Yikes. I know. I KNOW that it has been truly 700 years but here I am. Pretending it hasn’t been and showing up to discuss this freakin italian rainbow cookie cake that I made for my own birthday, as is tradition. How are we all? Surviving? Same. I feel like a shred of normalcy is almost on the horizon, and it’s really what’s getting me through. That and the fact that it’s routinely warm enough outside to take a stroll and see people set up with their blankets and their bikes in the park. How exciting!!
My birthday was a few weeks ago, and I know I took my sweet time writing this up. I don’t know about you guys, but finding the motivation to do any task outside of my normal workday is a CHORE these days. I was hoping I would be one of those people in quarantine who was super productive in all aspects of life, but the fact of the matter is that I am just not and that’s okay! Better late than never. Anywho, my birthday was a lovely day in which I got my first dose of the vaccine (Pfizer peeps what’s up!) and then wandered around some botanical gardens with some sammies and pastries with my sweet and wonderful sister. Inspired by the treats we bought on Arthur Avenue, I found this recipe by my favorite cake lady Molly Yeh, and the plan was set.
I think we can all agree that the most perfect cookie in the world is the rainbow cookie. The one that you specifically buy at a classic Italian bakery, almond cake sandwiched between layers of apricot and raspberry jam, and topped with a slick of chocolate ganache. The premise for this cake is so obvious, I’m honestly embarrassed that I never thought to do this sooner. My favorite cookie, but bigger! That’s all!
I won’t lie this took some time to make. I recommend splitting between 2 days; make the cakes and layer with jam on the first day, then frost on the second. The overnight chilling helps solidify the layers, making it way easier to assemble the next day. Also, I’ve never frosted a cake with whipped ganache before, but after learning how easy it was on this project, I’m going to be finding every excuse to do this again. It can be topped with cocoa powder, sprinkles, or any decorations that your heart desires, but the real treat is pulling out the first slice and seeing all those gorgeous layers stacked on top of each other. It’s worth every second I promise.
Anyway, enough chit chat, let’s get down to it! Time to bake!
Almond Cake Layers
6 eggs, separated
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar
1 1/3 cup almond paste, broken into pieces
2 cups salted butter, at room temperature
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp kosher salt
2 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp green food coloring
1 tsp red food coloring
2 Jams of your choice (I used apricot and blackberry)
Almond Cake Steps
Getting Ready. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your three 8-inch cake pans with butter or cooking spray, and add a circle of parchment paper on the bottom to prevent sticking. If you only have 2 pans, feel free to bake the cake in batches, you’ll just have to cover the batter that isn’t currently being used!
Whip the egg whites. In a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer, whip the 6 egg whites to soft peaks. Once soft peaks have been reached, add 6 tablespoons of sugar, one at a time, until all has been added and you have stiff peaks.
Almond Paste Mixture. In a different bowl (or in your stand mixer bowl with the egg whites transferred to a separate bowl), beat together the remaining cup of sugar, the almond paste, and softened butter. Add the 6 egg yolks, one at a time, scraping the bowl as necessary, then the lemon juice, almond extract, and salt. Add the flour and mix until combined.
Combine the batters. Gently fold the egg whites into the almond paste mixture using a rubber spatula until evenly combined. Separate the batter into 3 bowls, coloring one with red food coloring, one with green, and leaving the last as is.
Bake the cakes. Pour the batters into their prepared pans, and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are no longer shiny and the cakes are set (use a cake tester if you’d like). Allow to cool in their pans for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool completely before proceeding.
Layer Cake Assembly. Once the cakes are cool, slice each cake in half (carefully!) so that you have 6 rounds in total. Note: if cutting the cakes strikes fear in your heart, you don’t have to do this! You’ll just have three colorful, slightly thicker layers, and that’s okay too! Starting with the bottom layer, place on a cake stand or turntable, and top with 2 tablespoons of jam. Add the next layer of cake on top and repeat until all six layers are stacked, but don’t put jam on the very top! At this point, wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap and chill for a few hours at least, but preferably overnight.
Whipped Chocolate Ganache
12oz dark chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
Make the ganache. Add the chocolate chips to the bowl of a stand mixer. Heat the heavy cream until it’s just about to boil. Pour over the chocolate chips and let sit for a minute so that the chocolate melts. Stir until everything is combined, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Whip the ganache. After an hour, whip the ganache until it gets light and fluffy. Crumb coat your cake with a thin layer of this ganache and chill for 15 minutes, then finish frosting the cake. If you’re looking for a completely smooth finish, run your bench scraper or metal spatula in hot water before cleaning up the sides of the cake, the heat will melt the chocolate into a totally smooth surface. Add sprinkles or decorations and enjoy!!!
You’ve done it! Congrats! Xoxoxoxox D