Nothing could be simpler. Two bowls, one balloon whisk and one pot for frying is all you need to make these… really. Minimal whisking: add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and form dough. Slap it down on the counter, pat it down with your hands and cut into circles. Chill them while the oil heats up and fry them. You just made old fashioned cake doughnuts with minimum effort and in record time. They are best rolled into cinnamon sugar. But it wasn’t just the two of us today so I glazed a few. The cinnamon sugar doughnut holes were my favourites. We ate them while hot so there is no photo. I made only half of the recipe and I still got 8 fair sized doughnuts and as many doughnut holes. Recipe was adapted from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I simply LOVE that book.
I grew up with yeast doughnuts myself, but there are a surprisingly large number of people who go for the old fashioned ones. I like the fact that you can cut the recipe in half and make 6 to 8 only. Yeast doughnuts are a lot more work and take time. It doesn't seem to be worth all the fuss to make half a dozen. But these were easy and quick and we had real doughnuts before I could get into the car and go through Tim's for a box of six. A couple were left for the following day and they were still good. This is a brilliant recipe.
Recipe for 16 Doughnuts:
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
3-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup 14% sour cream
2 large eggs
3/4 cup 3.25% buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying
• Melt the butter, but not fully. Keep stirring until no chunks remain. Set aside.
• Line one baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
• In a medium bowl, whisk the sour cream eggs and buttermilk until combined.
• Add the butter and whisk again.
• Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquid ingredients into the well.
• Gently fold the flour into the liquid center until dough forms.
• Sprinkle a cutting board lightly with flour and place the dough on top. Do not kneed. • Sprinkle flour on the top and press on the dough to flatten out about 1/2 inch thick.
• Using a large and a thimble sized biscuit cutter press out the rounds. Occasionally dip the cutters into flour so they won’t stick.
• Arrange the doughnuts and doughnut holes on the parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer while you heat the oil.
• Get a heavy pot large enough to fry 3 doughnuts and add about 1 inch of vegetable oil.
• Place on medium heat and heat the oil to 365F. Do not heat up the oil too fast, because the doughnuts will burn on the outside and remain raw in the inside. If you don’t have a thermometer, it takes about 5-7 minutes to heat up the oil. Drop in a doughnut hole to test it. If the oil sizzles around the doughnut hole and it bobs in the oil you may start frying the doughnuts.
• Fry only 3 doughnuts at a time.
• It takes 2-3 minutes) to fry before turning them over with a slotted spoon.
• Fry them on the other side for 1 minute longer.
• Maintain the correct oil temperature throughout the process.
• Using the slotted spoon transfer the doughnuts to a paper towel lined tray to drain.
• The doughnut holes will cook much faster.
• Dip the hot doughnuts into cinnamon sugar or a glaze.
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tbsp cinnamon
• In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon.
4 squares Bakers semisweet [or 4 oz good quality dark chocolate], chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
• Place the chopped chocolate in a medium wide-mouthed bowl.
• In a small saucepan, heat the cream until it is just about to boil.
• Pour the cream over the chocolate and wait 1 minute.
• Whisk until smooth.
• Whisk in the butter.
• Keep the mixture warm.
• Yields glaze for 10-12 doughnuts.
2 cups icing sugar
1/4 cup whole milk
1 pkg. vanilla sugar
• In a medium sized bowl whisk together ingredients.
• If you prefer a thick white vanilla glaze on the doughnuts, wait until the doughnuts cooled down. I like a lighter glaze so I dipped the hot doughnuts into the glaze.
• Yields glaze for 10-12 doughnuts.
Lovely, this cake is simply lovely. The recipe comes from Baked Explorations by pastry chefs Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. This is not a cake for beginners, but I have some useful comments so if you are thinking of making this lovely American classic it is doable, provided you follow the instructions and leave the experimentation for another occasion. If you have to shell the pistachios you may want to give it an extra day. In any case, give this cake two days.
Chances are you will not find shelled pistachios and you will have to do the job yourself. I have seen people advising to pound on the nuts in a plastic bag to break up the shells. This results in a lot of crushed nutmeat, and while picking out the nuts among the debris, there is a good chance bits of hard shells will get mixed into the nutmeats. Trust me on this, I have a walnut tree and I tried every possible shortcuts to make the cracking go faster and the one by one method still supersedes all others. Two thirds of the pistachio nuts are splitting already so are easy to shell. The tougher ones just need a hit with a meat tenderizer and these too will crack open. Hit the nuts one by one and the quality of your shelled pistachios will be excellent.
If you have no access to fresh unsalted pistachios, get the raw salted type. You can rub the shelled nuts into a clean tea towel and then pour it into a sieve, one of those large plastic types with the large holes. When you shake the sieve side to side the tiny bits will fall though the holes along with most of the salt. Some salt will remain, so do not add salt to the cake batter. The lightly salted pistachio decoration will provide a pleasant contrast to the honey buttercream. The only unpleasantness is the feeling of salt on the fingers.
This entire cake is based on chemical reactions so it is imperative to diligently follow the instructions. Any deviation could result in a disaster or in dense, thin cake layers and shelling a pound of pistachio nuts is not something you will want to do for awhile. I used three disposable 8 inch aluminum round food containers. I read a suggestion to bake only two layers, I disagree; two layers even if baked in 9-inch cake pans would be too cakey. However the three cake layers with the honey buttercream in between are in perfect balance.
1 cup shelled pistachios
2-1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt, only if using unsalted nuts
1-1/2 cups ice cold water
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup vegetable shortening, at room temperature
1-3/4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1 batch of honey buttercream
1/3 to1/2 cup shelled pistachios for decoration
• Shelling the pistachios takes time, so don’t start on the cake until the pistachios are ready.
• Preheat the oven to 325F.
• Add a tray of ice to 1-1/2 cups of cold water and place it in the fridge for use later.
• Line the bottom of three 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper.
• Spray the paper and the sides generously with cooking spray and set aside.
• Pulse the pistachios in the food processor, until they are coarsely chopped.
• Add two tablespoons of chopped pistachios to a large mixing bowl and set it aside.
• Process the rest of the pistachios until very fine. Add the finely chopped pistachios to the rough chopped pistachios in the bowl.
• Sift the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda.
• Add salt only if using unsalted nuts.
• Whisk ingredients to combine and set aside.
• In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the shortening. It is imperative to use soft butter and shortening.
• Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
• Add the whole egg and mix to combine.
• Remove the ice water from the fridge.
• Scoop out the ice and discard the ice water that is over 1-1/2 cups.
• Set the beater to low and start adding the flour 1/3 at the time and the ice water [1/3 at a time].
• Scrape down the sides as needed and beat until flour and ice water are fully incorporated. Do not overbeat.
• In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Not too soft, just before hard peaks form.
• Use a rubber spatula to fold the egg whites into the batter.
• Divide the batter among the 3 pans and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
• Transfer the cakes [still in the pans] to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.
• Lightly wrap the cakes still in the baking pans and place them in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
• Take the cakes out for icing one at a time.
• Remove cake from pan and slice off the rounded dome on the top.
• Pull off the parchment and place on a serving plate.
• Spread evenly with a layer of honey buttercream.
• Repeat with the remaining layers.
• Arrange the cake layers in the following order:
• 1st layer – cut side down, 2nd layer – cut side down, 3rd layer – cut side up
• Spread a layer of honey buttercream on the sides and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
• Remove from the fridge and finish icing the cake.
• Chill for a couple of hours and decorate the top and the base with pistachio.• For the most delicate crumb and for optimum serving potential, take the fully chilled cake and let it sit at room temperature for 1 hour. [The authors advised two hours, but I found that after two hours at room temperature the texture of the cake was a little crumbly and the honey buttercream became too soft to handle.]
To be used to fill the Aunt Sassi Cake, or some other delicacy. My grandma had a layered honey cake, which she was very proud of and I have yet to make it for posterity. As you see I am not overly fond of honey flavoured baked goods. But I forgot there was honey in this delicate buttercream. It’s unbelievably beautiful. Not for the faint of heart to make, but I have some pointers that will make it easier. I did not think 1/3 cup of flour was wholly sufficient, next time I will add 2 extra tablespoons. The recipe has been altered to reflect this. There is a suggestion to chill the honey buttercream if it starts to melt. By all means refrigerate it, but do not think you can put it in the freezer and then beat it back into the velvety cream it used to be. It will remain grainy, as the final layer of my icing job attests to it.
The most important advice is let the cooked component cool down to room temperature before adding the butter. If you don’t do that, you will have ample trouble with the cream. What is chopped up soft but cool butter as the recipe suggested? You take the butter out of the fridge, cut it into small squares and place them on a plate. By the time the cooked part of the cream is at room temperature the butter will be just right. If you follow the recipe it ought to work. I made all sorts of mistakes, but in the end it worked out. Next time this should be hassle free provided I follow my own suggestions.
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp flour
1-1/2 cups whole milk
1/3 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 cups unsalted cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 Tbsp honey
• Take the butter out of the fridge, cut it into small squares and place them on a plate and set aside.
• In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk the flour and sugar together.
• Add the milk and cream and cook over medium heat, whisking regularly.
• Cook until the mixture comes to a boil.
• Cook the mixture on medium high for 10-12 minutes or until thickened.
• Transfer the sugar cream mixture to a bowl and beat on high speed until it reaches room temperature.
• Pack lots of frozen vegetables around the bowl of a standing beater; this will speed up the cooling process. It supposed to be at room temperature after 10 minutes of beating. Not true. I had to beat it for 17 minutes.
• Turn the beater down to low and add the butter chunks a little bit at a time. It may look like the butter won't blend in and you'll be stuck with chunks of butter. Just keep mixing and it will smooth out.
• When the butter is all incorporated, increase the speed to medium high and beat until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes.
• Add the honey and vanilla and just beat to combine. Do not overbeat. Overbeating will collapse this buttercream. This might seem like a contradiction, but should it collapse, chill thoroughly [do not under any circumstances place in the freezer to speed things up] and beat again until fluffy.
I rediscovered my wok. It’s true what they say if you don’t keep it out you will never use it. I even forgot I had one. Then the other day my better half was showing the grandgirl what a wok looks like. “See, I bought this for grandma for Christmas once, but she never uses it.” Well I will prove him wrong I thought and when I saw this curry recipe in a women’s magazine waiting at the doctor’s office, I wrote down the key ingredients on a slip of paper. Now I am sure this isn’t authentic Indian curry. It probably never was, I mean have you ever seen an authentic gulyás in a North American magazine? This is probably true of everything Indian as well. In fact this was so not authentic; I almost had all the ingredients... almost. I replaced the fennel seeds with caraway seeds and I decided it was hot enough without the chili powder so I used sweet Hungarian paprika instead. It turned out very nice and I made it again since.
1 broccoli flower
2 large red potatoes peeled
2 Tbsp oil
2 pinch of mustard seeds
1 pinch of fennel seeds [or caraway seeds]
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 fresh tomato, chopped
2 pinch of turmeric powder
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp Hungarian paprika
salt to taste
• Wash the broccoli and cut into florets. Set aside.
• Cut the peeled potatoes in half and then cut them into uniform slices.
• Place in a deep skillet and pour hot boiling water over the potato slices. Do not add salt.
• Bring to the boil and cook until potatoes are almost, but not quite tender.
• Meanwhile peel and slice the onion and set aside.
• Chop the tomato and set aside.
• When the potatoes are ready, drain them and set them aside.
• Next place the wok on medium high heat.
• Add the oil and when it’s hot add the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and the cumin seeds.
• When the cumin seeds begin to pop, add the sliced onion.
• Fry the onion slices until transparent and add the chopped tomatoes.
• Sauté the onions and tomatoes in the spice infused oil stirring, for 2 minutes.
• And the broccoli florets, the turmeric, the curry powder and the paprika and sauté for 2 minutes.
• Add the potato slices and season with salt.
• Sprinkle with a little stock or water and cook covered for 2 minutes until potatoes are tender but still a little crunchy.
• Serve immediately.
These are perfect and the refrigerated dough apparently lasts for a week. If you want you can have fresh lángos for a week. I like it with sour cream and grated white cheddar. You can also serve it with sour cream and purple onion slices or with a cabbage topping. For the kids, just sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or eat it plain. I lost count how many lángos I fried in the course of the week. Between the two of us 3 is the limit. The dough started to smell yeasty after 4 days, but the lángos was still perfect. I still have a large chunk of dough in the fridge and I am starting to think we may not finish it in time.
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
2-1/2 tsp instant dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups flour
• It is useful to have a standing beater with a dough hook.
• Place the milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a standing beater and sprinkle 2 Tbsp of flour on the top.
• Let it stand for 10 minutes. It is not normally required to proof instant dry yeast, but in this case it speeds up the process and makes a loftier lángos.
• Add the eggs and whisk together with a large balloon whisker until well combined.
• Add the salt and gradually start adding the flour.
• Switch to a dough hook or a wooden spoon and gradually beat in the remaining flour. • When the dough is formed beat for at least 4 minutes or until the dough is very elastic.
• Remove the amount needed and place the remaining dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate for an hour.
• Shape the dough into a ball, cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
• Divide dough and shape into large egg sized balls, and place on a lightly floured board.
• Flatten the dough balls and roll into about 3 mm thick disks.
• Let them rest for 15 minutes.
• Place a skillet on medium heat and add about an inch of vegetable oil. If you have an electric stove, give time for the oil to reach frying temperatures.
• Lower the flatbread into the frying oil.
• Turn it over and fry until both sides are nice golden.
• Place on paper towels.
• After all the flatbreads are fried spread them with a topping of your choice and serve.
The Christmas baking that never was and now I have an odd assortment of various items in my pantry, like sweetened condensed milk. They are just begging to be used. Not what I had in mind for them at the time, but Christmas is over and now I want something quick. So here is another Eagle Brand bar cookie.
A bit of an update on the home front: Dishwasher is hooked up and working. The guest room is dried out, insulation, wallboards and ceiling tiles have been replaced and everything is repainted. The one thing that remains is replacing the cut out sections of the underlay and cleaning the stained carpet. If that can be done next week, the furniture goes back and the downstairs hallways will be finally free of clutter. Make the bed and hang the blinds. After that I can send out a few out of town invites. We have a first class queen sized bed down there that remains untouched by the dishwasher flood. I wonder who will be our first guest.
2 cups graham crumbs
3/4 cup butter, melted
1 can [300 ml] regular or low fat sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
1-1/2 cups white chocolate chips
• Preheat oven to 350F. [325F for glass dish]
• Combine graham crumbs with butter; press evenly onto parchment paper-lined 13 x 9" baking pan.
• Pour Eagle Brand evenly over crumb crust.
• Sprinkle the cranberries, chopped apricots and white chocolate chips on the top.
• Press down firmly.
• Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until edges become lightly browned.
• Cool thoroughly and chill.
• Cut into 24 bars.
Back in the days when I used to make standing rib roasts, I removed the meaty bones and made devilled beef bones with this zippy sauce. Our beef days are over and I can’t even remember the last time I used hot ketchup. The sauce is still zippy, but you can turn it up a little if you like. This one is a fast dish and is ready as soon as the tiny meatballs cook through and no longer pink in the middle. Serve it with rice, but good with buttered noodles too.
300 g of lean ground pork or chicken [ground turkey is rude]
1/4 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 sprig of fresh parsley finely chopped
1 Tbsp onion flakes
salt to taste
2 Tbsp oil for slow frying
1/2 cup ketchup regular or hot
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
3 large pinch of celery seed water
• Make the meatballs first. In a large mixing bowl combine the lean ground pork or chicken, egg, fine breadcrumbs, a sprig of finely chopped fresh parsley, onion flakes and salt.
• Form small meatballs, about the size of an egg yolk.
• Heat up a non stick fry pan on medium heat.
• Add the oil and slow fry the meatballs, turning them over often, until no longer pink in the middle.
• Remove from heat and set aside.
• Next make the zippy sauce.
• Add the first five sauce ingredients to a measuring cup and top it up with water to 1 cup.
• Whisk together with a fork.
• Pour the sauce over the meatballs and bring to a slow simmer over medium heat.
• Slowly simmer for 3-4 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
• Serve with rice or buttered noodles.
I am not all here, not yet [long story] but I just had to emerge from seclusion. Most of our furry band of meteorologists predicted an early spring earlier this month, plus today is Valentines Day. So the people who are near and dear are counting on cake. And here it is. It is red, the crumb is like velvet and the flavour is rich with chocolate. What an intense, lovely cake this is! Lots of sugar I have to admit, but hey it doesn’t taste overly sweet, actually it tastes just right, and besides whoever heard of self deprivation on the day human love is celebrated. I used the same recipe as for my red velvet cupcakes back in July. You can never have too much red velvet. Cupid I didn’t let you down. Have a happy soon to be spring and Happy Valentines Day!
1 cup soft butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup 14% sour cream
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 Tbsp liquid red food coloring [this is a surprisingly large amount]
1/2 cup cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup milk
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp vinegar
Cream Cheese Icing:
250g cream cheese at room temperature
1/3 cup butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
6 cups icing sugar
• Preheat the oven to 350F.
• Fully line two 9 inch spring form cake pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
• Combine the soft butter and the sugar.
• Beat until very fluffy.
• Add the eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla and the food coloring. It is important to add the food coloring early, to disperse the color in the cake batter evenly. Beat well.
• Add the cocoa and the baking soda and 1 cup of cake flour. Beat to combine.
• Add the vinegar and beat to combine.
• Add the remaining cake flour and beat to combine. Do not overbeat.
• Divide the batter among the two prepared pans.
• Bake the cake layers for 36 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. • Place the cake pans on a wire racks.
• Let the cake layers cool completely.
• When completely cooled down, place the cakes still in the pans in the fridge.
• Chill for about an hour.
• Meanwhile prepare the cream cheese icing. Beat the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream and vanilla until just combined.
• Add the icing sugar and beat to combine.
• Add more icing sugar for stiffer icing. Do not overbeat. The more you beat cream cheese icing the runnier it can get.
• Remove one cake from the fridge.
• Unhook the spring mechanism and remove the ring from the cakes.
• Grasp the bottom parchment, pull off and carefully slide the cake onto a platter. The chilled cake is fairly stable at this point. Do not invert.
• Spread the top evenly with cream cheese icing.
• Remove the second cake from the fridge.
• With the flat side up place the second cake on top of the bottom layer.
• Carefully pull the parchment from the cake.
• Chill the cake for an hour.
• Spread a thin crumb coating of icing over the well chilled cake.
• Place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
• Remove cake from the fridge and spread the top and the sides with cream cheese icing.
• With the remaining icing pipe shells or rosettes on top of the cake
• Sprinkle candy hearts around the base.
• Chill the assembled cake for half an hour.
The 2012 Cake of Hungary was created by Zsolt Pintér at the Kokó Confectionary in Veszprém, Hungary. I made a version of it yesterday and it seems I can’t get enough of this complex, well balanced, beautiful cake. I don’t think I tasted anything as lovely since I made Sissi’s birthday cake. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t the poppy seeds; to tell you the truth I am not really a poppy seeds fan. I love these cakes for entirely different reasons. The harmony of the seemingly unrelated flavours and textures grabs your senses and holds you captive with the first bite… I wish I could share a slice with Sissi, I think she would appreciate the beauty of this cake.
At first I was going to increase the cream, it was almost not enough, but in the end I realized it was just the right amount to balance the apple and cake layers. I will just have to spread the cake layers a little thinner next time. I couldn’t manage to get 6 layers out of my baking pans, but I must say that five layers worked out rather well.
*The original recipe called for grated apples for the apple filling. Granted, these would have produced neater, thinner layers, but I was concerned about mushiness, so I thinly sliced them instead. If you prefer to grate the filling, use 500 g of peeled, grated apples. Grated apples really pack down, and so the volume would be considerably less and cooking time would also be shorter. It is therefore better to weigh the apples if you plan to grate them and be mindful of the shorter cooking time.
Great care must be taken assembling and slicing this fragile cake and I would strongly recommend to freezing the cake layers before the assembly. Have the fruit filling cooked and cooled and the cream ready to spread before you remove the cake from the freezer. Once assembled, chill the cake but you cannot freeze it again, because freezing the apple filling will make it mushy.
The original cake called for heat treated poppy seeds. Unless you live in a large city, you will have to use your smarts to get any kind of poppy seeds, but heat treated? - Not likely. I buy my year’s supply of poppy seeds about two weeks before Christmas, by then the poor souls bought up all of last year’s rancid seeds and I can get to the fresh ones. Timing is of essence, if I buy too early, the seeds will be rancid. If I leave it too late, there won’t be any poppy seeds left in the stores. So there must still be Hungarians left in town who honour our Christmas beigli tradition. Then I noticed some of the recipes suggested grinding up the seeds. Well that’s a bloody chore with a tiny coffee grinder and so I thought I should try heat treating the seeds myself.
*I started out with a quarter of a cup and when I saw the poppy seeds really did soften up in a non stick skillet, I heat treated the rest. You have to preheat the skillet at a low medium. If you use an electric stove, be very careful not to start out with high heat, because even though you turned down the heat, the pan will still be much too hot for the seeds. The seeds will burn and turn bitter on high heat. So give it time, and don’t hurry this process.
1-1/2 cups + 3 Tbsp poppy seeds
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs
1 tsp finely grated lemon rinds
3/4 cup, peeled and grated granny smith apples
2 cups egg whites [buy egg whites, otherwise you will have lots of leftover yolks]
1-1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp sugar [do NOT reduce sugar]
3-1/2 Tbsp butter 5 cups of peeled and ether thinly sliced granny smith apples
* or 500 g peeled and grated granny smith apples
1 Tbsp Fruit Fresh
1/4 cup sugar juice of 1/2 lemon [remove the seeds]
2 pinch ground cinnamon
2-1/3 cups milk
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup sugar
1 stick of vanilla
1 cup 35% whipping cream
Make the cake the day before. Leave the cake in the baking pans and freeze them. Do not divide or cut the layers yet. This will be much easier with a frozen cake.
If you have 5 identical sized round cake pans, use them. I don’t, so I made a slab cake instead. I could have made a six layer slab cake with two same sized rimmed baking sheets, [the original cake was six layers], but since I only had one I had to supplement the second baking sheet with a smaller baking pan. This required additional planning to get the five cake layers I needed for this cake.
• Line the bottom of the baking pans you are using with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper and the sides of the pans and set them aside.
• Next is heat treating the poppy seeds: Place a large non stick skillet on the stove over low-medium heat. If you have an electric stove, it will take a few minutes to heat up the pan. If you haven’t done so, please read the last paragraph marked with a *. When the pan is thoroughly heated, add the poppy seeds and gently stirring with a heat proof plastic spatula [gently, because the seeds can scrape the coating of the pan] until the seeds begin to steam a little. Continue to stir for 1-2 minutes and then remove the skillet from the heat. Transfer the poppy seeds into a large chilled bowl to cool. The seeds must cool down to room temperature before starting the cake.
• Preheat the oven to 375F.
• Next peel and grate the apples. Do not worry about the apples going brown; these will be mixed into the poppy seeds.
• Add the grated apple, breadcrumbs and the grated lemon peel to the poppy seeds.
• Mix to combine and set aside.
• Next beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form – do this gradually. Start with medium low speed and let the beater go at that speed for a couple of minutes. Then increase the speed and beat it at medium for a couple of minutes and then beat it on high until the peaks are stiff. There is a fine line between stiff and overbeaten egg whites, so be careful not to overbeat. At the final beating I stop the beater several times to check for the consistency.
• Gently and gradually fold the poppy seed mixture into the beaten egg whites.
• Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans in an even height. This cake is fragile and you won’t be able to slice the cake layers horizontally.
• Bake in a preheated oven for 12-14 minutes.
• Remove from heat and let cakes cool down in the pan.
• Transfer the pans to a freezer for the night.
• In 2-3 hours, the tops will be solid enough to gently cover the cakes with plastic wrap.
Apple and Cream Fillings:
• Next day, prepare the apple filling first.
• Peel and core the apples and slice as thinly as possible.
• Place in a large skillet on medium low heat.
• Sprinkle with Fruit Fresh, add the sugar, lemon juice and the cinnamon.
• Slowly sauté the apples until they are almost tender.
• Remove from heat and let the apples come to room temperature.
• Meanwhile make the cream.
• In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup of cold milk with the cornstarch and the egg yolks and set aside.
• Heat the remaining milk with sugar and the vanilla bean in the microwave.
• Transfer to a pot and bring to a slow simmer.
• Very gradually add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the cold milk mixture you set aside earlier.
• Gradually pour this mixture into the simmering milk, whisking with a balloon whisk continually.
• Bring to the simmer and cook, whisking continually until the custard is thick.
• Remove pot from heat.
• Place a large fine sieve over a larger bowl and force the custard through the sieve.
• Cover the custard with plastic wrap and set it aside to cool down to room temperature.
• Whip the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Use the same method as with whipping the egg whites.
• Gently fold the cool custard into the whipping cream.
Assembly of Cake:
• To assemble the cake, remove baking pans from the freezer.
• Lift the cakes out and remove the parchment paper.
• With a large chef’s knife cut 5 layers and place each layer on clean parchment paper. • Spread a thin layer of cream on three of the cake layers.
• Arrange the apple filling on two layers.
• Place a cake layer with the cream filling on a serving platter.
• Place the cake layers on the top alternating between cream filling and the apple filling. • The top layer should be a cream filling.
• Spread the remaining filling on the sides.
• Place the assembled cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.
• The original cake was decorated with apple slices and cream rosettes, but I figured I worked hard enough as it is.
- It began with posting a few recipes on line for my family. "zsuzsa is in the kitchen" has more than 1000 Hungarian and International recipes. What started out as a private project turned into a well visited blog. The number of visitors long passed the two million mark. I organized my recipes into an on-line cookbook. On top of the page click on the cookbook to access the recipes. I am not profiting from my blog, so my visitors will not be harassed with advertising or flashy gadgets. Feel free to cut and paste my recipes for your own use. Publication is permitted as long as it is in your own words and with your own photographs. However, I would ask you for an acknowledgement and link-back to my blog. Happy cooking!