to blend. When the sugar has completely dissolved, swirl in the almond liqueur. Set aside to cool.
To make the buttercream: In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla.
To assemble the cake: Slice the cake horizontally into three layers. Place the first layer on a cake plate or cake board and brush off any crumbs. Brush the surface with almond syrup. Spread a thin layer of raspberry preserves over the cake, leaving about a half inch border. Cover to the edge of the cake with a layer of buttercream. Repeat for the second layer. Top with the third cake layer and brush away any crumbs. Brush with syrup, then coat the entire cake with buttercream.
Dust a large work surface with confectioner’s sugar. Roll the fondant out on the sugar until it is large enough to cover the entire cake. Roll the fondant up around the rolling pin, transfer it over the cake, and unroll over the cake. Smooth it over the cake, trimming any excess at the bottom. Use the remaining buttercream to decorate the cake as befits your occasion.