Bake a spectacular cake with Sky High, Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne, featuring recipes for Neapolitan Rum Cake, Mocha Cake with Espresso Drizzle, and Halloween Sweet Potato Cake.
Makes an 8-inch Triple-Layer Cake; Serves 16 to 20
Here's an adult dessert that's especially nice after a rich Italian meal. The ricotta cheese in the filling must be drained overnight. Since the layers can be baked in advance and the entire dessert tastes better if left to stand for a few hours, or even a day, so the flavors can meld, this is an excellent recipe for entertaining.
1. Line a mesh strainer with a large paper coffee filter or several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Place the ricotta cheese in the filter and set the strainer over a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator overnight to drain.
2. The next day, bake the cake as directed.
3. While the cake is cooling, make the filling. In a large chilled bowl with chilled beaters, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla and beat until stiff. Set the sweetened whipped cream aside.
4. Put the ricotta in another bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, the cherries, orange zest, and orange juice. Blend well. Add 1 cup of the sweetened whipped cream and fold in gently.
5. To assemble the cake, place one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Brush with 1/4 cup of the rum to moisten. Spread half of the ricotta filling evenly over the layer. Repeat with the second layer. Place the third layer of cake on top. Soak this layer with the last of the rum and then frost the top and sides with the remaining whipped cream. Decorate with toasted pine nuts around the top edge of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and up to a day before serving.
Be sure to choose a ricotta that does not contain added gums, gelatin, starch, or other stabilizers. You just have to read the label. These additives prevent the cheese from separating from the whey.
Makes three 8-inch layers
While only a few tablespoons of semolina flour go into the batter, they have a dramatic effect, resulting in a sponge cake with a pleasingly sandy texture.
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with rounds of parchment or waxed paper, but do not grease the pans.
2. Put the eggs and sugar in a large heatproof bowl and whisk lightly to combine. Set over a pot of barely simmering water, taking care not to let the bowl come in contact with the water. Whisk gently and continuously until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is lukewarm to the touch (about 100 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer).
3. Remove from the water bath, add the orange zest, and with an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat on medium speed until the mixture cools and a slowly dissolving ribbon forms when the beaters are lifted, 7 to 10 minutes.
4. Sift the semolina and cake flours together and return to the sifter. Dust one-third of these dry ingredients overthe egg mixture. Gently fold in, deflating the batter as little as possible. Repeat 2 more times until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and no white streaks remain; do not overmix. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.
5. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool completely in the pans. Run the tip of a blunt knife around the edge of each pan to release the cake. Turn out onto cooling racks and carefully peel off the paper liners.
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This page created May 2008
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