Monday, June 03, 2013

Chocolate mascarpone almond cake

Peter has a birthday today. 
He is turning nine, yes, he is already a big boy. I am really so proud of him. 
Of course, I wanted to please him preparing a birthday cake he would like. In fact, this is the favorite birthday cake of our whole family - the chocolate mascarpone almond cake. 
One evening some months ago we were dreaming about the most perfect cake according to our tastes. So everyone of us suggested the kind of ingredients the cake should have. 
Mascarpone, said Violet. 
Chocolate, added I (predictably). 
Biscuits and heavy cream, wanted Peter. 
Almonds, proposed D. 
I put all these words into Google and, surprisingly, there really was a recipe including all of them (this is the source in Bulgarian). The same day we prepared the cake and this was it. This IS it. The cake which holds the taste of roasted almonds, chocolate and mascarpone.
Happy birthday, Peter! I hope, all your wishes will come true! Life is so sweet!

For the base 
  • 3 oz (100 g) biscuits petit beurre
  • 11 oz (300 g) blanched almonds
  • 6 oz (175 g) butter

For the mascarpone layer:
  • 18 oz (500 g) mascarpone
  • 1 cup (250 g) heavy cream 
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 packets vanilla powder
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the chocolate ganache:
  • 250 g heavy cream
  • 11 oz (300 g) bittersweet chocolate
Prepare the biscuit almond crust. 
Take butter out of the fridge, chop into small pieces and let soften at room temperature for about half an hour. 
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Put blanched almonds into a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes until they get light brown and the smell of roasted nuts fills your kitchen with its perfect aroma. Let cool for some minutes and process with a blender until all the almonds get very finely chopped (sand size). Do the same with the biscuits. Mix biscuits, almonds and soft butter with your fingers until all the butter blends with the dry ingredients and is distributed evenly into the soft mixture. Cover the bottom and the sides of 10- inch springform pan with baking paper (there will be some folds but this will not affect the final appearance of the cake). Press the sticky mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pan (do not press too strong because this will make the crust hard to cut later). Refrigerate for an hour or two to let the crust set. 

Prepare the mascarpone layer.
Beat heavy cream in a bowl until thick and add sugar. Process until all the sugar is dissolved. Add mascarpone, vanilla and lemon zest and keep on mixing until uniform. Put into the fridge for an hour to set.

Prepare ganache. Chop chocolate into fine, ¼ inch pieces and place into a medium bowl. Heat heavy cream over medium heat. When it starts to simmer, remove from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate has melted, but be careful not to incorporate too much air into ganache. Whisk until smooth and let cool for 15 minutes. 

Arrange the cake.
Take almond biscuit crust out of the fridge and spread evenly the mascarpone cream mixture. spread with a spatula. Put into the fridge for half an hour (during this time you will prepare the ganache and it will cool slightly). Spread ganache evenly with a spatula until well distributed.
Chill cake overnight to let the ganache set and all the flavours blend.

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