Celebration Cake

  • Level: Easy
  • Yield: 1 cake serves 12
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Ingredients

1/2 pound dried currants

1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1 cup dry sherry

1 recipe Basic Sponge Cake (recipe follows)

1 cup toasted slivered almonds

1 recipe Creme Anglaise (recipe follows)

1 cup Sweetened Whipped Cream

12 fresh mint sprigs

BASIC SPONGE CAKE

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsalted butter

8 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt 

Recipe from Every Day Is a Party, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, published by William Morrow, 1999

CREME ANGLAISE

1/2 cup sugar

2 cups heavy cream 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

5 large egg yolks

Directions

  1. In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the currants, sugar, and water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sherry. Let cool completely. Spread the mixture evenly over the sponge cake, then sprinkle the almonds evenly over the currant mixture. Cut the cake horizontally into 1-inch-wide strips, then cut the strips into quarters. Spoon the creme Anglaise into 12 dessert bowls, then in each bowl stack four pieces of the cake on top of each other. Spoon over the whipped cream, and garnish with a mint sprig. Serve immediately.

BASIC SPONGE CAKE

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and 2 teaspoons butter together over medium-low heat. With an electric mixer fitted with a wire whip, beat the eggs and 1 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, and has tripled in volume, about 8 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in the warm milk mixture. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture and blend thoroughly until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix gently. Grease a 17 x 12-inch baking pan or jellyroll pan with 2 teaspoons butter. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Pour the batter into the pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until the cake springs back when touched, about 15 minutes. Cool for about 2 minutes, then gently flip it out onto a large wire rack or a large sheet of parchment paper. Let cool completely. Makes 1 sponge cake.

CREME ANGLAISE

  1. Put the yolks in a saucepan and add the sugar. Beat with a wire whisk until thick and lemon colored. Put the cream in a nonreactive saucepan and heat to the scalding point (when bubbles form around the edge of the pan). Gradually add the cream to the yolk mixture, beating constantly. Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens slightly. Do not overcook or boil, as the sauce will curdle. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a cold bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down on the surface to prevent a skin from forming if not using immediately. Will keep refrigerated for 24 hours. Before serving, warm over low heat. 
  2. Recipe from Every Day Is a Party, by Emeril Lagasse, with Marcelle Bienvenu and Felicia Willett, published by William Morrow, 1999

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