Almond Cake with Pink Mascarpone Cream

8 ounces almond paste
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or Amaretto
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Balsamic-marinated strawberries and candied orange peel, to garnish (optional)

8-inch cake pan, lightly buttered and floured

For the Pink Mascarpone Cream:
1 pound mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup Grand Marnier
1/4 cup pureed raspberries
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 cups whipped cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To make the cake, put the almond paste, butter, and sugar in a bowl and mix. One at a time, beat in the eggs, followed by the lemon zest and Grand Marnier. Sift the flour and baking powder together, and add to the almond mixture until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a rack before removing the cake from the pan.

To make the Mascarpone Cream:

Beat together the mascarpone, sugar, Grand Marnier, pureed raspberries, and orange zest until well combined and fluffy. Fold in the whipped cream. When ready to serve, spoon onto slices of the cake and garnish with strawberries and candied orange peel.

Makes 1 large cake


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