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Old 12-22-2007, 08:17 PM   #1
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Not an easy cake but memorable for sure

I have a friend who retired and turned 65 at the same time, so we had a small surprise gathering of friends out for dinner and then back to the house. I volunteered to make the dessert and as her mother was from Sicily, and birthday girl had just gone to the Mediteranean last summer, I thought it appropriate to make something Italian. Lo and behold, I found just the ticket in the new Italian dessert cookbook Dolce Italiano by Gina De Palma I had just gotten. It was her adaptation of the traditional evidently national dessert of Sicily called Casata alla Siciliano. OMG, it was out of this world when I served it that night along with lemoncello and cappacino (decaf, I'm sorry to say, but we're all over 65 and needed our sleep later! but it was made with my giant size stovetop cappacino pot and served in appropriate
little white cups with gold trim!)
I don't feel I can just copy her recipe out of her book, but I'm sure you can google a suitable recipe. any way, essentially it is a sponge cake, cut into 4 layers, and soaked with a rum sauce on each layer, then filled with a ricotta, orange zest, shaved chocolate, powdered sugar and pistachio filling. Refrigerate that overnight to let it soak in, and then unmold and frost with a powdered sugar, egg white, almond extract frosting and trim with toasted almonds. Refrig again for at least 3 hours and then when ready to serve, I topped it with my newly made candied orange peel and maschino cherries.
De Palma made a comment that in Sicily it often has green frosting. Anyway every pot in the kitchen was dirty, the counter was littered, and it took a darn long time to make. (My hubby came to my rescue and washed every one of those pots and pans) I've probably only made a couple of cakes that complicated and each one marked a very special occasion. One was a maple wedding cake with homemade candied violets for one of my daughters. The other one was a Lord Baltimore cake marking a special lady's 90th bd.
If I would make it again, I would definitely change the sponge cake to one of my favorite ones --the Sunshine Sponge Cake.


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Old 12-22-2007, 08:37 PM   #2
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Funny you should bring up Gina DePalma. I just saw her on a December 3rd episode of The Martha Stewart Show. Gina prepared a wonderful Italian yeast bread dessert called Gubana. Since then, I've made Gubana 3 times and have adapted the recipe to reflect a family recipe, Potica, that has turned out fabulously. Look here for the recipe. It's awesome but a bit labor intensive. I would say this comes under my complicated recipe category, but more than worth the time/work.

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Old 01-16-2008, 11:36 AM   #3
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Back in college, I had to make a "Zebra Torte". First, we made a sheet of chocolate sponge, and a sheet of white sponge, each was about 1/8" thick. We cut these in 1 1/2" wide strips. Then, we stacked one of the white sponge strips on top of one of the chocolate sponge strips, then started rolling it into a torte. I can't remember what we did to the torte after that step. It should be in the Profesional Pastry Chef book, one of the textbooks for the CIA. That wasn't the textbook we were using at my school, but, the Instructor Chef had one, and used it many times for reference.
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Old 01-16-2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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Zebra Torte

Well, that sounds interesting and another one or the "project cake" books. Did you get to eat it?
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