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I’ve had this post in my back pocket for a while, saving it for a special occasion.  And finally, I think it’s due time to share this decadent cake in celebration of some milestones for The Otium!  First, I am excited to announce our mobile app, available for iPhone and iPad.  A few weeks ago, Harrison at DWNLD reached out to me with a pretty slick mock-up.  The app is now live, and eager to make its way onto your phone or tablet so you can access recipes at your convenience!  And second, I am also excited that our facebook page has surpassed 100 likes!  Join the party and keep up-to-date with new recipes and sneak peeks.

…but only after you make this cake!

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This cake is scrumptious.  Alternating layers of airy sponge cake, rich mousse, and ripe stone fruit create the ultimate summer cake.  The flavors, textures, and densities all balance in the most wonderful way.  My words and photos come nowhere close to the perfection of this cake.

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We get the most luscious apricots here in Idaho.  They’re small — fitting snugly into the little cup formed in your palm when you press your thumb to your index finger — but velvety and tender in a supple, sensual way.  I paired traditional and red apricots with plump Emmett cherries, peaches, plums, and nectarines, then roasted them to draw out their sweetness and sauciness.

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The fruits take center stage in this rustic dessert.  The sponge cake is fluffy and delicate, yet sturdy enough to support the layered construction.  Almond flour lends a richness complementary of the stone fruits, without overwhelming their flavor.  The cake is necessarily light and subdued, so that even with the creamy mousse, the dessert remains light and seasonal.  And that mousse, goodness, the mousse!  Delicate touches of lemon and rose make it difficult impossible to keep from eating by itself.

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This cake is best enjoyed immediately after it is assembled.  It will turn soggy if not eaten within a day.  So if you wish to keep it longer, freeze it in plastic wrap.  To enjoy it later, simply thaw the cake on the countertop to room temperature.

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Honey-Almond Sponge Cake with Roasted Stone Fruits & Lemon-Rose Mousse

Makes a three-layer 8″ cake | Cook time about 2 hours | mousse and cake adapted from Martha Stewart

For the Mousse

  • 1/2 C + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 6 Tbsp rosé wine
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 Tbsp rose water
  • 3 tsp lemon zest
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 Tbsp butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1 pint cream

For the Fruit

  • 1 peach
  • 1 nectarine
  • 1 plum
  • 2 apricots
  • 1/2 C bing cherries
  • 1/2 C Rainier cherries
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • honey (optional)

For the Cakes

  • 1 + 1/8 C raw almonds
  • 1 + 1/8 C flour
  • 1 + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 eggs, separated
  • 1 + 1/8 C honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp rose water

Make the mousse first:

  1. Place sugar, egg yolks, wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt, in a small-medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer, and maintain the simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Immediately strain the mixture through a wire-mesh colander, and into a medium-large mixing bowl.  Gently push the solids in the colander to remove as much liquid as possible.
  3. Stir the butter into the mixture, and let it melt.  Slowly add cream while mixing continuously.  The mixture will immediately thicken into mousse.  Stir until well-incorporated, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days, before using.

Work on the fruit next:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Rinse, slice, and pit the fruit.  Cut peaches, nectarines and plums into sixths or eighths, depending on their size.  Apricots into sixths.  Cherries in halves.
  3. Place sliced fruit in large bowl, toss with lemon juice and honey (if using).
  4. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and roast in oven for 15 minutes.
  5. Fruit can be prepared up to a day ahead, and stored in refrigerator if made ahead.

Finally make the cakes and assemble:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Or if you’ve just made the fruit, simply keep the oven on after removing the roasted fruit from the oven.
  2. Grease three 8″ diameter round cake tins and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Pulse the almonds in a food processor or spice grinder; may need to work in batches.  Sift ground almonds into a small bowl.  Any almond chunks remaining in sifter should be re-pulsed until they will pass through the sifter.  Get as much of the almonds through the sifter as possible.
  4. Sift flour and salt into ground almonds, and stir to combine.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, honey, vanilla, and rose water.  Whisk to combine well.  Slowly add these wet ingredients to the almond-flour mixture, and mix thoroughly.  Batter should be a bit thick.
  6. Place egg whites in bowl of mixer, and whisk on medium-high speed for 6-8 minutes, or until volume has more than tripled and the egg whites form glossy, stiff peaks.
  7. Gently fold batter in to egg whites until well-incorporated.  Distribute batter evenly amongst three prepared cake tins.
  8. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  9. Cool in baking tins for 10-15 minutes, where the cakes will shrink a fair amount.  Transfer to wire rack, remove parchment paper, and let cool to room temperature.
  10. To assemble, alternate layers of:  cake, mousse, fruits.  On the top, garnish with either fresh or roasted fruits (fresh fruits shown in photos).  Serve immediately.

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