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You choose the overcoat for this basic cake.

Dress up one basick cake in three different ways. You can embed sliced almonds in the crust and soak the cake in lemon syrup, layer with raspberry jam and wrap in a marzipan coat, or spread with whipped cream and top with fresh strawberry and kiwi slices.

Pruchased marzipan or almond paste can be used in this firm, fine-textured cake. Sold in the baking, nut, or candy sections of many supermarkets, either mixture gives the cake a subtle almond flavor.

Marzipan contains the same ingredients as almond paste--ground almonds, sugar, egg white--but the proportion of ingredients varies. Marzipan is softer and contains fewer almonds and more sugar than the denser paste, and it yields a slightly finer, lighter-textured cake.

First you beat the marzipan or almond paste with eggs until very thick and light. This cake is leavened by incorporating air, so don't underbeat. Then gently fold in a little flour and melted butter, and bake. Serve the cake plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or decorated as shown in the photograph at right.

The basic cake, almond-crusted cake, and marzipan-cloaked version can be held at room temperature up to overnight, or frozen for longer storage. You can chill the fruit-topped cake up to 4 hours.

French Almond Cake (Pain de Genes) 7 to 8 ounces (about 3/4 cup) marzipan or almond paste 3 large eggs 2 teaspoons kirsch, orange-flavored liquer, or vanilla 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons cornstarch 3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted and cooled Powdered sugar (optional)

Crumble marzipan into a large bowl of an electrix mixer. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended. Then beat at high speed until thick, light, and about doubled in volume, about 15 minutes. Beat in kirsch. Sift flour and cornstarch over batter; gently fold in. Pour melted butter over batter; gently fold until blended. Pour into a buttered 8-inch round cake pan.

Bake in a 325 deg. oven until cake just begins to pull from pan sides and feels firm when lightly pressed in center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert on rack and cool; if made ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to overnight. Put on a dish and offer plain, or sift sugar over top. Serves 6 to 8.

Nut-crusted Almond Cake

Make the batter for the French almond cake (recipe precedes). Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. Sprinkle 1/2 cup sliced almonds evenly over pan bottom. Carefully pour batter into pan, then bake as directed. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Holding a rack over pan, flip to release cake, then invert to put cake back in pan, nut side down.

Pierce hot cake with a wooden pick, spacing holes about 1/2 inch apart. Pour the lemon glaze (recipe follows) over cake, reserving 3 tablespoons. Let cake cool in pan, then invert (nut side up) onto a rack set over a piece of waxed paper. Spoon remaining 3 tablespoons lemon glaze evenly over top. Slide onto a serving dish; if made ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to overnight. Freeze for longer storage. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Lemon glaze. Stir together 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 cup powdered sugar.

Marzipan-cloaked Almond Cake

Form 7 to 8 ounces (about 3/4 cup) marzipan or almond paste into a flat, round patty (if almond paste is stiff and heavy, knead until smooth with 1 tablespoon egg white and 1/3 cup powdered sugar; if sticky, add more powdered sugar). Lay on a sheet of waxed paper that has been lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar. Sprinkle marzipan lightly with powdered sugar and cover with another sheet of waxed paper. Roll out to form a circle about 11 inches in diameter. If paper becomes wrinkled and embedded in the marzipan, peel off and replace with a fresh sheet.

Make the French almond cake (recipe precedes). Split cooled cake in half horizontally to make two layers. Place one layer, cut side up, on a flat surface. Spread the cut side with 1/3 cup raspberry jam. Set remaining layer, cut side down, on top. Peel off top sheet of waxed paper from marzipan; centering over cake, flop marzipan onto cake; peel off the other sheet of waxed paper. Press marzipan gently against the sides of the cake, pleating edges; evenly trim the bottom edge. With a wide spatula and handling gently, transfer cake to serving dish.

If desired, cut and shape marzipan scraps to decorate cake. If made ahead, cover and let stand at room temperature up to overnight; freeze for longer storage. Garnish with raspberries, if desired, and serve. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Fruit-topped Almond Cake

Make the French almond cake (recipe precedes) and place on a serving dish. Beat 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff. Fold in 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Spread cream over top and sides of cake. Garnish top with 1 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced, and 2 or 3 strawberries, stemmed and sliced. (Or omit whipped cream. Arrange fruit on top and sift powdered sugar lightly over cake.) Serve, or chill, covered lightly, up to 4 hours. Serves 6 to 8.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1985
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