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Baking withdrawal and the Vittoria Panino cake…

May 14, 2010

I’ve been itching to bake recently, but as I am living abroad at the moment and cannot justify purchasing (and eventually packing) cake pans etc., this urge has been left unsatisfied.  Luckily, I’ll be home for a month starting June 20, and I intend to cram in quite a lot of baking.

My first idea is a sort of Italian variation on the Victoria Sandwich cake (vanilla buttercream and jam sandwiched between spongecake, dusted with powdered sugar).  In my version the jam will be replaced with Amarena cherries, the buttercream will be flavored with amaretto, and the spongecake will be replaced with lemon semolina cake.

Vittoria Panino Cake
Possible issues: too sweet, too heavy

I’ll only really be able to address those by attempting to make the cake.  I’m hoping the lemon in the semolina cake will brighten it up.  No matter what, I think it’s definitely something that should be served with a strong cup of coffee (or a nice double espresso…).

Semolina Cake: (The former looks more promising to me, but one never knows.  I’m slightly worried about the texture of semolina cake – they seem to be very damp and dense, traditionally.  The pictures show a drier, lighter cake, but who knows!  In my experience, using oil as the fat yields a much lighter cake, which is another reason to favor the first recipe.  I should be able to simply add lemon zest to the first recipe without consequence, and opt for a citrus vodka.  I’ve added orange zest to vanilla cupcake batter in the past, and it didn’t seem to upset the recipe…)

Amaretto Buttercream: (The buttercream recipe is toward the bottom – I would replace the vanilla and pistachio essence with Disaronno possibly augmented with almond extract if that’s not almond-y enough.  It’s a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe, so I won’t bother looking for an alternate.  She is the cake guru.)

Amarena Cherries: are Amarena cherries!  Buy them in a jar (they always seem to have them at Williams Sonoma)!  The real question will be what consistency I want them to be.  As I recall, they’re usually whole, pitted, and about 1/2″ in diameter.  I can give them a quick blitz in the food processor, but they might not be as pretty that way.  I could halve them, but that will be time consuming and may still leave them on the ungainly side.  The cherries will require a bit of trial and error.  Not too much, I hope – they are not cheap!

Here’s hoping it works out…

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