Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Flavours - Double Almond Cake

One of the best memories of living in the Netherlands as a little girl might just be coffee time.  On the day my parents were expecting company or on a special day like a birthday, one of them would hop on their bicycle and ride to the local bakery where they would pick up a variety of "gebakjes".  These small, individual pastries would range from Dutch Napoleons made with puff pastry, whipped and pastry creams, to fresh fruit pastries, to various slices of cake, including mocha, chocolate and whipped cream and fruit.  Soon, there would be hot, strong coffee, lots of loud and excited voices, happy feelings and the sweet tastes of the delicious Dutch pastries.

I live in Canada now, and now I make sophisticated cakes and desserts in the North American style.  The recipe for my next cake came from a Julia Child cooking show which aired in the mid-1990s.  A relatively unknown Martha Stewart was a guest and she demonstrated this cake.  I searched high and low for the recipes, and when I had them I put them all together.  Then I tasted the cake,... this taste I had experienced before - on one of those long ago mornings with my parents and brothers and cousins.  This was on the menu at those Dutch pastry shops!  Happy, happy memories and awesome taste!

This one starts with three layers of Dense Almond Cake.  Each layer is brushed with Apricot Preserves and topped with an Almond Dacquoise, which is essentially an almond meringue.  The dacquoise is topped with and the entire cake is frosted in a Rum-flavoured Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  The result has a slight boozy taste, there is a bit of crunch from the dacquoise and a hint of sweet from the apricot.  The cake is moist and delicious and this will be my birthday cake from this point forward.  I'll brew some strong coffee and add the love of my family and friends and it will take me back in time!

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