Recipe courtesy of Steven Barela

Almond Cake with Cream Cheese, Ganache and Fresh Strawberry Filling, Vanilla Buttercream Icing and Pink Poured Fondant

  • Level: Advanced
  • Total: 6 hr 25 min (including cooling times)
  • Active: 3 hr 45 min
  • Yield: 35 to 45 servings
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Ingredients

1 9/10 pounds liquid shortening

1/2 cup inverted sugar

1/4 ounce high-quality vanilla

2 1/2 pounds cake flour

2 1/4 pounds granulated sugar

4 ounces milk powder

1 1/2 ounces baking powder

1 1/4 ounces fine sea salt

1/4 ounce cream of tartar

3 pounds egg whites

1 pound whole eggs

4 ounces water

1 1/2 teaspoons natural almond extract

Ganache, recipe follows

Cream Cheese Filling, recipe follows

Fresh strawberries, sliced thin

Vanilla Buttercream Icing, recipe follows

Pink Poured Fondant, recipe follows

Ganache:

16 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, discs or chopped (2 cups)

1 cup heavy cream

Cream Cheese Filling:

2 pounds high-ratio shortening

1 pound cream cheese, softened

5 pounds confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla

1 teaspoon butter emulsion

Vanilla Buttercream Icing:

2 1/2 pounds high-ratio shortening

5 pounds confectioners' sugar

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla

1 teaspoon butter emulsion

Pink Poured Fondant:

5 pounds confectioners' sugar

8 ounces water

5 ounces corn syrup

1 teaspoon natural almond extract

1 teaspoon high-quality vanilla

2 teaspoons liquid whitener for icing

1/2 teaspoon pink gel food coloring, such as Chefmaster

Directions

Special equipment:
Two 16-inch cake pans
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Prepare two 16-inch cake pans by greasing them and lining the bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fixed with the paddle attachment, add the liquid shortening, inverted sugar and vanilla. Then add the cake flour, granulated sugar, milk powder, baking powder, sea salt and cream of tartar. Mix on speed 1 for 1 minute. Then add half of the egg whites and mix on speed 1 for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining egg whites and mix on speed 1 for 1 minute. Then mix on speed 3 for 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape the bowl, and add the whole eggs, water and almond extract. Mix on speed 1 for 1 minute. Then on speed 3 for 3 minutes. Lastly, mix on speed 1 for 10 minutes.
  5. Fill the cake pans two-thirds full and bake until golden and a tester such as a toothpick comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes. Let the cakes cool completely.
  6. To assemble the cake: Torte the cooled cakes (level and split them horizontally into 2 layers each). Generously spread a layer of the Ganache on the first layer of cake, then a generous layer of Cream Cheese Filling. Layer some fresh strawberries on top of the Cream Cheese Filling. Repeat with the next 2 cake layers. Top with the last cake layer and ice the cake smooth with the Vanilla Buttercream Icing. Lastly, pour a thin layer of Pink Poured Fondant over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides.

Ganache:

  1. In a microwave-safe glass bowl, heat the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second intervals until melted, stirring between each intervals. Add the cream and mix with a spatula until smooth. Let cool. 

Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and cream cheese until smooth. Then add the confectioners' sugar, sea salt, vanilla and butter emulsion. Mix it all on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Vanilla Buttercream Icing:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening until smooth. Then add the confectioners' sugar, sea salt, vanilla and butter emulsion. 
  2. Mix it all on medium speed for 8 to 10 minutes. 

Pink Poured Fondant:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the confectioners' sugar, then the water, corn syrup, almond extract, vanilla, liquid whitener and food coloring. Mix it all on medium speed until smooth, about 10 minutes. Yield: enough for one 16-inch layer cake.

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