Rainbow or seven layer, whatever the kids call 'em these days, have always been a hit in my neck of the woods. The petite tri-color delight is not only good in flavor, but a crowd-pleaser as well. They silence children, satisfy the fickle eater, and they're colorful! Though reproduced, and poorly I might add, by the masses, these remain a tradition of old-school Italian American bakeries.
Though the known way is to use apricot jam, the Borgognone way is to use fresh raspberry preserves.
- 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- One 8-ounce can almond paste
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Red food coloring, to your liking
- Green food coloring, to your liking
- One 12-ounce jar raspberry preserves
- 7 ounces fine bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line three 13-by-9-by-2-inch metal baking pans with foil, leaving some overhang. Grease with 2 tablespoons of butter, set aside.
Beat the egg whites in a mixer with a whisk attachment at medium-high spead until soft peaks form. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, until stiff peaks form. Transfer to large bowl, cover, and refrigerate.
With the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste and remaining ¾ cup of sugar until well blended, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining butter and beat until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add yolks and almond extract and beat until combined thoroughly, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed, then add the flour and salt, and mix until just combined. Fold in egg-white mixture in halves.
Divide batter among 3 bowls. Stir red food coloring into one and green food coloring into another, leaving the third batch plain. Spread 1 bowl of batter into each prepared pan; smooth tops. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until just set, 9-11 minutes. Keep in pans while cooling.
With a pastry brush, spread half of the preserves over the green cake. Using foil overhang, lift plain layer out of pan. Reverse onto green layer; discard foil. Brush remaining preserves over plain layer. Lift red layer out of pan; invert onto plain layer and cover cake with foil. Top with a 13-by-9-by-2-inch pan. Weigh down the pan with several heavy canned goods to compress the cake layers.
Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.
Remove the cans, top pan, and foil. Transfer the cake to a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Spread half of the chocolate over the cake in a thin layer. Freeze for 10 minutes. Cover with waxed paper, invert the baking sheet on top, and flip the cake. Uncover and glaze with remaining chocolate. Chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
Trim cake to 12-by-8-inches. Cut crosswise into four 2-inch strips. Cut each strip crosswise into ½-inch wide cookies. Cover in an airtight container and keep refrigerated until ready to serve.