8 eggs, separated
2 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. sugar, divided
1 c. flour
1 c. corn starch
1/4 t. salt
zest of one lemon
Preheat oven to 350º.
Prepare two 9″ cake pans: butter and flour bottoms and sides. Line the bottom with parchment and butter and flour the paper.
Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. While continuing to beat the whites slowly add 3/4 c. sugar until the whites stiffen into firm peaks.
In clean bowl beat the egg yolks, 3/4 c. sugar, vanilla extract and lemon zest for five minutes, achieving a pale yellow smooth froth.
Fold the yolks into the whites. Sift together the flour and cornstarch. Holding the sifter over the egg mixture slow incorporate the dry and wet ingredients, turning the batter gently with a spatula to maintain maximum volume.
Smooth the batter equally in the prepared pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven, run a spatula around rim of pans, turn out the cakes then set them right side up on a cooling rack. When completely cool peel off the parchment. Slice cakes in half horizontally.
FOR THE FILLING:
1 c. orange marmalade (blood orange if you have it, bitter Seville style is wonderful too)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 oz. white chocolate
1 c. heavy cream
1 stick butter
1 1/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, well drained
Gently melt the chocolates in the cream. Cut the butter into bits and stir into the barely hot chocolate/cream mix. In a mixer beat in the sugar until smooth. Stir in the cherries. Set aside to allow to cool completely. It will thicken as it cools.
1/2 c. shelled pistachio nuts
3 T. granulated sugar
Rub and pinch the nuts to remove as much of the papery skins as possible. Roughly chop half of the nuts, leaving the remainder whole.
In a non-stick pan heat the sugar over medium-high heat. When beads of clear liquid start to appear quickly stir in the nuts. Stir stir stir, the sugar will quickly darken and cloak the nuts. When well-coated and medium brown turn out the nuts onto an sheet of oiled foil. Spread out to separate the nuts. Let cool and break up any large clumps with the side of a meat mallet.
ROYAL ICING AND DRAGEES:
Fondarific colored fondant and dragées are available on Amazon
4 t. Amaretto
1 c. blood orange or bitter orange marmalade
Drip 1/2 t. of Amaretto on each of the four cake halves.
Warm the marmalade in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Spread half on the bottom later. Top the marmalade with a layer of chocolate ganache. Stack on the second layer and cover with ganache. Add the remaining marmalade on the third layer and cover with ganache. Set the top layer and cover the cake completely with ganache.
Roll the fondant into a 10″ circle, 1/8″ thick. Drape over the top of the cake and press gently to smooth contact with the ganache.
Roll a 4″ wide band of fondant into a ribbon long enough to circle the cake. Cut one edge in a straight line so it meets the serving platter evenly. Wrap the cake with the fondant ribbon, pressing to adhere to the ganache.
Flare out the top of the ganache ribbon and tuck in the candied pistachios, allowing them to spill over cascade of opulence.
Decorate with fondant flowers and dragées.