Martha made this delicious, festive cake on Martha Bakes episode 504.
- Servings: 10
- Yield: Makes 1 domed 10-inch layer cake
- 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for bowl
- 3 cups cake flour (not self-rising), plus more for bowl
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus a pinch
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
- 1 cup milk
- 8 large egg whites
- Amaretto Simple Syrup
- John's Almond Swiss Meringue Buttercream
- 1/2 cup apricot jam
- John's Almond Swiss Meringue
- 3 chocolate-covered coffee beans, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a stainless-steel bowl that is 10 inches across and 4 1/2 to 6 inches deep; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter, 2 cups sugar, and vanilla seeds on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in four parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large, wide bowl; set aside.
In the clean bowl of electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt on high until soft peaks form. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and continue to beat until stiff medium-stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Whisk one-third of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten the mixture, then use a rubber spatula to gently fold in remaining whites until just combined.
Pour batter into prepared bowl and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating bowl halfway through, until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes clean, about 1 hour, 40 minutes. Transfer bowl to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Invert cake onto the rack and let cool completely.
Line a bowl slightly smaller than the cake with plastic wrap, leaving some overhang. Fit cake into bowl. Using a serrated knife, trim the bottom of the cake to make level. Invert cake onto a clean work surface or cake turntable. Using a serrated knife, cut cake horizontally into four layers of approximately the same height.
Place the bottom (largest) layer on a cardboard round or serving plate. Brush the top liberally with Amaretto Simple Syrup. Using an offset spatula, evenly spread about 1 cup Almond Buttercream over the top, about 1/4 inch thick. Top with the next-largest layer, and brush with syrup. Spread apricot jam in an even layer over the top. Place the next-largest layer, and brush with syrup. Spread about ½ cup buttercream over the top. Place remaining (smallest) layer on top. Brush the surface of the entire cake with syrup. Spread about 1/2 cup buttercream over the entire cake in a thin layer. Cake can be made up to this point up to 1 day in advance; refrigerate, covered, until ready to proceed.
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (such as an Ateco #5) with Almond Swiss Meringue. Pipe stars to cover the entire surface of the cake, pulling up as you pipe to form points. Using a small kitchen torch, lightly brown the meringue all over. Garnish cake with coffee beans to form the eyes and a nose of the hedgehog. Let cake stand at room temperature until ready to serve, up to 6 hours.