Here's my entry for the latest Heavenly Cake Bakers selection... an Almond Shamah Chiffon Cake, filled and frosted with raspberry whipped cream.
This cake has a lot of steps, but it's simple when you break it down.
Here we go...
Start by toasting and grinding some blanched almonds. I didn't have any blanched almonds in the house, so I blanched my own by boiling skin-on almonds in water for about a minute...
...then plunged them into ice water to stop the cooking process. At this point it's really easy to remove the skins by giving the almonds a gentle squeeze.
Now we toast the almonds in a 350F oven for about 7 minutes.
When the almonds are cool, grind them in a food processor with a bit of flour, which keeps them from getting oily.
Add the remaining flour and baking powder, process for a few seconds; set aside.
Now we whip the egg yolks and 1/2 the sugar for 5 minutes....
...until they look like this. Add the oil, water, and the two extracts; mix. Sprinkle the reserved ground nut/flour mixture on top if the yolk mixture; set aside.
Now we make the meringue. Beat egg whites on med speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar and whip until soft peaks form.
Soft peaks achieved. Time to slowly beat in the remaining sugar until the whites are glossy and they form "stiff peaks with slight curves".
Now we make the batter by folding the meringue into the reserved egg yolk/ground nut mixture.
Pour batter into 2 prepared 9" pans and bake until the cake tests done in the center and the sides start shrinking away from the pan. The pans were sprayed with Baker's Joy and lined with parchment rounds. No insulated baking strips were needed for this cake.
The structure of this particular cake recipe requires that you immediately turn them out of the pan and invert them to the right-side-up position. This is easy to do if you have extra cooling racks. Once the cake is right-side-up, remove the top cooling rack and cool completely.
Now we make the yummy soaking syrup. Boil water and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved; remove from the heat.
Cool syrup completely and add Amaretto. You should have one cup of Amaretto syrup. We're going to add 1/4 cup of syrup to each side of both cake layers. Most people would use a pastry brush to do this, but...
I saw a pastry chef on TV syrup a cake using a spray bottle once, so I bought one to try today. I'm happy to report that I loved using it. I was able to spray the syrup on very evenly, and completely avoided all the extra crumbs that dragging a pastry brush across the cake would have created.
If you'd like to give this trick a try, be sure to wash the spray bottle out with hot soapy water and rinse well before using. Set the nozzle somewhere in the middle between "spray" and "stream". Use long, even squirts. I found it helpful to tilt the cake a bit when doing this.
Are you still with me? We're almost done.
Time to make the Raspberry Whipped Cream.
My seedless raspberry jam was a not-so-appetizing shade of beige-ish pink, so I added a few drops of red food coloring to brighten it up.
Ah yes, MUCH better.
I piped a border and dotted it with wild raspberries I had stashed away in the freezer.
Would you care to stay for a spot of tea?
I found this cake required a lot of "flipping" of the layers, done with the help of a lot of extra cardboard cake rounds. Since the layers were wet and sticky, I covered my non-water and grease proof cardboard rounds with a protective layer of Press'n Seal.
Once I was done assembling the cake, I was able to peel the press'n seal off, revealing pristine cardboard rounds that can be used again.
Place the Press'n Seal, sticky side up, on the counter. Place upside down cardboard round in place and wrap/press the extra onto the brown backside of the cardboard. Now your round is completely water and greese proof. The press'n seal is easily removed when you're done with it.