To recap--I had a conversation with a photo on the internet:
|Source Link Here|
It had lots of steps. Lots and lots of steps:
- Grease/flour/buttered-parchment-line 3 cake pans. Or, if
you are not a friggin' bake shopneeded, improvise with 2 cake pans and 1 pie pan.
- Bake the cake: Make the almond batter. Wash mixer bowl and paddle attachment. Make a meringue and integrate it into the batter. Divvy among the pans and bake cake layers. Cool layers & wrap tightly. Wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment.
- Make lemon cream: make whipped cream and fold into store-bought lemon curd (or make the lemon curd if you really, really want to). Chill overnight. Wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment again.
- Go to bed.
- Wake up, jog, make meringue frosting.
- Trim and assemble cake as follows: cake, strawberry jam, lemon cream, cake, strawberry jam, lemon cream, cake, frosting. Wash the ever-lovin' mixer bowl and whisk attachment. Again.
Resulting in this:
And so, the pros:
- Each component was amazing. The cake batter was fantastic. The lemon cream was fantastic. The jam I carefully selected from the store shelf was fantastic. The meringue frosting should probably be illegal in my house, it was so good.
- Using real almonds instead of almond extract makes a huge difference.
- The cake was not too sweet, which balanced out all the other ingredients, which were almost cloyingly sweet.
- The lemon cream tanged up a bit after chilling overnight.
- Since I frosted the sides--thereby making it not a Tomboy Cake--the cake was very forgiving of all the trimming I did, and it didn't dry out like the reviews complained about. Also, I didn't even need to mess with piping supplies. Which in my case consist of a zip-top bag snipped at the corner, but still. One less thing.
- The cake improved on the second day--the flavors were a little more married, or something.
Areas of Improvement:
- The almonds didn't grind as finely as I hoped. Next time I would grind them first and then blend with the flour, instead of both steps at once. Thanks for nothing, recipe.
- The cake layers were done way sooner than the recommended 40-45 minutes. I pulled them at 35, and they were still overdone.
- The texture was less like cake and more like a quick bread; according to Alton, my creaming technique needs some work.
- While the components were amazing, the texture of the cake combined with the itty-bitty, not-quite-ground almond pieces made it feel like eating banana bread (but without the bananas) layered with jam & lemon cream and meringue frosting. Not bad, just a little weird.
Tiny E loved it as-is. His Highness loved licking all the bowls along the way but might have overdone it because he thought the finished product was gross. The Littler One was happy with just the frosting. The Cat Daddy was appreciative of my efforts, but didn't sneak a giant piece while the rest of us were sleeping, which I presume means he thought it acceptable but not earth-shattering.
All told, part of me wants to try this again and see where I can improve it, but then again even if I can make it completely optimally, it feels like a risk due to my family's mixed reactions. Still, if you are considering this, my overall suggestion would be to go for it because, meringue frosting. And YOLO. And you really can't go wrong with more cake in your life.
In particular, I think that my baking friends should maybe give it a try (you know who you are) and let me know how it goes.
I'm available for quality-control testing, FYI...