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This incredible cake by The Great Australian Bake Off contestant Monica is definitely a show stopper.
For the butter cake tier 2 and 3 (make up to 4 quantities for this cake). Cream 125g (250g – 500g – 1kg) butter and 1 cup caster sugar (2 cups, 3 cups, 4 cups) until pale and fluffy in a mixer. Add in a couple of spoons of vanilla bean paste. Add in 3 eggs at one at a time (6, 9, 12). Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add to wet ingredients the milk ½ cup (1 cup, 1 ½ cups or 2 cups) and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredient and mix – don’t over mix!!
1 ½ cups of plain flour (3 cups or 4.5 cups or 6 cups). ½ teaspoon of baking powder (1 teaspoon, 1 12/ or 2 teaspoons). ¼ teaspoon baking soda – sifted (1/2 teaspoon, ¾ or 1 full teaspoon). Bottom tier keep plain. Second tier, grate in zest of 1 to 2 lemons – add in a few drops of lemon essence. Bake on 150°C for 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
For the top tier – chocolate cake. Mix boiling 1 cup hot water, 120g butter and 120g chocolate together, let it sit for a moment and then mix it. Cream in a mixer the 2 eggs, 1 cup of sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Add in the wet water/choc/butter mixer and fold through. Sift in dry ingredients and fold in. 2 ½ cup of cake flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, pinch of salt, 1 ½ teaspoons of baking soda. Finally, pour in the elixir of life – 1 cup of strong hot Italian espresso coffee and hand mix. – Now… let’s see if it all makes it into the cake…..Into 3 pans 160°C for approx 25 to 25 minutes. Leave to cool before turning out.
For the meringues, 300g caster sugar and 120mls water (1/2 cup) in a pan – 118°C. 120g egg whites into a mixer bowl – start to mix – add in pinch of cream of tartar. Drip in the hot syrup – now Monica… let’s try NOT to burn ourselves this time!!!!! Keep mixing till cooled a pipe – pipe onto a sil mat cookie tray and bake for 90 minutes on 100°C.
Make ganache: and set aside to cool and set. 400g of milk chocolate, 150mls of cream, 2 huge spoon fulls of hazelnut spread and A few drops of hazelnut essence – taste it.
For the sugar syrups – 2 cups of caster sugar and 2 cups of water – bring to the boil – divide into 4 bowls and add: hazelnut liqueur, limoncello, Strega and the last add in mandarin juice and zest. Set aside to cool.
For the Italian meringue butter cream, 300g caster sugar and 90mls of water in a pan – bring to boil to 118°C. Start to whip 180g of egg whites – pinch of tartar and add in sugar syrup. When cooled add in cubes of 600g unsalted butter. Divide – lemon layer – mandarin layer, some to whip into the chocolate ganache. What is left – beat in organic vanilla bean and crumb coat all 3 cakes.
For the marzipan, 350g icing sugar, 125g almond meal, 1 teaspoon Glycerin, 1 egg white, 1 teaspoon pistachio paste, nip of limoncello – food processor until blended – if too wet, add more icing sugar until ready to go – wrap it ready for use.
For the cassata filling, into a mixer with a paddle attachment, 500g fresh drained ricotta, 200g icing sugar sifted, 100g mascarpone, 50g of dark grated chocolate. Chop up Glace fruit into small pieces (grandma’s knife) to make approx 150g – taste to make sure it’s right.
For the decorations, roll out moulds – sill mats, cut out shapes. Heat up isomalt in microwave – pour out 3 shapes, then divide into 4 glass Perspex and die different shades, lemon, mandarin, green, brown. Set aside to cool. Once set, remove from molds, press sides into the gold leaf to adhere – set aside. For the cake, mix gold luster dust with rose spirit and gently brush over the cake, using a map of Italy in paper, as the guide for the shape.
Construction – top tier – chocolate hazelnut – slice cake into 1 cm heights. Brush generously with frangelico sugar syrup on each side of each layer – alternate layers of hazelnut ganache, then next layer, butter cream with crushed meringues, and repeat. Crumb coat with butter cream, fridge to set.
Middle tier – slice, into 1 cm each layer – brush generously with limoncello on each side – same with mandarin juice. Fill with lemon butter cream between each layer, crumb coat the entire cake and chill to set.
For bottom tier – slice cake into 1cm heights, sugar syrup with strega mix generously each side. Roll out marzipan super thin, but thick enough to lift it – cut it round to the shape of the cake, place 1 layer of marzipan between each layer, top with a generous amount of cassata filling, and repeat. Crumb coat entire tier and chill to set.
Finish cover the entire cake with crusting butter cream mixture, smooth out – line up the map of Italy cut out and soft brush strokes of gold to get the effect – remove the paper stencil. Arrange the isomalt shapes to act like kaleidoscope effect over the map of Italy – the can be over lapped and joined together with a little heated isomalt – do not handle the isomalt without gloves as they will cloud – if this happens, a quick belt with a heat torch will clear them up again.
This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department
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