Ganache Glazed Marzipan Cake with Cognac Soaked Apricots


We all need a few cakes in our repertoire to rely on for special occasions, and this marzipan cake is perfect for important birthdays, anniversaries and other significant events. It is elegant, sophisticated and actually improves in texture and flavor if made one or two days in advance. This recipe features almond paste in the batter for flavor and moistness, minced apricots soaked in cognac and folded into the cake, and dark chocolate shavings. The top is covered with a layer of marzipan and then glazed with chocolate ganache. Dede made this cake for a family member’s high school graduation and the father proclaimed that even if she never created another dessert in her entire life, that she had justified her existence with the invention of this cake! Yes, it’s that good.

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.

Bakepedia Tips

  • The almonds for the batter must be blanched or they will darken the color of the cake and dry it out. Also note that sliced almonds give the proper measurement.
  • American Almond brand makes the almond paste we love packaged under the Love ‘N Bake name. We recommend it for the cake batter, for its superior flavor and texture. Do not substitute any pre-made marzipan for this step or the almond paste that comes in a tube often found in the supermarket; the texture and flavor are radically different in each case.
  • Dried apricots come from various sources, typically Turkey and California. We highly recommend Blenheim California apricots for their intense flavor and vivid, bold color.
  • If you would like to highlight the apricot flavors in the cake, use 1/3 cup of 100% apricot fruit spread, such as Polaner, instead of the ganache as filling.


6 Responses to Ganache Glazed Marzipan Cake with Cognac Soaked Apricots

  1. Sandie September 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm #

    This looks awesome!

  2. Maria Makarem December 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    this looks amazing, with a very delicate but exquisite taste. Just hope that when I make it it comes out as great as it looks in your page. I have had the bad experience with other recipes from bloggers that don’t put the correct recipe on their page, and being a baker you can tell something is wrong. On the 23rd I made a new gingersnaps recipe from a blogger and they either forgot or did it on purpose, left out the eggs. Me realizing this after I had beaten everything took half of the mixture and added an egg and left the other half as the recipe said. well the one with the egg came out good and the other original recipe was not to be eaten.
    But must say this recipe looks delicious. And sorry for my story but I believe there are people out there that don’t want to really share recipes and write them excluding ingredients. Will try this on monday.. Thank you for the post.

  3. Maria Makarem December 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm #

    Will be trying the Black Out cake too this week for new year’s!!

    • Dede Wilson December 27, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      Maria, you have chosen an easy cake – the Blackout – and a challenging one – the marzipan cake. As with any recipe, especially with baking, ingredients are key, as is technique. For the best results, use the ingredients called for. For instance the choice of almond paste in the marzipan cake can make or break the result. As far as typos, they do happen, even in cookbooks and magazines. One approach would be to write the author and ask for a clarification. Sometimes you might help bring a typo to their attention and it is usually much appreciated. Happy baking! You have chosen two of my favorites.

  4. S Ross May 1, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

    I’d like to make this cake, but there’s something important in the recipe that’s unclear to me. Ingredients say 6-1/2 oz of almond paste (marzipan). Instruction #4 says to “add the almond paste [for the cake batter] and beat until combined.” Presumably this means all of the almond paste. Then Instr. #7 says to “Roll out marzipan on work surface….Place marzipan circle on top of cake.” But if the 6-1/2 oz of marzipan is added to the cake batter, how can you roll it out to put on top of the cake as well? Can you please clarify this?
    Also–in Instr. #3 you make an almond meal using flour, almonds and salt. Is it okay to use a pre-made almond meal–such as Bob’s Red Mill–instead?
    Thanks for your answer to these questions, as I’d really love to make this! S Ross

    • Dede Wilson May 7, 2016 at 10:47 am #

      The marzipan under Have Ready is for the top of the cake once it is baked. The almond past is INCORPORATED into the batter. And YES you can use pre-made almond flour…I prefer made from blanched almonds.

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