nut flavored sponge cakes
Posted: 19 November 2011 08:14 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Does anyone have a good recipe for a pistachio, hazelnut, or almond sponge cake? Is it better to use a nut flour, grind your own nut to add to cake flour, or use a nut paste to flavor the sponge cake? I am hoping to get a really assertive flavor and use a fruit mousse for the filling. Would this type of sponge cake benefit from a soaking syrup as well? If I find a good recipe for one, are all these nuts interchangeable, providing i use the same amount ( i understand the flavor will change)? Thanks!

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Posted: 20 November 2011 09:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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cakemonster - 20 November 2011 12:14 AM

Does anyone have a good recipe for a pistachio, hazelnut, or almond sponge cake?

You may want to choose something medium- or light-textured to pair with a mousse.  The almond shamah chiffon from Rose’s Heavenly cake might fit the bill perfectly.  The golden almond butter cake from the Cake Bible is also lovely and might pair well with your mousse, but isn’t a sponge-type cake.  I also like the intensely flavored almond pound cake from The Art of the Cake, but it may be too heavy for a mousse, I usually pair it with fresh fruit.  There’s a trade-off- high nut content gives a lot of flavor but makes for a dense, coarsely-textured cake.  A lower proportion of nuts combined with wheat flour gives a lighter texture.

Is it better to use a nut flour, grind your own nut to add to cake flour, or use a nut paste to flavor the sponge cake?

Don’t use paste.  Do toast your nuts or flour for the best flavor.  King Arthur toasted nut flour is very finely ground.  My food processor doesn’t make a finely ground nut flour so if I know I’m going to use it I choose a recipe that combines wheat flour with the ground nuts, so the cake has a better texture.

Would this type of sponge cake benefit from a soaking syrup as well?

Yes, particularly if the syrup is well-flavored with nuts/liqueurs.

are all these nuts interchangeable, providing i use the same amount

Probably- be sure to substitute by weight and to stop grinding the nuts before they exude oil and become pasty.  The varying proportions of oil/protein/fiber in the nuts may alter the texture/height of the cake slightly.

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Posted: 20 November 2011 12:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi, Cakemonster!

Welcome!  Love your name!

I know the Almond Shamah Chiffon is a fave of at least a few people here.  But I made it, and I didn’t think it had a huge almond punch, despite almonds, amaretto and extract.  Most of the folks who ate it were amazed to know it had all that almond in it, as well.  I used all the syrup called for, and found it to be a bit wet, so if you make it, I’d suggest maybe making only 1/2 the syrup, but using all the amaretto called for.  It’s frosted with something like a fruit mousse - raspberry whipped cream - which is wonderful.  I think peach or apricot would also work nicely, and you might notice the almond more with a fruit not quite so dominant.  You can also toast slivered almonds and dcorate it with those, and that would punch the flavor up nicely.

Another thought is to make a nut butter cake and then make a nut frosting.  You can blend nut butters into most buttercreams until the nut flavor you want is achieved—I did this with pistachio butter into Golden Neoclassic, and it was amazing.

I would also think you could make a nice flour frosting of butter, nut paste (to provide the sugar and nut flavor) and milk thickened with flour (and completely cooled), plus vanilla and any other flavors.

Another thought is to make a nut past disk and put it between layers of the cake.  Roll a thin layer of your nut paste between layers of waxed paper or plastic wrap, refrigerate or freeze it it (so it doesn’t stick so much to the plastic wrap when you take it off) and then put it between layers with a bit (or a lot) of buttecream.  Rose does this with a marzipan layer on one of her TCB cakes, but nut paste isn’t quite so sweet.

Anyway, good luck—let us know what you decide!!!!!

—ak

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