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Sunday, August 22, 2010

SMS: Sweet Almond Cake with Lemon Curd and Lemon Mascarpone Frosting

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Sometimes adding a garnish can make or break the appearance of a cake.  A cake can be absolutely delicious, but if it doesn't look appealing and inviting, everyone might pass on it.  Which of these would you rather dig into?

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or 

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Yep, definitely the one with the cute garnish.  I'm glad I added the chopped almonds to the top or else people may have passed on this seemingly plain cake and they would have missed out on the out-of-the-box complex flavor of this week's Sweet Melissa Sundays recipe.  Everyone here who taste-tested it seemed to enjoy it.  It definitely doesn't taste like something I make all the time.  And the change was welcomed.

There were a lot of steps to this dessert, but everything went rather smoothly.  No hiccups or hurdles in this cake making.  But... a lot of ingredients did go in to this cake.  I mean...

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Woah, butter.

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And woah, egg whites.

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A lot of egg whites means a lot of meringue!

But I think it was worth it.  I even learned a new technique for cutting cake layers in half.  Thanks, Melissa Murphy!  And thanks Dan, my wonderful fiance and sous chef whose hands appear in the following pictures :)

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I loved the toothpick marking technique to cutting a cake layer straight mentioned in the cookbook!

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Look how nice and even the split layers are!

After it was frosted, I laid a small bowl lightly on the surface of the cake to mark off the area I wanted to keep the chopped almond garnish off.

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And it worked pretty good!

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Boy was it a heavy cake!  Carrying it in the cake carrier to family dinner was definitely a two handed procedure.  But it was definitely good.  The lemon curd filling was pretty easy to throw together and had a wonderful tart lemony taste.  The cake was nice and moist and have a great almond flavor.  And the frosting... oh the frosting.  The lemon mascarpone frosting was surprisingly subtle in the lemon department and it wasn't overly heavy despite the mascarpone.

Thanks for picking this recipe and hosting this week, Katie!  Check out katiecakes, Katie's blog for the recipe.  And see the list of this week's SMS participants here.

18 comments:

Candy Girl said...

Gorgeous! I wish I had thought to add a garnish to mine cake. I considered trying to pipe something decorative with all of the leftover frosting, but couldn't bear the thought of more frosting.

Julie said...

Beautiful! I love the idea of the bowl to keep the nuts out of the middle.

Future Grown-Up said...

Okay, I will admit...I would eat both of them, most likely at the same time given no distractions and enough time. But the nuts really make this a showstopper...beautiful cake and very yummy looking.

Nikki said...

your cake looks fantastic! i love the garnish...thanks for the idea!
nikki
www.makeandtakeblog.com

Ingrid said...

Stephanie, I think that's one of the prettiest and yummiest cakes you've made. Those are three flavors we love.
~ingrid

Gloria said...

Wow! Your cake looks fabulous! The almond garnish is perfect. Definitely takes it up a notch. I was contemplating a candied lemon garnish, but the recipe I found on Martha Stewarts website involved an extra hour of baby sitting something on the stove. After all the steps in this recipe, I just couldn't do it!

I love your photos and how you used the toothpick method to split your layers. Love it!

Sherry G said...

Gorgeous. Stunning. Phenomenal. That cake is bomb. I love all the little tricks you used to achieve such a wonderful cake. They are definitely tips I'll need to remember!

margot said...

Great post, Stephanie. I like the process photos. I've never seen the trick to put a bowl on top to garnish a cake.

Your cake looks absolutely perfect. My frosting did not turn out at all.

Lucie said...

Looks so delicious! I can't resist lemon in a cake. I'm definitely keeping your little trick of putting a bowl on the cake to get a clean garnish!

Katiecakes said...

I love how pretty your cake is!

Thanks for baking along!

Katie xox

spike. said...

so gorgeous! Love your decoration

Eliana said...

You are so right. A well garnished cake looks so appetizing. This one looks incredible though!

Your Fellow Bakers said...

I love your step-by-step photos! The cake looks wonderful.

smalltownoven said...

Beautiful cake! The garnish definitely made a huge difference. And I love your fiance helping in the kitchen. Sign of a good catch :)

sendfood said...

Your cake is absolutely beautiful, I love the decorating! Lemon and almond is one of my favorite flavour combinations!

Flourchild said...

Wow that is so cool that you used a bowl to keep the nuts in a perfect ring! I would have never thought of it! YOur cake is incredible looking! I have to make this one soon!!

rebecca said...

Beautiful cake, Stephanie! I'm going to have to dress mine up like yours when I make it.

Lucy said...

What a beautiful cake! I love the flavours involved: definitely saving this recipe to use as a birthday cake, it sounds such a treat :)

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