This weekend has been a Pastry Queen kind of week-end. And by Pastry Queen I mean the one and only Rebecca Rather of Rather Sweet Bakery and author of The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes from Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery. I love her cookbooks, they are beautifully written with gorgeous photos and easy to follow directions. I have never gone wrong with anything that I have baked or cooked from them. . I have wanted to make this cake for a long time and it's just been one of those recipes on the back burner. You know what I mean. You intend to make it and then you get sidetracked with 10,000 other things but it's still there in the back of your mind. Well this weekend's weather has been so beautiful, just perfect for baking,sunny and cool with that crisp smell of autumn in the air. Bake me..I could hear the cake whispering...I'm that lucsious looking sugar almond covered whipped cream frosting ,Dulce de Leche drenched vision of scrumptiousness. Bake me...pull that cookbook off the shelf and bake me....I gave into the siren song and made the most incredible cake I have ever baked. I am a chocolate fiend and nothing tops it as far as I am concerned but after making this cake ,sorry cacao, this cake just knocked you off your pedestal and has won a place in my heart and in my baking repertoire.
I haven't even tasted it yet-it's the guest at a party on Sunday so I can't even cut into yet ! But tasting everything that went into it as I baked, all I can say is it's freaking incredibly delicious. From the practically flourless cake batter-seriously -14 eggs-and 4 cups of blanched almonds, do I need to say more ?
Then the soaking liquid-homemade Dulce de Leche-made from organic condensed milk (Rebecca provides the instructions for making your own on Pg 94), evaporated milk,condensed milk ,cream of coconut, whipping cream and vanilla ,all whisked together in concoction that should be bottled ! It's hard to describe the subtle coconut undertones with the caramel snap from the dulce de lece and the creamy sweetness from the milk and whipping cream. I'm going to make another batch of this soaking sauce- I have an idea for a riff on cupcakes with it. As I layered the cake and brushed on the soaking liquid I couldn't help but keep running my finger along the edge of the plate-right where that sweet caramel flavored sauce was dripping and begging to be licked.
And don't even talk about the whipped cream icing. Cover or fill any pastry with whipped cream and I'll follow you anywhere ! Don't let this recipe overwhelm you. Yes it has several steps and take some preparation but it flows together very nicely.
If you are making your own Dulce de Leche-do that even before you start the cake-it will need some time to cool down. While the cake is baking you can put together the soaking liquid. Then slice the cake into the 4 sections Rebecca's recipe calls for. Once the slicing is done, then make the whipped cream frosting. And definitely use a cold mixing bowl when whipping the cream-just pop your bowl and whisk into the freezer for about 5 minutes-it helps the whipped cream set up so much quicker and smoother. After you soak your first layer and while waiting for the cake to suck in all the lip smacking sauce, you can start preparing your sugared almonds.
I'm dying to cut into this cake. The cake itself is very light with a beautiful crumb and smells and tastes of fresh almonds. It's in the refrigerator now , still whispering to me, come and taste me, I'm a delicious almond cake soaked in a Dulce de Leche sauce,covered in whipped cream and finished off with sugared almonds- I promise you moments of scrumptious ecstasy..come and taste me...
I don't know if I can resist it's temptation thru the night.
You can find the recipe and instructions here at Google Books. I've had the Pastry Queen Cookbook in my library for some time now and it's definitely one I recommend you add to yours ! You can buy it here.
Check back tomorrow for follow up photos and tastings after the party !