Much like Haalo, when it comes to birthday cakes I am the designated baker even when the birthday is my own. This year, one of my presents was a cream-colored KitchenAid (and believe me, you were *this* close to getting a postful of KitchenAid porn instead of this recipe - it is perhaps the prettiest thing in this apartment, save one of my three cats), so naturally I wanted to make something with lots and lots of whipped things. Such as egg whites and, oh yeah, buttercream. How convenient, then, that I'd already earmarked a recipe that consists almost (actually, there's no "almost" about it) exclusively of meringue and buttercream.
This cake is also known as Ellen Svinhufvud Cake in Finland, after the wife of one of our presidents who liked to have this served at receptions and the like. In other countries I think it's known as Fragilité, but I'm not sure if the recipes are exactly the same. Either way, it's decadent without being cloying, which is always a plus.
It consists of layers of crackling macaroon sheets and is filled and covered with mocha-flavored buttercream and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds. It's not nearly as difficult to make as I'd thought, and like a lot of things it improves if you have the patience to let it sit in the fridge for a day or two.
And yes, it's exactly as healthy as it sounds.
the recipe for this was all over the newspapers this winter because of some sort of legal battle. I snagged the proportions from Hufvudstadsbladet and the method from, I think, Helsingin Sanomat
150 ml icing sugar
200 ml egg white (~6 eggs)
150 g (very finely) ground almonds
150 ml strong coffee
5 tbsp sugar
150 ml cream
300 g butter
100 g (very finely) ground almonds
25 g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
Cover two cookie sheets with cooking parchment.
Whip the egg whites and sugar for about 15 minutes, until it turns sticky. Carefully fold in the ground almonds.
Divide the meringue in four parts, two on each sheet, and spread into 25*16 cm rectangles. Bake both sheets simultaneously at 125°C for about an hour (switching the positions a few times during baking), until they are completely dry.
C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y loosen the macaroon sheets from the parchment with the help of a spatula and equally carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool.
Blend the sugar into the still-hot coffee, stir to dissolve. Add the cream and let the mixture cool. Whip the butter until light and fluffy. Adding just a little at a time, drizzle in the coffee-cream mixture while beating continuously. Finish by beating in the ground almond.
Spread the mocha cream on the cooled macaroon layers and assemble the cake. Sprinkle with the toasted almond flakes and finish with a dusting of icing sugar. (As you may notice from the pictures, I kind of forgot the icing sugar part. Maybe I'm getting old.) Transfer to fridge until you're ready to serve (can be made 2 days ahead).
Notes: yes, you are meant to ruin the smooth buttercream with ground almonds. I did, although it PAINED ME to see my lovely shiny frosting turn all gritty. It tasted good though. (Maybe almond extract would do the same?) If you buy ready-ground almonds, be sure to grind them some more in a blender, both for the frosting and macaroons.