It’s funny to think that during the holidays I do the same thing every, single year. I get so psyched up about wanting to be the perfect planner and holiday baker. I carefully make my plans only to realize, plans change.
Like this cake! I had every good intention to post it before Christmas. It was totally forgotten with my mess of holiday baking photos. I think it’s not too late to enjoy it.
Spontaneity is cool. I like that I spontaneously baked this cake and everyone liked it. Well, mostly the adults. There is rum in it. The kids had other sweets to eat so don’t feel too sorry for them.
It reminds me of Christmas in Italy. It makes me want to spontaneously reserve tickets on the next flight to Italy and surprise my in-laws.
Some images from this past summer in Italy. I’m dreaming a little.
Since that isn’t really going to happen, I’ll bake some more Italian sweets and dream a little more of Italy and my mother-in-law spoiling us.
This cake is delicious with it’s buttery shortbread crust, thin layering of marzipan and jam. The moist cake is filled with juicy rum soaked raisins and topped with pinoli. If you aren’t a marzipan fan, you could leave it out.
Orange Marzipan Cake
Source: Gorgeous Cakes by Annie Bell
Makes 1×8-inch cake
1/3 cup (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup sugar
4 medium eggs, plus 1 yolk
1/3 cup dark rum
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup raisins
1 2/3 cup self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
7 ounces marzipan
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1/3 cup orange jam
3 tablespoons slivered almonds
3 tablespoons pine nuts
Put all the ingredients for the shortbread in a food processor and reduce to crumbs, then keep the motor running until the mixture comes together into a ball.
It will be very soft and sticky at this point, but press it into the bottom of an 8-inch springform cake pan.
Chill for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degree F. To make the cake, put the butter and sugar in the food processor and cream for several minutes until very pale and fluffy. Add the eggs and the yolk one at a time, scraping down the bowl if necessary. Incorporate the rum. Pour this batter into a large bowl. Toss both types of raisins with a little flour to coat them.
Sift the remaining flour and baking powder over the batter and fold it in, then fold in the dried fruit.
Thinly roll out the marzipan on a counter dusted with confectioners’ sugar until it is transparently thin, barely thicker than a quarter. Cut out an 8-inch circle (the size of your cake pan).
Spread the jam over the top with a spatula evenly over the marzipan.
Spread the batter on top.
Scatter the nuts over it and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
Run a knife around the edge of the cake and let it cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. The cake keeps well in a covered container for several days.
Thanks for stopping by to say CIAO! Hope you had a fabulous week. 🙂
this is one of the most interesting combos i've seen, it sure looks great! anne
The pictures are beautiful the cake looks amazing.
I was just debating making a swiss almond raspberry layer cake that has lots of almond paste in the batter, and then I see this, and this is all I want! Marzipan and almond paste in baked goods (like olive oil) lifts them up to a whole new dimension - at least for me. It looks beautiful, as do your photos from Italy. The photo of your husband's grandmother making eggplant with the kids is priceless. 🙂
Savoring Italy says
Thanks Lisa. I hope you still make the Swiss almond raspberry layer cake. Sounds incredible:)I know. Nonna Antonia is so fabulous. She's too far away:)
Beautiful post Lora! Amazing photos, and recipe is so tasty!
Have an amazing weekend!!!!xoxo
I want to surprise your in-laws, too! Fabulous photos of Italy...especially your wee ones helping out their great grandmother. And fabulous cake, too....mmmmmm. Have a great weekend, Lora!
Oh Lora I love this recipe! The cake is stunning, so pretty and it looks delicious! And love anything orange. Perfect! And love the photo of the great-grandma with her nipotini. Adorable! And I love the Italians!
Oh, and one day I want to meet you in Italy!
I so enjoyed all your posts from when you were in Italy this year and I love seeing the pictures of the kid's grandmother baking and cooking. This cake looks marvelous and I'm glad that you remembered to post it. Hope you get another visit back to Italy soon 🙂
The Mom Chef says
If you ever need a spontaneous partner when you buy those spontaneous tickets, I'm in. I love and adore that country. I'm not a marzipan fan, so yeah, I'll be omitting that, but the cake looks amazing. So, so gorgeous.
Savoring Italy says
Thanks and yes...I will be spontaneous with you:)Are you a quick packer?;)
It lives up to the name "gorgeous cakes." I love the combination - and prefer this over heavy-laden cream filled stuff (although I would happily eat those). The photos make me want to spontaneously buy a ticket and go back. But the most endearing was that of Grandma with the kids.
Savoring Italy says
I prefer it to heavy-laden cream filled but would also not pass up a nice cannoli;)
Kiri W. says
Anything with marzipan I can never, ever resist, and this looks fantastic 🙂 Beautiful, beautiful torta!
EA-The Spicy RD says
If your kids are like mine, I won't feel sorry for them at all 🙂 Lovely cake, and pretty pictures from Italy too. Only 14 days in to 2012 and I think I'm ready for a vacation!
Savoring Italy says
Thanks EA:)So am I;)
Thanks for sharing your pics from Italy and great flavors in this Italian inspired cake! I, like you, usually do a lot of planning during the holidays only to have my expectations unmet. This year, I just went with the flow and it was much better. Great post.
Savoring Italy says
It is much better to just go with the flow:)thank you:)
A Thought For Food says
Didn't want to give the kids a taste of rum? 🙂 This looks marvelous darling!
Kim Bee says
This is such a sweet post. Love all the pics, particularly the one of the kids grandmother. The cake is gorgeous. I bet it tastes crazy good.
My goodness this cake looks fantastic! I want a piece right now. I'm salivating over the photos!
Great cake recipe! Love the fact that it is an orange flavor cake. It looks wonderful Lora 🙂
Have a great week.
Baking Serendipity says
I love the photos of your dreaming 🙂 Italy is a place that is definitely on my travel bucket list. I was so envious of your trip last summer! I also love that you went ahead and made this cake even though it didn't line up with your original holiday baking plans. I love the spontaneity of it 🙂 PS: I have a giveaway going on now that I think you might be in to!
Barbara | Creative Culinary says
Love this cake...I never got to make my one absolute; some cookies from my grandmother. I don't know why I ONLY make them for Christmas Eve but seems we all get into a rut of traditions sometimes. This looks fabulous to me...yummmmeeee. 🙂
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says
Oh yum! Now I know how to change up recipes to keep them away from the kids ha! Rum. Love it. 🙂
When I think of marzipan I think of old world artisans. This cake invokes those feeling of family and traditions. Love your photos of Italy and the kids with their great grandmother.
This cake looks delicious!!! Great photos!!
I wouldn't dream of leaving the marzipan out! So delectable - the cake is dreamy. Your photos are priceless - love the one of Great Grandma! xoxo
This is stunning! Thanks, also, for sharing your photos of Italy....such a lovely place! Grazie - tutto buono!
I love marzipan.. so glad you shared this. I know my mom would love this fab sweet!
Ah wouldn't it be so good if we could be little more spontaneous (and have the means to be such)? We went to Italy last year and want to go back again so bad.
This looks so inviting, I have to try some Italian desserts to scratch that itch I guess 🙂
Oh, this looks amazing! I love the orange and pine nuts to top such a great combination. Great job!
Happy When Not Hungry says
This cake looks beautiful! I absolutely love marzipan. Your photos of Italy are beautiful too.
Amber | Bluebonnets and Brownies says
Such a gorgeous post! It's hard when you've got family all over the world. I can relate, my inlaws are in the UK, and it's a constant goal to stay connected. Love the photo of the kids with great grandma!
Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says
Magical Italy and drool worthy torta 🙂 thanks for sharing the photos...
Magic of Spice says
Beautiful photos! I would not mind joining you on a spontaneous trip to Italy, or for that matter a slice of this wonderful cake 🙂
Everythign is gorgfeous. I am so glad to have found you. Than you for the lovely comment on Kelly's interview. I am a new follower here. so nice to meet you my friend:)xoxoxoxo Hanna
Lora you always have me wanting to jump on a plane and visit all my relatives in Italy. Cake looks delish!