two. days. until. the. olympics!!!!!!!!!!! have you been following all of the ig stories of all of the skaters flying to korea and going through team processing and getting all of their fancy team outfits and rings and stuff?? it is so fun, i love looking behind the scenes.
but starting thursday, everybody please keep your voices down, i have to focus on every single figure skating event and also hockey and some speed skating and chloe kim and her great hair. it's going to be great. it's all in my ical.
please enjoy this cake that is my ode to team usa!! it's basically a big soft loaf of an italian almond cookie that's been shaped into an american flag and and topped with a marzipan olympic-y logo. it's sooo rich and almondy and requires so much butter (!!!!!). you're going to think that your stand mixer is gonna overflow, but don't worry, it won't (it shouldn't if you have at least a 5 qt), and this recipe makes two cakes so you can enjoy one during the opening ceremony and one during the closing ceremony. or share one with a friend who is equally excited about team usa figure skating. (are you that friend?? can you also be my friend? i think my friends are sick of me talking their ears off about axels.)
i thought it'd be easiest to show you how to build this cake rather than try to write down every direction, so my friend paul and i made the above video that will walk you through the steps! and the music is by my super cool bro-in-law, john cwiok! everybody check out his tunes. thanks, paul and john!!! also big thanks to eggboy who did his best to be the rafael arutyunyan of this scenario.
team usa cake
makes 2 loaf cakes
6 large eggs, separated (see note)
1/4 c (50g) plus 1 1/4 c (250g) sugar
2 c (450g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
16 oz (450g) almond paste, chopped or torn into pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tb lemon juice
1 tsp almond extract
3 c (384g) all-purpose flour
1 c (240g) whole milk
1 tsp blue liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel
1 tsp red liquid food coloring or a few drops of gel
1/2 c (150g) apricot or raspberry jam
10 oz semisweet or dark chocolate chips
1 c (240g) heavy whipping cream
Marzipan kneaded with food coloring
preheat the oven to 350ºf. grease two 8” by 12” quarter sheet pans and one 8” by 4” loaf pan and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2 inches up two of the sides of the pan.
in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. with the mixer running on medium, gradually add the 1/4 cup of sugar. increase the speed to medium-high and beat to stiff peaks. set them aside (see note). in a large bowl or in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, almond paste, salt, and remaining 1 1/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. reduce the speed to medium and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. beat in the lemon juice and almond extract, then reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the flour and milk in 2 or 3 alternating additions. mix to combine. use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites.
transfer 780g of the mixture to one of the quarter sheet pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. transfer 525g of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the blue food coloring and spread evenly it in the loaf pan. fold the red food coloring into the remaining third and transfer it to the other quarter sheet pan, spreading it out evenly.
bake until the tops are just set and no longer shiny. begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. the blue layer will need at least 5 more minutes than the other layers since it's quite a bit thicker. let cool in the pans.
refer to the above video on how to assemble, spreading the jam between each of the layers. wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap, weigh them down with a big cookbook, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. tip: placing the loaf cakes on rectangles of cardboard will make transferring them easier!
trim the edges of the cakes and place them on a wire rack that's been place on top of a sheet pan. make the ganache: place the chocolate chips in a large heat safe bowl or measuring cup. bring the heavy cream to a boil in a medium saucepan (keep a close eye on it and remove it from heat as soon as it starts to boil otherwise it will boil over), pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit for about 30 seconds. then stir it up until you have a smooth ganache. Pour it over the cake, allowing any excess ganache to drip down onto the sheet pan (you can reuse the ganache, reheating it if it firms up), and using an offset spatula to smooth it all over.
Top it with marzipan olympic rings and sprinkles. Enjoy immediately or stick it in the fridge for a few minutes for the ganache to firm up.
Leftovers will keep at room temp for a few days or in the refrigerator for a little longer.
Note: with any recipe that calls for beating something else in the same mixer, I do a few steps to cut down on dishes and ensure that my egg whites don't have any bit of yolk in them, which will cause them not to beat to stiff peaks. I first separate an egg into 2 medium bowls. I then pour the white into my mixer bowl. then I repeat for each egg, adding the whites one by one so that if one gets contaminated, they're not all ruined. and then i beat the whites to stiff peaks first, scoop them out of the mixer bowl, and then use the mixer bowl for the next step. if you use a rubber spatula to get 95 percent of the whites out, there's really no need to rinse the mixer bowl for the yolk step.