Sunday, October 2, 2011

Cake of the Last Day

I refuse to keep this to myself: The Secret are an amazingly brutal, and punishing band from Trieste, Italy. Their album Solve et Coagula creates an atmosphere that draws you in. To me it feels like one continuous piece of music taking you through a dark and angry landscape, instead of several separate, unrelated songs, just slapped together. It's like Dante's Inferno, except without the happy ending!
"Solve et Coagula" in Latin actually means "Dissolve and Coagulate." In other words, separate and come together. Perfect!
Of course, like most of their lyrics, this could also be a reference to the current state of Italian politics and culture.
Their previous albums (Luce & Disintoxication) were released on the now deceased label, Goodfellow Records. Fortunately for everyone, they've been welcomed into the Southern Lord coven.
The Secret also curated a Mix Tape over at Cvlt Nation. It's made up of what they typically listen to while driving around on tour. Why aren't you downloading it already?

This recipe is based on an Italian Cassata cake. It's a sponge cake brushed with rum syrup, shot full of cannoli filling, and topped with whipped cream. Personally, if this was all I had to eat on my last day, I'd be totally fine with that.

The Secret:
Cake of the Last Day

Makes 24

Metal Constituents:
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
For the Rum Syrup:
For the Filling:
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup Maraschino cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, or chopped chocolate
For the Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Merciless Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups, and set aside.
  2. Whisk cake flour and salt together, set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites until frothy.
  4. Add cream of tartar, and continue beating until soft peaks form, set aside.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and ice water together.
  6. Gradually add sugar, mix well.
  7. Add flour mixture in 3 parts, continue beating.
  8. Add lemon juice and almond extract, mix well.
  9. Fold egg whites into batter in 3 parts.
  10. Fill baking cups about 2/3 full.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one cupcake comes out clean.
  12. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
  13. To make the rum syrup: Combine sugar, water, and rum extract in a small saucepan.
  14. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  15. Boil until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5-7 minutes, and set aside.
  16. To make the filling: If necessary, drain ricotta cheese in a cheesecloth-lined sieve.
  17. Begin whisking heavy whipping cream in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  18. Add powdered sugar and vanilla, and continue whisking for about 5 minutes.
  19. Fold ricotta cheese, cherries, and chocolate chips into the mixture until all ingredients are well distributed. Set mixture aside.
  20. To make the frosting: Chill your mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the fridge for 20 minutes before using- 5 minutes in the freezer if you're pressed for time (trust me, it makes a difference).
  21. Pour the cream into the cold mixing bowl, and whisk on medium-high speed until it starts to thicken.
  22. Slow the mixer to medium speed, and gradually add powdered sugar.
  23. Continue to whisk until soft peaks form.
  24. Add vanilla, and whisk until stiff peaks form.
  25. To assemble your cupcakes: Insert a sharp knife into each cupcake at about a 45 degree angle, about half an inch from the edge of the cupcake.
  26. Using a circular motion, cut a cone-shaped piece from the center of each cupcake.
  27. Remove cake cone. Eat or discard.
  28. Brush or drizzle the top and inside cavity of each cupcake with a generous amount of rum syrup.
  29. Fill each cupcake with at least a teaspoonful of ricotta mixture.
  30. Spread a thin layer of ricotta mixture on top of each cupcake.
  31. Pipe whipped cream onto each cupcake.
  32. Top with more mini chips, and a maraschino cherry.
  33. Our last will is to eat these cakes.
*These cakes are actually better after the flavors have been allowed to come together (or "Coagula"). I recommend baking them a day or two before you plan on serving them and then keeping them in the fridge. Frost at the last minute.

Here is some footage of The Secret playing "1968" during their American tour last Spring.
They're so fucking great!


phyte club katie said...

I love the petal pink filling in the middle! That's one of my favorite colors to eat -- like the "pink lingerie" float: pineapple sherbet with cherry 7-up. Thanks for sharing the Secret, too!

Kathy Bejma said...

That drink sounds AMAZING! Do they still make Cherry 7up? The filling in these cupcakes is pink from the Maraschino cherries. Overall, these cakes were super delicious, if I do say so myself...