This impressive-looking but easy-to-make torta mimosa is made to honor Italian women on International Women’s Day.
For the Cake
Butter, for the pans
4 extra large eggs
6 egg yolks
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
11/3 cups cake flour
¼ cup potato flour or cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter three 8-inch-by-11/2-inch cake pans. Line the pans with parchment paper and butter the paper. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer on high speed, beat the eggs and egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture turns light yellow, is smooth and quadruples in volume. Stir in the vanilla. The mixture should be very thick.
- In a seperate bowl, sift the cake flour, potato flour or cornstarch, baking powder and salt together. On medium speed, blend in the flour mixture. Divide and pour the batter into the cake pans.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until the cakes are firm to the touch and light golden brown. Cool the cakes to room temperature. Remove them from the pans and peel away the parchment paper. Let the cakes cool completely.
For the Filling
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
½ cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1/3 cup flour
Zest of 1 large lemon
2 cups heavy cream
- Pour the milk into a 1-quart saucepan, and stir in the vanilla extract; cook over medium heat until the milk just begins to bubble at the edges. Remove from the heat.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolks and 1/2 cup of sugar with an electric hand mixer until they are light yellow. Beat in the flour, a little at a time, until smooth. Beat in 1/3 cup of the milk mixture and blend well. Add the egg and flour mixture to the remaining milk in the pan and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
- Pour the resulting pastry cream into a bowl and cover with a buttered sheet of wax paper. Refrigerate several hours or make ahead.
- Whip the heavy cream with 2 table-spoons of the sugar and fold into the pastry cream. Refrigerate until ready to fill the cake.
For the Sugar Syrup
½ cup water
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup liqueur, such as Cointreau or limoncello
- Pour the water into a small saucepan, stir in the sugar and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat; when the mixture looks clear, remove it from the heat and stir in the liqueur.
- Cool and set aside.
- Cut each cake in half horizontally to get 2 layers. Set aside 3 layers. Trim the outside dark crumb of the remaining three layers if necessary and cut the layers into ½-inch cubes. Place them on a baking sheet in a single layer; cover and reserve them until ready to assemble the cake.
- Line an 8½-inch-by-4¼-inch-deep glass bowl with plastic wrap, allowing it to overhang the pan by 4 inches.
- Place 1 cake layer in the base of the bowl and gently press it down so it is touching the base of the bowl. Brush the cake with 1/3 of the Sugar Syrup and spread with 1/3 of the pastry cream. Repeat with 1 more layer of cake, syrup and pastry cream.
- Place the third cake layer on top. Fold the overlapping plastic wrap over the cake and gently press on it to settle and even the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour.
- When ready to serve, unwrap the top of the cake and place a cake plate over the top of the bowl. Turn the bowl over to release the cake and gently pull back the plastic wrap and discard it.
- Spread the cake with the remaining pastry cream, covering it completely. You can save any leftover Sugar Syrup for another use.
- Press the reserved cake cubes onto the top and sides of the cake.
- The cake can be made and refrigerated at this point, loosely covered with foil. When ready to serve, sprinkle the cake with confectioners’ sugar and cut into wedges with a serrated knife.
Recipe from Ciao Italia: My Lifelong Food Adventures in Italy by Mary Ann Esposito