recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
yields 12-16 servings
For the cake
1 box vanilla cake mix (along with the ingredients listed on the back of the box)
3 teaspoons almond extract
For the cream
2 4oz containers of plain mascarpone cheese, brought to room temperature
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sliced almonds (save an add'l 1/4 cup for garnish, pulsed in food processor)
For the white chocolate ganache
1 package white chocolate chips (at least 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup heavy cream
Prepare cake mix as directed in 2 8in round pans, adding almond extract. Let cool and remove from pans. Once cooled completely, (I leave in them in the fridge for 30 mins so I know they are nice and cold) carefully slice each cake lengthwise with a serrated knife to form 4 even layers. Put back in the fridge until assembly.
Next make the ganache by heating cream over the stove on med heat until it comes to a slight boil. Make sure to watch it carefully. Add white chocolate chips to a bowl. Pour ganache over chips and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a whisk, mix together until blended. Let cool in fridge until it has come to a manageable consistency. If it's too thin, it will pour too much off the cake layer. I put the bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes, stirring it occasionally and it was perfect.
To make the cream, whip together cheese, sugar, vanilla, and heavy whipping cream with electric beaters until peaks form. I chill a stainless steel bowl in the freezer so it whips faster. Fold almonds into cream.
For the assembly, take 2 layers of cake and ladle ganache evenly and immediately put it back into the fridge. Let cool until it hardens (it won't become a hard layer like a chocolate bar, but it will stiffen up a bit) Once ready, take 1 layer with white chocolate and top with 1/4 cream. Top with a plain layer and top that layer with 1/4 cream. Stack the other white chocolate ganache layer and 1/4 cream. Finally, place last plain cake layer on top and add the rest of the cream. Garnish with almond dusting. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Enjoy!