raspberry almond petit-four cake

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Aiiiiiiiieeeeee! I'm so happy with today's cake I could do a little dance. But I won't.

Early in this blog (actually, the first entry) I tried a Pistachio Petit Four Cake from Sky High, via Smitten Kitchen. It looked a treat but I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the taste and texture, the pistachio just didn't shine through for me and it was a touch on the dry side. But I loved the use of marzipan between each layer and have been meaning to try a flavour variation of it, as well as changing up the cake recipe (I don't quite understand the use of milk in the original, and there sure are a lot of eggs in it!) to get closer to a texture that I'm happy with. 

I wanted to accentuate the almond flavour from the marzipan so used ground almonds and almond extract as the main flavour component. I also wanted to try the white chocolate ganache again as I liked the look of it before, though it turned out sort of blue. And the perfect match for white chocolate and almonds? OK, it's probably cherries but something about raspberries was calling to me. So I tried it, and I think I got it!

So here it is, the quite fussy and time consuming but one of my "favourite-so-far"s, White Chocolate, Almond & Raspberry, Pistachio-petit-four-inspired cake. I might shorten that name.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Lydia's Raspberry Almond petit-four Cake

225g (8 oz, 1 cup) butter
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
4 eggs
300g (2 cups) plain flour
100g (1 cup) ground almonds
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp almond extract or essence

50g (1.8oz, scant 1/4 cup, 3½ tbsp) butter, at room temperature
100g (generous 1 cup confectioner's) icing sugar
1 tbsp water
½ tsp vanilla extract

350g (12 oz) white chocolate
230ml (scant cup, 200g) heavy cream (I used Elmlea double light)

Bits and Bobs
1½ cups frozen raspberries - sorry, I don't know the grammage, about 3 good handfulls!
240g (8.4oz) marzipan
6 tbsp raspberry jam (or more if you like it thick)
Food colouring (optional, for the drizzle on top)
Icing sugar, edible sprinkles/sparkles/glitter, to dust (optional)

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk

Preheat the oven to 160°C (300-325°F, Gas mark 2-3), line or grease (with butter) and flour an 8 inch cake pan.
Mix together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and set to one side.
Break up the eggs lightly and set aside. It could even be the same side as the dry ingredients.
Beat together the butter and the sugar.
Add the eggs in two goes, alternating with the flour / almond mixture, and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
Finally add the almond essence, give one final mix, and transfer to your patiently waiting cake tin.
Bake for 1hr and 10-15 minutes. If your cake starts to burn, decrease the heat a little (about 10-20°C) and place on a lower shelf. Bake until golden brown, the middle is firm and springy (certainly not wobbly), and you can hear a fizzing sound. To be sure, you can stick a sharp knife / knitting needle / thermometer probe in the centre - if it comes out not covered in gloop then your cake is baked.
Leave to rest for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and leave to cool, upside-down. This will ensure that you have a nice, flat top.

Once cooled, cut into 3 equally thick slices. When you rebuild the cake, the top piece will be that which was the bottom of the cake when it was the oven, with the crust side facing up.

While the cake is baking you can make the buttercream and ganache.

For the buttercream, ensure your butter is soft - if not, cut unto small chunks and beat. Once softened, add the sugar and mix on slow, or with a fork or spoon, until incorporated, then beat on high speed until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and slowly add the water and vanilla extract. Beat until just incorporated. Set aside, but don't refrigerate.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Make the ganache by chopping the chocolate finely and placing in a bowl. Heat the cream until it's just simmering, and pour over the chocolate, leave to rest for a few minutes to melt the chocolate, then stir until it's smooth. If you still have lumps at this point, they're unlikely to melt as the temperature will have dropped too far by now, the easiest thing to do is to push your mixture through a sieve to remove the lumps. If you make the ganache while the cake is baking then leave it at room temperature to thicken up. If you make it while the cake is cooling, put the ganache in the fridge.

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Divide the marzipan into 3 equal chunks (roughly 80g, 2.8 oz each), knead each piece into a pliable ball and roll out into a circle the size of your cake. I find the best way to do this is to flatten your ball with your hand to just under an inch in thickness, and shape the sides so it's still round. Ensure your work surface and rolling pin are very well dusted with icing sugar, it also helps to lightly dust your marzipan round. Roll your marzipan from the centre out away from you, applying light pressure. Return to the centre and roll towards you with the same pressure. Turn the marzipan 45 degrees and repeat, ensuring that the bottom of the marzipan is coated in icing sugar well enough to not stick to the surface, I do this by "wiping" the work surface with the marzipan every time I turn it. Repeat over and over until your marzipan is rolled out to the correct size, it'll be about 1-2 mm thick. Don't worry if it's not perfect, mine never are and you can either shape it a little on the cake or cut the excess off, depending on how hideously out of shape it is.

Top each layer of cake with 2 tbsp of jam spread to the edges, and cover with a piece of marzipan, trimming off the excess (or push inwards with your finger if there's not much).
© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk
Check the layer that will be the top of your cake doesn't have any air bubbles under the marzipan as this will affect the final appearance. If your fussed about it, prick any air holes delicately with a pin or sharp point of a knife to release the air, and re-smooth the marzipan so that the hole can't be seen (otherwise there'll be a dimple in the ganache topping).

Once the ganache has firmed up a bit, spoon enough over the bottom and middle layers of cake, but not the top. Smooth to the edges but don't allow to drip down the sides, about 2-3tbsp should do it, but it depends on how runny the ganache still is.
Take 3/4 of your frozen raspberries and chop them roughly. Top each (two) of the ganached cake layers with them and drizzle with a little more ganache (about 1 tbsp each layer).
Reassemble your cake.

Smooth half the buttercream around the egde of the cake and put the cake in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up.
Repeat with the rest of the buttercream to ensure a smooth and evenly-coloured cake coating - if you can see dark patches of cake through the buttercream layers, these will remain visible through the ganache.
Return to the fridge to firm up for about half an hour, then smooth any bumps in your buttercream with a dampened palette knife.

If you want a coloured accent like "what I done 'ere", mix about 2 tbsp of your ganace with food colouring a little at a time to achieve your desired tone. My white chocolate had a bit of a yellow hint in it, so my dream of sky blue drizzle (actually, I had wanted to do a blue cake with white drizzle) turned out greenish - lesson: always test a small amount first before adding colour to the whole thing!

Pour the rest of the ganache over the top (you might not need all of it, you don't want too much to pool off the bottom of the cake) and push it over the edges and down the sides.
Roughly chop the remaining frozen raspberries and pile them up in the centre of your cake.
Return to the fridge, and before serving, dust with icing sugar and (edible) sprinkles/sparkles/glitter if desired.

Serve chilled, and Voila (it's worth it!)!

© Lydia, punge.blogspot.co.uk


  1. I suggest WC RAP Cake as a name. White Chocolate Raspberry, Almond & Pistachio cake. So good you'll lyrically rhyme about it, even on the toilet!

    1. No pistachio in it! real shame as it sounds like such an appetising acronym.


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