07 March 2006

Mmmmm Marzipan~

After reading Linda's (Make Life Sweeter) blog entry for a marzipan covered cake, I remembered my own experience over one year ago with my marzipan covered wedding cake. Oh to relive the experience--of eating the cake that is! I decided to cover it in marzipan because it is so much tastier than fondant, but mostly because almonds and marzipan are a typical Italian flavour and I wanted to include them. I also wanted to have a simple presentation and to put my efforts into achieving a marvelous flavour instead. As you can see from the photo, the cake was decorated only with some fresh currants and a few flowers. The cake I made was an egg- and butter- rich hazelnut sponge, which I adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for a plain butter cake. For between the layers I made a real buttercream and flavoured it with Grand Marnier. The end result was a rich but not heavy cake with a complex nutty, orange taste--exactly what I wanted, but more stress than I bargained for! In order have the freshest possible cake, I slotted about two hours to cover it in marzipan (at a pastry shop that I had apprenticed at), in between my manicure appointment with my mom downtown and my wedding rehearsal uptown. It was pouring rain the day before my wedding, and we were running late at the spa--not to mention I hadn't considered the stress of trying to roll out huge pieces of marzipan with a freshly done manicure...suffice it to say, I was the last one to show up for my wedding rehearsal!

The photo I posted beside my wedding cake is of typical Sicilian confections made by expert hands out of marzipan. Good quality marzipan is sweet for many palates, and I think it is most delicious when paired with other flavours, as a complement.
In a bit of a long winded aside, one of the most memorable moments I shared with my husband Antonio when we first met was during a bicycle jaunt we took from his grandfather's farm in Sicily. We hopped off the ancient bikes, surrounded by rolling hills and the great expanses of a moody sky, to sit beneath an almond tree, crack open the green shells with a heavy rock, and devour the sweet white flesh inside. I felt that I was in another world entirely from the one I knew, and I felt my emotions strangely mirrored by the wild landscape. I wonder if the Sicilian terrain played a significant role in our love story? Perhaps this is why I feel so strongly pulled back in that direction. Or it could just be the concrete jungle and swarming masses of people "taking care of business" that is doing the compelling...


Anonymous Barbara said...

In Sicilian Carousel Lawrence Durrell writes about the smell of the almond blossoms around Agrigento in February.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Isn't it nice how early spring must come in Sicily? We were really hoping to visit in the spring this year, especially since I had read about the wonderful wild flowers that emerge at that time, but because of my last university exam we had to go in June instead. "Sicilian Carousel" is now on order for me at the neighbourhood library!

1:10 PM  
Anonymous linda said...

Wow...your cake looks beautiful! What stress you must have had rolling that marzipan...but also what a great feeling cutting your own cake at your wedding!

4:19 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

It was a nice feeling! Everyone commented on how good the cake was, in comparison to other wedding cakes they had that looked fabulous but tasted mediocre. One more reason for the huge smile pasted onto my face for the entire shindig! With all the family related stress surrounding our big day on both Antonio and I however, I was really glad when my wedding was over and that I could finally wake up beside my true love in the morning...

12:01 PM  

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