Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Letting You In On A Secret

...This is a little hard for me to say. I've got a secret cake.

You know the one. When you have company and serve it, all you can hear are sighs of pleasure around the table. People go crazy over it. The paparazzi chase it around town.
Alright, I may be exaggerating just a tad--but you get the point. Everyone has a cake in their repertoire that looks insanely time-consuming, tastes amazing, and takes just a few minutes to put together. And no, I'm not even talking about anything requiring a box mix. The secret ingredient here is...ladyfingers.

Last year, I was off to Saint Dié for a Summer weekend with my family during my Maman's stay in France. The day before I arrived, she asked me if I wanted to eat any type of cake in particular. I didn't have to think much before the words spurted out of my mouth:

Mascarpone. Raspberry. Layer Cake. Almonds.

I could never really put the name of this cake into words: what it really is, I can hardly describe. Like a fluffy mountain of cake, moist layers hidden between cloud-like mascarpone mousse...and fresh, juicy raspberries. Imagine all this, encased in a layer of toasted slivered almonds. 

Before hanging up with Maman on the phone, I mentioned one last thing: "Don't bake this cake if it's too time-consuming, though."

Her reply: "Bake? What? This is the easiest of no-bake cakes, ma poule."

You know those paintings of the Holy Light? Pardon the blasphemy, but I saw the clouds part and spears of bright, beautiful sunlight bear down on me right at that moment. My beloved cake doesn't even go near an oven, yet it becomes a beautiful, beautiful thing.

My advice here would be not to make your own ladyfingers. If you do, this just becomes a regular--albeit amazing and unforgettable--time-consuming cake. If you can find fine, fresh ladyfingers (if you live in France, you can), don't pass up the opportunity to be in on the secret.

Let others taste, but don't divulge a single thing. This is a secret you'll enjoy keeping--but let's keep it between us, alright?

Raspberry Mascarpone Cake
serves six to eight

Note: I made a small version of this cake by diving the whole recipe by five.

for the cake:
500g / 1 lb. fresh raspberries
40 fresh ladyfingers
350g / 1.5 c.  mascarpone
30cl / 1 and 1/4 c. whipping cream, very cold
125g / scant 3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 TS vanilla extract

for the syrup:
125g / 1 c. confectioner's sugar
3 TB raspberry eau de vie (feel free to substitute any alcohol you like)
30cl / 1 and 1/4 c. water

20 raspberries
80g / 1/2 c. slivered almonds

Make syrup: Heat water and confectioenr's sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Add alcohol and remove from heat.

Make mascarpone cream: Beat mascarpone, granulated sugar, and vanilla together.

In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream to stiff peaks. Delicately oncorporate mascarpone mixture and set aside.

Dip lady fingers one by one in syrup, without getting them too wet, and place in bottom of a 9 in ch springform or classic cake pan.

Spread 1/3 of mousse on top. Add 1/2 of the raspberries.

Add another layer of ladyfingers dipped in syrup, 1/3 of the mousse and 1/2 of the raspberries. Finish off with another layer of ladyfingers dipped in syrup.

Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight. Refrigerate remaining mousse.

An hour before serving:
Toast slivered almonds in a dry skillet or in the oven.
Place cake on a plate and frost with remaining 1/3 of the mousse. Decorate with toasted slivered almonds and fresh raspberries.

Refrigerate another hour before serving.
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Paris Pastry said...

It's a beauty for sure! We all have those family go-to cakes. I just love mascarpone in desserts!

Eleni said...

That sounds so tasty! I can't wait to try a bake-less tarte. That's so much better than our go to cake-in-a-rush: a fruit tarte.

Sweet Freak said...

HURT ME. A raspberry-mascarpone combo sounds so, so good...

Juliana said...

Wow, such an elegant cake...looks so pretty and light. Love the flavor of this cake :-)

grace said...

no wonder this is a hit--that mascarpone is some magical stuff! thanks for sharing your secret, lucie. :)

Kris Ngoei said...

Ignore the paparazzi, I am going to pursue this cake :-)

Sawasdee frm Bangkok,

claudia said...

mascarpone and raspberries: cannot go wrong! Looks sooooo good!

Reeni said...

How positively delectable! I would definitely have to make my own ladyfingers. There are none to be found that are worthy of this heavenly dream dessert!

Barbara said...

What a lovely cake, Lucie! Fabulous presentation (which makes it look like it took HOURS to make) and it sounds delicious.
I have a favorite cake too... but it takes forever to make! Unfortunately, everyone is always asking me to make it when I offer to bring something. Next time, I won't ask and I'll take your cake!
They'll be converts.

Kerstin said...

Sounds amazing! I need to start looking for lady fingers!

Lucie said...

I'm glad everyone enjoys the recipe--please let me know if you give it a go!

claudia said...

i have tried your recipe and it is soooo good! Thanks Lucie for sharing your "secret"!