Six years ago my husband and I moved to New York’s financial district. Like most New Yorkers, well like most people everywhere actually, we only knew of it from movies but it was the newest up and coming neighborhood in Manhattan and real estate was the cheapest in the borough. So we up and moved to the FiDi which no one we knew seemed to know anything about.
We would walk around our new neighborhood, well, new to us anyway since it is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country, to try to get the lay of the land. One of the first things we noticed is that the place is constantly full of tourists and no one ever has any idea where they are. The streets are all laid haphazardly, a sharp contrast to the nice grid of the rest of the city.
Repeatedly we would walk by the stock exchange at Broad and Wall Streets. No surprise there is always a crowd of tourists, so many it is actually hard to get by. However, across from the stock exchange is this old columned building with a statue of George Washington in front. All the tourists would pose with the statue. I mean all of them. It was like, you simply cannot come to NYC without going to the Empire State Building and talking your photo with this George Washington statue. Still having no idea what this was (none of our friends knew either) and being too shy to just ask a tourist, I eventually looked it up. I think it took me about six months. Sad but true.
The statue is in front of Federal Hall. Federal Hall was where George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States. I forget that New York was briefly our country’s capital. Being from Philadelphia which is just silly with American history, I never think of New York as historic. I guess the cobblestone streets are a giveaway. Anyway, Monday was George Washington’s birthday. I didn’t make a traditional birthday cake, however, I cannot tell a lie, this baby is delicious!
- Adapted from Hungarian Flourless Hazelnut Cake
- Inspired by Bon Appetit’s May 2002 Chocolate Almond Torte
- 3½ cups almond meal/flour (or 12 ounces of almonds ground finely into a meal)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 eggs, separated*
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
- ¾ teaspoon table salt or cream of tartar
- ¼ cup water
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons Kirschwasser
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon Kirschwasser
- 12 ounces cherries
- *When separating eggs, it is very important that no yolk gets in the egg whites. Click for Egg Whites 101.
- Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F degrees. Grease and line with parchment paper a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat on medium high speed the egg yolks and sugar until the batter falls in a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes.
- Add the melted butter and mix until combined.
- Turn the mixer down to low speed and add in the almond mixture in three parts. Mix each of the three additions until thoroughly combined. The mixture will seem very dry but do not panic.
- In a CLEAN medium bowl, with CLEAN whisks, whip the egg whites with an electric mixer on a low speed until frothy, about 30 seconds. Add the table salt or cream of tartar and whip until firm peaks form. Tip: Click forEgg Whites 101.
- Quickly stir ⅓ of the egg whites into the hazelnut mixture, then quickly fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain. Tip: View a video on How to Fold an Ingredient into your Batter.
- Pour the batter into the springform pan and level the batter with a spatula.
- Place the pan on the center rack and bake for 60-70 minutes or until it is well risen and the cake has come away from the sides or the pan. If you press the cake lightly with your finger, it should spring back.
- Remove the pan from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the outer ring. Tip: If the outer ring is sticking, run a paring knife between the pan and the cake.
- Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Tip: Make sure all the sugar is completely dissolved, including any on the side of the saucepan. Use a pastry brush or rubber spatula to scrape it off the sides of the pot.
- Allow the mixture to cool and then add the Kirschwasser. Stir until thoroughly combined.
- In a medium heatproof mixing bowl, stir together the gelatin and ½ cup of the cream. Let stand for about 5 minutes to soften.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and stir occasionally until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Remove the bowl from the heat and let cool to lukewarm. Note: Only cool until lukewarm. If the mixture gets too cool, the gelatin will solidify. If this happens, do not panic. Just reheat it until it is liquid again.
- While the gelatin mixture is cooling, start the whipped cream. In a large bowl, whip the cream and Kirschwasser until slightly thickened. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar. Mix in the gelatin.
- When cake is cool, slice it horizontally in half.
- Place the bottom layer on your cake plate and brush it with the Kirschwasser Syrup.
- Fill a piping bag or ziploc bag with the ½ of the whipped cream using a ¼-inch tip or cutting a ¼-inch hole in the bag. Cover the layer with whipped cream stopping about ¼-inch from the edge. Tip: View a video on How to Frost a Cupcake without using a Pastry Bag
- Cover the whipped cream with cherries gently pressing them down.
- Place the other half of cake on top and press down gently.
- Brush the top layer with the the Kirschwasser Syrup.
- Cover the top with the remaining whipped cream either using a pastry bag or icing spatula. Smooth the whipped cream with an icing spatula,
- Cover the top with the remaining cherries.
- Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Store in the refrigerator.
- Sprinkle a little powdered sugar on top for decoration.
- Cut the cake into squares, rectangles, or diamonds for pretty little pastries. You can even try making the cake in a square pan if you are going this route. However, make sure you line the pan with parchment paper as this cake trends to stick.
This post is part of the following link parties: