- 1 white cake mix
- 3 Tbsp. raspberry jam
- For Pastry Cream Filling:
- 2 cups half and half
- 5 egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- pinch salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- For Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- For Whipped Cream:
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- For Marzipan:
- 1 lb. Marzipan, store-bought or homemade
- 3 drops green food coloring
- confectioner’s sugar for dusting rolling pin
The day before assembling cake: Make the pastry cream: bring the milk to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and salt in a bowl until smooth. Add half of the scalded milk into the bowl containing the eggs, whisking constantly to incorporate, then return the entire mixture to the saucepan containing the remaining milk, whisking over moderate heat. Continue whisking, about 2 to 5 minutes, until the mixture is thickened and begins to simmer. Allow pastry cream to simmer, whisking for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and 4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter. Transfer into another bowl and allow to cool completely. Cover and refrigerate at least 5 hours and up to 3 days before using.
Prepare white cake mix according to instructions, but pour 1/3 of batter into one 9” cake pan and 2/3 of batter into second 9” cake pan. Bake and cool on rack. When cakes have cooled, use a serrated knife to slice larger cake into two equal halves. (Note: cake can be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated, uncut, for 1 day or frozen, uncut, for up to a week. If baked ahead, slice the larger cake when assembling on the day of serving).
To assemble cake (on day of serving): Make a simple syrup by heating together 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Brush syrup lightly on each of the three cake layers, taking care not to oversoak.
For whipped cream, whip together 3 cups heavy cream, 3 Tbsp. sugar, and 1 Tbsp. vanilla until stiff peaks form.
For the marzipan: Knead green food coloring into store-bought or homemade marzipan, then shape marzipan into an 8”-long disk. Place disk between two 18”-long lengths of waxed paper. Then, working from the middle of the marzipan, use a rolling pin to roll out the disk into a 16” circle of even thickness.
Spread 1 Tbsp. raspberry jam on each of the two halves of the larger cake. Divide the pastry cream into thirds, folding 1/3 gently into the whipped cream. Spread the remaining 2/3 of the pastry cream on top of the raspberry-jam level of the two cake halves. Stack the two pastry-covered halves, then top with the remaining cake.
Frost the sides of the cake with the whipped cream in a 1” layer and then spoon the remaining whipped cream on top of the cake. Use a spatula to smooth the cream into a dome.
Remove the top level of waxed paper from the marzipan. Dust your rolling pin with confectioner’s sugar, then drape the marzipan circle over the pin and transfer it to the cake (you can lightly roll the marzipan around the pin as you would a pie crust).
With your hands, gently press the marzipan down over the cake, working from the top down. Smooth it down the sides, then cut off any excess at the bottom with a knife or cooking shears. Tuck in the marzipan under the edge of the cake. Tip: If the marzipan on the cake tears during placement, you can cut the remaining trimmings into decorative shapes and simply press these over the tears (this is a nice way to decorate the cake even if it’s perfect already! Alternatively, use additional uncolored or differently colored marzipan to create leaves, roses, or other shapes). Also: In order to hide less-than-perfect bottom edges, some bakers wrap a pretty ribbon around the bottom of the cake, removing before serving).
Sprinkle cake with confectioner’s sugar or decorate with marzipan cut-outs. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Yield: 20 servings.