I had half a packet of savoiardi haunting me from my pantry and I knew if I didn't get rid of them I'd wind up dunking one after the other of these crumbly Italian sponge fingers into my hot coffee. So I decided to make a cake with them and eat them that way instead.
Savoiardi Cake with Almond Frosting
For the Cake:
About 12 - 16 (depending on size) savoiardi (Italian sponge fingers) blitzed in a food processor to give you 2 cups of crumbs
About 1 cup toasted raw almonds blitzed in a food processor to give you 3/4 cup of finely ground meal
1/2 cup plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
225g unsalted butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 eggs separated, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup caster sugar
For the Filling:
Freshly whipped cream
For the Frosting:
120g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
Pinch of salt
1 - 2 tablespoons buttermilk
Make the Cake:
Preheat the oven to 175C and grease and line two 23 cm round cake pans with baking paper. Set aside.
Put the crumbed sponge fingers, toasted almond meal, flour, baking powder and salt into a mixing bowl and stir to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat again. Reduce the speed to low and had a third of the flour mixture, followed by half of the buttermilk. Once just combined, add another third of the flour mixture followed by the remaining buttermilk. Gently add the remaining flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Stop the mixer.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until frothy. Gradually add the caster sugar and whisk until soft peaks form. Fold the whisked egg whites into the crumb batter and divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans.
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before turning them out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Make the Frosting:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until smooth. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and almond extracts and salt and beat to incorporate. Add enough buttermilk to give you a spreading consistency.
Put one cake onto a cake plate. Spoon the freshly whipped cream into the centre and spread to the edges. Top with the other cake.
Spoon the frosting on to the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the cake and down and around the sides. Scrape the sides of the cake with the edge of the spatula to just smear the sides and give it an even look. Use the tip of the spatula to "draw" a spiral into the frosting on top of the cake. Now, put the kettle on.