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Pistachio apricot cake with mascarpone filling and whipped cream frosting

For your next celebration consider this pistachio-flavored cake layered with mascarpone filling and fresh apricots, and topped with whipped cream frosting. 

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For the stabilized whipped cream frosting
Yield: about 3-4 cups frosting. Enough to generously frost one cake and have leftovers.

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Mollie Zapata lives in Boston, where she is a graduate student by day and bakes for her friends, roommates, and classmates by night. She balances her decadent baking creations with healthy "real" meals, and loves creative flavor combinations, epic layer cakes, and exploring new ingredients.  Mollie blogs at www.eatrunread.com.

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1 teaspoon gelatin powder

4 tablespoons cold water

2 cups whipping cream

1 speck of salt

8 tablespoons confectioner's sugar

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (I don’t know how absolutely necessary this is, but it can’t hurt and I’m paranoid about my whipped cream melting.)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Make the cake

 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 8-inch or 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and butter the paper.

2. Spread out the pistachios in a baking pan and toast in the oven for 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly colored. Transfer to a dish and let cool completely. Finely chop the pistachios and set 1/4 cup aside for decoration.

3. Put the remaining 1/2 cup pistachios in a food processor. Add the sugar and pulse just enough to grind them finely.

4. Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Blend with the mixer on low for 30 seconds. Add the butter, milk, and vanilla and, with the mixer on low, beat until completely incorporated.

5. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the beaten eggs in 2 or 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only long enough to blend after each addition. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liners, and let cool completely.

Make the mascarpone filling

Beat cheese, cream, sugar, and vanilla with a mixer until smooth.

Make the whipped cream frosting

1. Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl to soften (about 5 minutes)

2. Scald 4 tablespoons cream; pour over gelatin, stirring till dissolved.

3. Refrigerate until consistency of unbeaten egg white (about 30 minutes, but check it so it doesn’t become too firm.)

4. Using a hand-mixer, beat until smooth. (If you accidentally let it get too firm in the fridge, just beat it for longer, it should loosen up).

5. Whip remaining cream. Add salt, sugar, vanilla, and cream of tartar; beat in gelatin mixture. 

Assembly

1. Once the cake is completely cool, make the mascarpone filling. Spread a little less than 1/3 of the mascarpone filling on your first layer. Arrange apricot slices.

2. Spread a very thin layer of mascarpone filling on the underside of the next layer and place it on top of the apricots (so it goes mascarpone-apricots-mascarpone, and keeps the cake from getting soggy from the fruit). Repeat for the next two layers, and if you have any leftover mascarpone, spread it around the outsides of the cake as a “crumb layer.”

3. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours. (At this point, don’t worry about how it looks because it will all be covered in whipped cream soon!)

4. Make the whipped cream frosting and cover the whole cake. Decorate with a few slices of apricot and pistachio pieces.

5. Invite friends over and serve at room temperature.

Related post on Eat.Run.Read.: Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Bundt Cake

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