This cake is made with a very light almond sponge cake with an intense vanilla flavor and is frosted with a mascarpone cream flavored with almond extract. One of the internal layers is a pear jelly with pear chunks, which contrasts excellently with the almond flavor of the cream and sponge cake. The goal behind this recipe is to evoke the wonderful flavor of Vanillekipferl cookies, made with almond and vanilla, and to incorporate an extra refreshing touch of pears.
In the Vanillekipferl cookies recipe that I posted a few days ago, I already explained how crazy we are about these cookies. And that, in fact, we should have saved some for another recipe (this cake). But we suddenly ended up eating them all. Well, so big has been the obsession with these cookies, that I thought this year’s Christmas cake should be a tribute to these wonderful sweet snacks.
By the way, I’m not the only one obsessed with those biscuits. Just a few days after posting the recipe, the instagram community launched into making them and I received a ton of photos, comments, videos, etc. with your versions of them and absolutely everyone is delighted with them and agrees how addictive they are!
And the thing is, when I like something, I can’t help repeating it. The combination of almond and vanilla seems exquisite to me, so I have tried to reproduce it in the form of a sponge cake, using a vanilla bean to obtain a more intense aroma and flavor. The cream of the cake uses almond extract, a flavor which is essential in any good Christmas sweet.
I have added the pear to give it a fancy touch. My first intention was to use apples, but then I thought that I already have a lot of apple Christmas desserts on the blog, so in the end I jumped right into the next seasonal fruit. I am super satisfied with the result, it is an exquisite cake! Light as a feather and perfect for these dates. I gave my neighbor half the cake, because it was obviously too much for the two of us, and she has assured me that it is the best Christmas cake she has ever eaten 🙂
As for the decoration, I simply wanted to give the cream a wave shape, because I confess that it is very difficult for me to smooth the cakes with white cream. The crystal ball and the deer in the decoration are an inspiration from the blog at Twiggstudios.com. A blog that I admire for its photography and wonderful recipes.
Vanillekipferl Pear Christmas Cake
This cake is made with a very light almond sponge cake with an intense vanilla flavor and is frosted with a mascarpone cream flavored with almond extract. One of the internal layers is a pear jelly with pear chunks, which contrasts excellently with the almond flavor of the cream and sponge cake.
- FOR THE CAKE:
- 3 eggs
- 120g sugar
- 5 Tbsp of warm water
- 1 vanilla bean
- 100 g flour
- 30 g cornstarch
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch of salt
- 50 g almond flour
- FOR THE PEAR JELLY:
- 3 medium ripe pears (or canned pears)
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 250 g pear juice
- 6 gelatin sheets (or the agar-agar equivalent for the vegetarian version)
- FOR THE FROSTING:
- 500 g mascarpone
- 400 g whipping cream (very cold)
- 80 g icing sugar
- 2 tsp almond extract
- FOR DECORATION:
- 8 or 10 Vanillekipferl biscuits
- 1 sprigs of rosemary
- Silver sprinkles or edible silver glitter
Preheat the oven to 170ºC with a fan. Grease a tall 18cm in diameter pan or 3 shorter pans.
To prepare the cake, in the bowl of the stand mixer or with a hand mixer and the whisk attachment, beat the eggs with the sugar, water and vanilla for at least 5 minutes. Until the mixture is whitish and grows in volume.
In another bowl, sift all the dry ingredients. Incorporate them into the egg mixture in 2 additions, mixing with a spatula in enveloping movements so that the batter does not lose the air.
Pour the dough into the pan (or pans) and bake for about 25 minutes if you do it in 3 separate pans or about 35 to 40 if you bake it in a single one. In any case, poke the cake with a toothpick to make sure it is cooked inside. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before unmolding.
To prepare the pear jelly, cut the pears into small cubes. Put the gelatin sheets to hydrate in cold water. In a saucepan, pour the pear juice, lemon juice and pears in pieces. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, drain the gelatin sheets and add to the saucepan while it is still hot. Mix until dissolved.
When the mixture has cooled down a bit, pour it into an 18 cm diameter pan and chill in the fridge until it hardens, for at least 4 hours.
To prepare the frosting, mix the mascarpone with the sugar and the almond extract for 1 minute until creamy. Add the whipping cream and continue whipping for about 2 minutes, until the cream hardens and forms hard peaks.
To assemble the cake, place a layer of sponge cake as a base and cover it with the jelly layer. Cover with another layer of sponge cake and frost with cream, so that the height of the cream is approximately the same as that of the jelly. Frost the entire cake with the rest of the cream. You can shape the cream with the spatula. Decorate with the Vanillekipferl biscuits and the sprigs of rosemary. Lastly, sprinkle with sprinkles or edible glitter for an extra Christmas touch.