I love any reason to bake a cake: a wedding shower, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Tuesday afternoon. But birthdays are my favorite. This summer I got to celebrate Susie turn one on a beautiful farm with an almond cake filled with passion fruit buttercream.
Almond Layer Cake with Passion Fruit Filling
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
4 1/2 cups cake flour
4 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup prepared almond paste (7 ounces)
2 2/3 cups sugar
2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp almond extract
10 egg whites
1 1/2 cups whole milk
**makes a 9" triple layer cake
Passion Fruit Curd
4 egg yolks
3 oz. sugar
2 oz. passion fruit puree
1/2 stick (2 oz.) butter, room temperature, diced
1.5 cups unsalted butter, at room temp
4.5 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
passion fruit curd, to taste
Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Place the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low to break up the almond paste. Increase to medium speed for about 2 minutes, or until the paste is broken into fine particles.
Add the butter and almond extract and beat well, then add the egg whites, two at a time, just long enough to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl several times to make sure it is evenly mixed.
Add one-third of the dry ingredients to the mixture and fold with a large rubber spatula until combined. Fold in half the milk. Fold in half the remaining flour mixture, followed by the remaining milk. Finally, fold in the last of the dry ingredients until no streaks of white remain. Divide the batter among the three prepared cake pans.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Make the curd: Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a glass bowl. Whisk in the passion fruit. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (a double boiler) and stir with a wooden spoon (or whisk) for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture is thick and no longer falls in a quick stream back into the bowl.
Remove from the heat and strain through a sieve, if needed. Add the butter and stir until combined. Chill until room temperature. This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator.
Make the buttercream: Beat the butter in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add sugar until fully combined. Add vanilla. Gradually add cooled passion fruit curd until desired flavor is reached.