This is my husbands favorite cake from our ‘go-to’ bakery in North Beach area of San Franciso, Stella Pastries and Cafe on Columbus. I had to try this for his Birthday Cake, and it turned out delizioso!
Stand mixer with a paddle attachment, and whisk attachment
Large metal bowl
Medium or large saucepan for a double boiler (that the metal bowl that can sit in without touching the water)
Silicone spatula, wooden spoon
Rolling pin or mallet for crushing cookies
One 8-inch springform pan and one 10-inch springform pan (trimmed to fit after baking)
8-inch cake ring
Piping bag and large open star tip
Cake Comb (optional)
1 recipe Genoese cake
1 recipe Zabaglione
1 recipe simple syrup
1 recipe Cream frosting
1 cup amaretti cookie crumbs
—Meringue (garnish/decoration), Ingredients:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
large pinch of cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp amaretto
1 tsp white vinegar
—Genoese Cake, Ingredients:
7 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
13 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
—Zabaglione Filling, Ingredients:
8 large egg yolks
1/3 cup cream sherry
1/2 cup sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 sheet gelatin (9 by 2 1/2 inches) or 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to medium-soft peaks
—Simple Syrup, Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cream sherry
1/4 cup water
—Fresh Cream Frosting, Ingredients:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brandy
—For the meringues:
Preheat the oven to 225° degrees Fahrenheit.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone baking sheet.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites with the whisk attachment until just barely frothy.
Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Lower the speed and gradually beat in the sugar.
Add the amaretto and vinegar and then turn up to medium speed and whip until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 8 minutes longer.
Fill a large piping bag with an open star tip and pipe 2.5 inch flourishes of your choice on a parchment-lined (or silicone sheet lined) baking sheet.
Place on the lowest rack in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, until only very slightly darker and dry.
Open the oven door, turn off the oven and use a large wooden spoon or spatula to prop the door open slightly, and let meringues cool in the oven. Do not remove until completely room temperature to try and avoid cracking.
Cool on wire racks. Store in a tightly closed plastic container at room temperature.
—For the Genoese Butter Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees°.
Butter and flour two 8-inch springform pans, line with parchment.
In a large metal bowl (preferably a Stand Mixer metal bowl), beat the eggs, yolks, and sugar with a paddle attachment (or hand mixer if not in a stand mixer) on high speed until tripled in volume, about 7 minutes.
Place the bowl over a saucepan of water, bring the water to a simmer, and whisk until eggs are warmed. Remove from the heat.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold into the egg mixture. Separate one-eighth of the batter into a small bowl and whisk the melted butter into it. Slowly re-incorporate this batter/butter mixture back into the rest of the batter, gently fold to avoid deflating the air in the batter.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pans, fill the 8″ pan 2/3 full, and the rest of the batter into the 10″. (8″ cake will be cut in half, 10″ will not.)
Bake for about 30 minutes on the same rack in the middle of the over, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centers come out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool completely on a wire rack. (The cakes can be made a day ahead if tightly wrapped in plastic.)
—For the Zabaglione Filling:
Make a water bath by filling a large saucepan half-full with water. (but still fits the metal bowl without touching the water)
Combine the yolks, cream sherry, sugar, and orange zest in a large bowl.
Place the bowl over the water and, while whisking the eggs vigorously with a handheld whisk, bring the water to a simmer over medium-low heat.
Continue whisking for about 5 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and is light and fluffy.
Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool. (Leave the water bath over low heat.)
Place the gelatin sheet, in cold water to soften. When soft, squeeze out the excess water, then whisk into the egg mixture. (Or, for powdered gelatin, put 2 tablespoons cold water in a small dish and sprinkle the gelatin over the water.)
Let stand for 1 minute to soften, then remove the sheet from the water and squeeze out excess water and whisk into the egg mixture. (or just add the bloomed powdered gelatin)
Return the bowl of egg mixture to the simmering water bath and whisk constantly over medium-low heat until the gelatin is fully dissolved for about 2 minutes.
Be careful not to overcook the eggs, as they may curdle, but make sure when whisking to bring all of the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl.
Refrigerate until cold, whisking occasionally so it doesn’t solidify.
Whip the cream to medium (not stiff) peaks, then gently fold in the whipped cream to the egg yolk mixture to create the Zabaglione.
—For the Cream Frosting:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream with the sugar, vanilla, and brandy to stiff peaks. Set aside in the refrigerator.
—For the Simple Syrup:
Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the water and the cream sherry. Set aside, but make this last to use when warm.
With a long sharp knife, trim off the very top of the cake rings. (about 1/8 inch on the top of both cakes, and trim the 10″ cake to 8″ using an 8″ cake ring).
Slice the 8″ cake into 2 equal rounds, and slice the top of the 10″ cake to make 3 equal layers.
With a very sharp knife, trim off the outer brown edges of each layer.
Place the top layer of cake on a flat serving plate.
Place the cake ring around the cake.
Dip a pastry brush into the simple syrup and brush it generously onto the cake layer to moisten it.
Spread about half of the zabaglione on top.
Add the next layer of cake, brush with the syrup, and top with the remaining syrup and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight, to set.
Remove the ring from the cake.
Frost the whole cake with the cream frosting, spreading it very evenly and smoothly. (Use a cake comb if you have one.)
Sprinkle the amaretti crumbs on top.
Press the meringues and amaretti cookies alternately into the sides of the cake, spacing them evenly. (meringues perpendicular up and down, not lengthwise)
Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to serve, or overnight.
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