April is a very special month in my universe. It marks the birth of my mother and novio. It goes without saying I want to make everything perfect because I love them both completely. Mom helped make me the person I am today in reflection of her own spirit- stubborn, feisty, silly, and compassionate. Mike is the soul I wish to inflict this personality on forever ever. Happy Birthday to my favorite Tauruses!
Prior cake's for mom include a rose covered, chocolate almond cake, key lime cheesecake, and tiramisu cake. This year, I decided to try something I have never made before: dacquoise. New fancy baking vocabulary! You basically beat the heck out of egg whites and fold in some ground almonds (kind of like macarons but not as difficult). Pour the mix into a piping bag, and draw the cake (trace a circle first on some parchment paper) and fill it in. A few minutes in the oven and voila, yummy layers of fragrant meringue. It creates a dainty, nutty, thin layer of flavor. You can pair it with mousse, fruit, cake, etc. Just do a quick image search and you'll see how versatile this meringue mix can be! Zoe Bake's has a few nice pictures if you need a technique reference.
The recipe that seduced me into trying dacquoise is from Gourmet Recipes and titled, "Iced Honey Marscapone and Almond Cake with Fig Salad." This had mom written all over it. Marscapone is in tiramisu, one of her favorites, and she is a die hard fig fanatic like the rest of my family. Mike has lovingly titled figs, "alien fruit."
Note, the figs are not actually IN the cake, they are soaked in amaretto and used to decorate the top.
A few lessons were learned. First, trace the circles about an inch or two smaller than the pan you plan on using. As the dacqoise cooks, it spreads out a little bit. You want the mousse marscapone to encase the cake. See how you can see the cake layers in my version? It's pure aesthetics so just a heads up.
Also. Figs are seasonal. I really did not think that far ahead and spent a good chunk of the afternoon scouring northern VA for some fresh figs. With the creamy texture of the cake, I really wanted the softness of the fruit. I had to settle on some dried figs from Whole Foods, where the cashier was nice enough not to charge me. Even though they were dried, the figs truly did compliment the almond.
Overall, it was not difficult to create and a welcome change of pace to the table. Everybody loved it was not an overly sweet cake. There are minimal ingredients which makes it even more unique. Simple and delicious. I was really happy with the end result and thrilled to see mom enjoying the flavors. She's so beautiful.
For the recipe, see Gourmet Recipe.