I just made this cake recipe from epicurious.com and boy is it a looker (mine came out exactly like the photo) !!! It tastes amazing too. It has everything you could want in a cake- texture and taste wise.
While it does have several elements to it, it is well worth the effort :)
In just under 5 hours I made a tasty masterpiece.
One suggestion for the almond cake component: if your almond paste is a bit hard, microwave it for 20-30sec on high (if it is in a large piece). Otherwise, you'll have a heck of a time (like I did) trying to incorporate it into the mixture.
While it says to use cake flour, I only had cake and pastry flour and used that; it worked fine.
Because you're working with three pans, you'll have to use two racks, so make sure you rotate the pans midway through baking.
The cakes need to be cooled completely before you frost, otherwise the filling will run everywhere. I live in Canada, so that was no problem. I just placed them outside on my backyard table(-8 Celsius.. my own outdoor freezer.haha)
Also, while it recommends using all of the chocolate ganache for the cake filling, I would recommend scaling it back a bit. A few of my family members mentioned that it overpowered the almond cake's taste.
(the recipe says it takes 6 hours to set in the fridge but mine only took 1 1/2 hours.)
The chocolate I used was Lindt dark (I suspect 50-60% cocoa content). Next time I may increase that to 70-75%.
The mascarpone frosting was delicious, but mascarpone is quite costly. Any suggestions on alternatives if I want to make this for another non-special occasion (I was thinking cream cheese but it may be too dense)
Now my question is, what is the best way to preserve the leftovers (freeze)? Will this cake still taste good in the fridge with my makeshift plastic bag dome? (As per Aida's suggestion, http://www.chow.com/stories/11262 I stuck skewers into the cake to prevent the icing from being smeared onto the bag.. worked like a charm!)
Next time, I may make the almond praline salted (mmm with some fleur de sel)
I hope you'll try this recipe out :)
Cheers and Happy Baking