Ganache Glazed Marzipan Cake with Cognac Soaked Apricots
Makes: Serves 12 to 14
Have Ready:
  • 2 batches (about 4 cups) Chocolate Ganache, soft and spreadable consistency, preferably made with Valrhona Equitoriale (55%) or Valrhona Caraque (56%)
  • 4 ounces marzipan, such as Love ‘n Bake brand
  • 1 cup minced dried apricots, preferably Blenheim
  • ½ cup cognac
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups toasted, blanched, sliced almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounce bulk piece of semisweet chocolate such as Valrhona Equitoriale (55%) or Valrhona Manjari (64%)
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 6½ ounces almond paste, crumbled into pieces, such as Love ‘n Bake brand
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  1. For the Cake: Combine apricots and cognac in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes. Alternately, combine in microwaveable bowl and heat on high power for 1 to 2 minutes or until very hot. Remove from microwave and let sit 10 minutes. Set aside. In either case, take care to not allow the liquor to ignite.
  2. Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat two 8-inch by 2-inch round cake pans with nonstick spray, line bottoms with parchment rounds, then spray parchment.
  3. Place flour, almonds and salt in bowl of food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until almonds are ground to a very fine meal; set aside. Grate the chocolate using the largest holes on a hand box grater; set aside.
  4. Beat butter in standing mixer until creamy with flat paddle on medium-high speed, about 1 minute. Add the almond paste and beat until combined. Add sugar gradually and continue to beat, about 3 minutes at medium-high speed, until very light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Add flour mixture and pulse the mixer on and off taking care not to over mix. Fold in shaved chocolate and apricots with any liquid with a few broad strokes. Divide batter evenly in pans and smooth tops with offset spatula.
  5. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick shows a few moist crumbs when removed. The cake will be tinged with light golden brown around the top and edges and will have begun to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool pans on racks for 5 minutes. Unmold, peel off parchment, and place directly on racks to cool completely. Trim layers to be level, if necessary. Layers are ready to fill and glaze. Alternatively, place layers on cardboards and double wrap in plastic wrap; store at room temperature if assembling within 24 hours.
  6. For the Syrup: Combine water and sugar in a small pot. Stir to wet sugar. Place over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar dissolves, swirling pot once or twice. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature and stir in cognac.
  7. For the Assembly: Have all components ready to use. Place one cake layer, bottom side down, on a cardboard round of the same size and place on cake turntable. Brush with half the syrup, then spread a layer of ganache evenly over cake. Top with second cake layer, bottom side up, brush with remaining syrup. Roll out marzipan on work surface lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar or cornstarch to a thickness of ¼-inch. Using cake pan as a guide, cut out an 8-inch circle. Place marzipan circle on top of cake. Cover top and sides of cake with a crumb coat of ganache; chill until firm, about 1 hour. Place cake on rack set over a clean pan. Heat remaining ganache until fluid, but not hot. Pour the liquid ganache over center of cake; it will spread out and begin to drip down sides. Gently facilitate this process with an icing spatula, to help cover the sides, but try not to touch the top of the cake. Any excess ganache that drips down to pan can be re-used. Chill briefly to set ganache, about 1 hour or up to 1 day.
  8. For the Decoration: Place cake on display plate. You can make a simple flower as you can see in the picture with some extra sliced blanched almonds and a bit of apricot for the center, or, you can go wild and make Marzipan Roses and/or Apricot Roses. Cake may be served immediately or refrigerated in airtight container up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Recipe by Bakepedia at