Sunday, November 2, 2014

Roman Holiday Cream Cake

If you could see my liquor cabinet you would think having a cocktail or two is part of a daily routine. In reality, most of it is for the sake of baking. Recently I found myself in a outlet liquor store- that's right - outlet.  There were grocery carts at the front and it seemed like endless aisles of varieties to choose from.  I did not go to the cool case section with the beer, but I am sure it covered the all the beer brewers on the planet.

There are a lot of delicious recipes out that us booze as an ingredient but I was drawn to this recipe of a cake infused with almond liqueur. I have always enjoyed Italian cream cake and the addition of the almond liqueur proved to be a delicious benefit. Fluffy cake studded with chunks of pecans and coconut topped with a cream cheese amaretto icing.. it is quite a nice addition to afternoon tea as well as a sweet ending to a meal.

Besides the wonderful taste, this cake has such an elegant appearance it gives quite an impression. Now let's get down to baking!

Roman Holiday Cream Cake
adapted from Big Oven

1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup almond liqueur
5 eggs, separated
1 cup or 2 sticks butter (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened coconut
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
2 1/2 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 sticks or  3/4 cup butter (room temp)
12 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup amaretto
4-5 cups powdered sugar
Whole pecan halves ( for decoration, optional)

Prepare 3 nine inch round cake pans by buttering interior and lining the bottom with parchment.  Butter the face up side of the parchment.  Dust the whole interior of each with flour.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In another bowl cream together butter and 2 cups of the sugar.  Once mixture is fluffy, add 1 egg yolk and beat 30 seconds on medium high speed.  Continue to add each egg yolk and beat until all have been incorporated into the batter.

Pour egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Using a clean dry batter blade, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.  Then, while the mixer is still running, slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Continue to beat until you reach the stiff peak stage.  Then set bowl aside.

Using a small bowl, stir together both extracts, baking soda and buttermilk. Set this bowl aside also.

Divide out 1/3 of the sifted ingredients and fold into the creamed butter batter.  Stir in 1/4 cup of almond liqueur and 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture.  Then fold in 1/2 of the remaining sifted ingredients.  Add the remainder of the buttermilk and almond liqueur, stir and finish by folding in the last bit of sifted ingredients.

Add the egg whites to the batter and carefully fold in, using a spatula.  Lastly, stir in the coconut and pecans.

Pour the batter evenly into each of the round cake pans.  Place all three in the oven to bake for about 40 minutes or when tester indicates done.  Once done, remove from oven and let cakes rest in pan for about 10 minutes.  Invert cakes onto rack and let completely cool prior to frosting.

For the frosting, place butter, vanilla extract and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until smooth.  Sift 2 cups of powdered sugar into batter and mix until all is evenly distributed.  Then stir in the almond liqueur.  Add the remaining 2 cups of powdered sugar and beat again.  Should it be too thick, add some more almond liqueur.  Once the desired consistency is reached, fill and frost the cooled cake. Decorate as desired, placing the pecan halves around the top edge of the cake making a complete circle.  

Tips and Notes:
1. I had to mix up another 1/3 of the frosting recipe to finish covering the cake.  How much frosting
    you need is personal preference.
2. It states to store the cake in the fridge, but be sure that it is at room temperature when serving.
3. Measuring your batter and dividing by three will insure that each layer will be consistent in height.
                                 **LAST YEAR: Brandy Apple Cake**