This is a showstopping cake, inspired by the Raffaello pralines. A delicious coconut sponge sandwiched with layers of white chocolate ganache and almond whipped cream.
Who does not love a Ferrero Rocher?! I must admit, I can eat half a box at a time (not something I should brag about, I know!). A similar equally delicious invention from the same company is the Raffaello Pralines, as they are referred to.
Delicious crunchy wafer, a silky smooth cream, lovely nuttiness from the almond and a wonderful texture from the shredded coconut. Ah, these components would fit so well into a beautiful layer cake.
So that is what I set out to do – create a Raffaello-inspired cake, which combines the trio of coconut, almonds and a “silky cream”. Interestingly, when looking at the ingredients of the pralines, I discovered that there is actually no white chocolate in them. I guess my cake does then somewhat diverge from the original chocolates, as I sandwhich the layers with a whipped white chocolate ganache.
What was meant to be a two layer cake, quickly turned into a four layer showstopper – I am not sorry about it. There is something quite enjoyable about discovering different flavours of fillings nestled inbetween layers of delicate coconut sponge. I really wanted the coconut cake to be as white as possible, so opted to use only egg whites in the cake. This not only helps the colour, but also produces a lighter sponge.
When I initially tasted the cake by itself, my thoughts were that it is a tad bit dry. I chose to persist with this version of the recipe however, and I glad I did. The contrast of the lighter sponger pairs well with the creaminess of the white chocolate ganache and the almond cream. In a sense, the coconut sponges are more a vehicle to showcase the delicious cake fillings, than serve as a standalone dessert.
I know layer cakes can be intimidating, which is why I have included a few tips below. Follow them carefully and you will be on your way to success. There are a few steps to this recipe, none of them are complicated. In fact, many of the components can be made ahead and stored in the fridge, ready to assemble.
TIPS FOR MAKING THIS RAFFAELLO CAKE
- Can I make some of the components of the cake in advance? The coconut sponges can be made up to a week in advance, wrapped in cling wrap tightly and stored in the fridge. The white chocolate ganache can also be made two days ahead. Just let it come to room temperature before whipping. I recommend that the almond cream be made just before frosting.
- How do I best slice the layers? The coconut sponges should be completely cool. You can even refrigerate them if you prefer. Use a sharp serrated knife to score halfway around the cake, and then gently move the knife around cutting all the way through.
- How do I neatly frost the cake? Frosting a cake can sometimes be a challenge if you have not done it before. Using a combination of straight and offset spatulas to frost the cake. I find adding a thin coat of the cream, just to give the cake it shape, works best. Then set it in the fridge for 30 minutes, before adding the rest of the cream.
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FOR THE WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
- 150g whipping cream, chilled
- 500g white chocolate, 30% cocoa butter content
- Make sure the white chocolate is chopped into small pieces.
- Heat the cream in a saucepan until just beginning to boil. Do not let it boil.
- Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate.
- Let it stand for 5 minutes before stirring to combine the cream and the chocolate.
- Set aside to cool and thicken whilst you make the cake.
- When ready to assemble, whip the ganache until it is aerated and lighter.
FOR THE COCONUT SPONGE
- 360g cake flour
- 30g corn flour
- 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 300g caster sugar
- 80g desiccated coconut
- 125g butter, very soft but not melted
- 120ml coconut oil
- 6 large egg whites, seperated into 2 and 4
- 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
- 2 teaspoons coconut essence
- 300ml coconut milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Grease and line the base and sides of two 20cm baking tins with baking paper. Set aside.
- Add the vanilla essence, coconut essence and coconut milk to the four egg whites. Mix and set aside.
- Sift the flour, cake flour, corn flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl of your mixer.
- Add in the desiccated coconut and sugar to the dry ingredients.
- Add the oil and the butter to the sugar and flour mix. With the paddle attachment of your mixer, beat the ingredients for about a 45 seconds to a minute, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Then slowly pour in the egg and milk mixture, in four additions, letting it beat well for about a two minutes.
- Finally, whip the two egg whites to stiff peaks and fold into the mixture. You may need to do this by hand, as the quantity of egg whites are so little.
- Divide the batter into the two tins. Bake the cake for about 35 – 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, before removing from tins and let cool on a wire rack.
FOR THE ALMOND WHIPPED CREAM
- 200g white chocolate, chopped
- 100g salted butter, softened
- 250g cream cheese
- 200ml whipping cream
- 1/2 teaspoon almond essence (or to your taste)
- Make this when you are ready to start assembling the cake.
- Melt the white chocolate in a microwave, in 15 second bursts. Set aside to cool.
- Cream the butter until pale and fluffy, then add in the cream cheese and continue to beat. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the white chocolate and beat.
- In a separate bowl, white the cream until stiff peaks form.
- Then gently fold the cream into the white chocolate cream cheese mix.
- Finally, add in the almond essence. I recommend doing this a 1/4 teaspoon at a time, and adjusting to it to your taste.
- If not using immediately, refrigerate.
- 300g desiccated coconut
- 80g toasted flaked almonds
- Raffaellos to decorate
- Slice both cakes in half, so you now have four layers.
- Use some of the white chocolate ganache to glue the first layer onto the cake board, by placing a little dollop in the middle of the board and then placing the cake on.
- Spread half of the white chocolate ganache on the cake and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
- Then add the second layer and frost with some off the almond whipped cream.
- Place the third layer on and frost with the remaining white chocolate ganache. Sprinkle over the rest of the flaked almonds.
- Finally, place the final cake layer on the top.
- Frost the sides and top of the cake with the almond whipped cream. You may need to return the cake and cream to the fridge if it becomes to loose. Reserve a bit of the whipped cream for the swirls on the top.
- Once the cake is frosted in whipped cream, dust the cake with desiccated coconut.
- Pipe swirls of whipped cream on the top and top with Rafaellos.
Recipe by adventureswithsugar.com