Tag: Cakes of Europe

Legendary Dishes | Castagnaccio / Baldino (chestnut cake)

ITALY

In Siena, where the chestnut cake is part of a rich tradition of cake making, the bakers keep their secrets to themselves, not least with the centuries old methods of making castagnacci. The big secret is the ratio of liquid to chestnut flour, the next is the oven temperature, then the baking time, and then the amount of olive oil. The difference is a hard (less liquid) or soft (more liquid) cake, an even bake and a crisp crust.

  • 700 ml water
  • 500 g chestnut flour
  • 10 g rosemary, fresh, chopped small
  • 90 ml olive oil
  • 100 g pine nuts, whole
  • 100 g raisins, soaked in water, drained, dried
  • 75 g walnuts, crushed (optional)
  • 50 g candied fruit
  • Salt, pinch

Preheat oven to 200ºC.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, pour the water into the bowl in a drizzle, whisking constantly to eliminate lumps.

Separate a tablespoon each from the pine nuts and raisins, set aside.

Add salt, candied fruit, pine nuts, raisins and walnuts to the batter.

Grease a 30 centimetre round baking tin with 60 grams of oil, pour in the mixture, sprinkle surface with rosemary and remaining nuts and raisins, finish with remaining oil.

Bake for 35 minutes.

The cake should have a dark chestnut colour, a crispy cracked surface. Cut, it will be soft and slightly moist.


Indigenous Ingredients

Chestnut
Pine Nut
Raisin
Rosemary
Walnut

Legendary Dishes | Tarta de Santiago (almond cake)

SPAIN

As you can see we had some difficulty removing the template. There was a small tear and this was enough to let sugar fall into the shape. Fortunately the flavour of the cake compensated for the appearance!


Traditionally made with a pastry casing, the modern version of this iconic confection omits the pastry to produce a soft almond-lemon cake.

Indigenous to Galicia torta de Santiago is known across the Iberian peninsula and beyond.

Associated with an old tradition, the modern version is enigmatic because of the decorative silhouette of the Cross of Santiago, a recent adornment.

Also modern is the association with the almonds of the Mediterranean, the varieties called comuna, largueta, marcona, mollar, largueta and planeta.

Almonds must account for a third of the almond-egg-sugar mixture.

  • 275 g almonds, ground
  • 250 g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp sweet wine / lemon liquor
  • 1 lemon, zest
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Combine the eggs with the sugar to form a homogeneous mixture, about 5 minutes on an electric mixer.

Stir in the liquor or wine, the zest and, if using, the cinnamon.

Fold the almonds into the egg-sugar mixture.

Pour the mixture into a tin lined with baking paper.

Bake for 60 minutes.

Leave to cool.

Arrange the Santiago Cross in the centre of the cake, dust with icing sugar.


Indigenous Ingredients

Almond
Lemon

Legendary Dishes | Fyrstekake (Prince cake)

NORWAY

This princely cake of Norway is iconic because it combines a tender pastry base with a subtle sweet filling.

The traditional filling is a paste made with almonds, egg whites and sugar. Butter is an addition. Whole eggs are a variation. The paste can be enhanced with cardamon and vanilla. Fruit is also an addition.

The traditional base is made with baking powder, butter, eggs, flour and sugar.

A lattice work occasionally decorates the top of the cake.

This is the basic recipe.

Paste

  • 150 g almonds, ground
  • 150 g icing sugar
  • 2 egg whites

Combine ground almonds and icing sugar, fold in the two egg whites. Put in fridge for several hours. This is the almond paste.

Base Dough

  • 175 g pastry flour
  • 125 g butter, softened
  • 100 g strong white wheat flour
  • 3 egg whites
  • 80 g brown sugar
  • 8 g baking powder

Beat brown sugar into the butter, stir in the three egg whites, baking powder and sieved flours. Knead into a smooth ball. Leave for an hour.

Finish

  • 30 g almonds, whole, blanched, skinned, halved for topping
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  • 22-25 cm diameter flan tin

Preheat oven to 180°C.

Place the dough in the bottom of the cake tin, push it across the base and up the sides with a one centimeter overlap above the rim.

Spoon almond paste on top of the dough, wash with egg, top with almond pieces.

Bake for 40 minutes.

Dress with icing sugar.


Legendary Dishes | Sernik Tradycyjny (traditional cheese cake)

POLAND

The secret to a perfect cheese cake is twice ground cheese curds. In Poland food companies Mlekovita and Piatnica produce twaróg sernikowy mielony – ground cheesecake curd – for this practical purpose. Potato starch is another ingredient that will make a difference and there is a strong argument that yoghurt rather than cream will make the cheese cake lighter. The first time we made it we were unable to get the Mlekovita or Piatnica brands and instead used a fatty curd from Polmlek. Subsequently we used the Piatnica brand. Both Mlekovita and Piatnica suggest butter is not needed. However, despite the obvious reason, we want to keep with tradition.

Cake

  • 500 g ground cheese curd
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 130 g butter, softened
  • 130 g icing sugar
  • 60 ml cream / yoghurt
  • 60 g vanilla sugar
  • 30 ml fruit juice / lemon juice
  • 30 g potato flour

Base

  • 100 g biscuits, coarse ground
  • 50 g butter, melted
  • 30 g brown sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Beat the soft butter, gradually beat with an egg yolk and a quarter of the icing sugar, repeat with remaining yolks and sugar.

Beat the juice into the mixture.

Beat the ground cheese into the mixture followed by the vanilla sugar, yoghurt and potato flour to obtain a homogeneous mass.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff, gently fold into the mixture.

Melt the butter for the base, add the ground biscuits and, for a little sweetness, brown sugar. Line a cake tin with baking paper, spoon the biscuit mixture on the base and gently smooth out to the edges with a back of a teaspoon.

Put the cheese mixture on top of the biscuit base, bake for 75 minutes.

Remove from oven, leave to cool in the tin.

Dust with icing sugar.


This is the recipe reproduced on the Piatnica tub.

One kilo of cheesecurd, 7 eggs, 240 g icing sugar, 15 g potato flour, 15 g semolina, vanilla sugar or rum flavouring. The method is the same as above, with one exception, the cheesecurd to gently added to the mixture after the beaten egg whites.

© www.piatnica.com.pl


Legendary Dishes | Pähkinäkakku (nut cake)

FINLAND

This enigmatic nut cake of Finland utilises oily nuts and gives a flavour that is unique in such cakes. Some versions call for less nuts and more flour. As this is a nut cake we favour a higher quantity of nuts to flour. The dry to wet ratio is generally 1:1. This is the chocolate version. For a frosting combine melted chocolate with warmed whipped cream at a 3:1 ratio. The frosting can also contain crushed mixed nuts.

  • 200 g mixed nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts), ground
  • 170 g sugar
  • 170 g white wheat flour
  • 150 g sour cream
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 3 eggs
  • 50 g cocoa powder
  • 30 g vanilla sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt, pinch

Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Combine all the dry ingredients – baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa powder, flour, nuts and salt – and mix thoroughly, breaking up any lumps.

Whisk the eggs and sugars until light and thick, carefully fold in the dry mixture, the melted butter and the cream.

Pour into a lined cake tin.

Bake for 65 minutes. Test after 55 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Kerkyraïkí Giaourtópita Κερκυραϊκή Γιαουρτόπιτα (lemon yoghurt pie)

GREECE
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 300 g white wheat flour, t500 / white spelt flour
  • 250 g sugar
  • 250 g yoghurt
  • 220 g butter, softened
  • 5 lemons, zest
  • 1 lemon, juice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 vanilla pod

Whisk butter and sugar until it is integrated, add egg yolks and yogurt, beat mixture until smooth.

In a separare bowl beat egg whites until they are stiff.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda, lemon zest and vanilla.

Fold one spoonful of the flour mixture followed by one spoonful of egg whites into the butter-sugar mixture. Repeat until the flour mixture and egg whites are used up.

Add the lemon juice and pour the batter into a prepared cake tin or tray.

Bake at 180ºC for 70 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Kirschtorte (cherry and chocolate cake)

AUSTRIA GERMANY SWITZERLAND

There are as many stories about the origins of this kirsch-flavoured cake as there are variations of the recipe. Josef Keller, pastry chef in Café Ahrend in Bad Godesberg, is credited with inventing the Black Forest (Schwarzwalder) version in 1915. He passed his recipe to August Schaefer. His son Claus still makes the original cake at Café Schaefer in Triberg.

Kirsch, the clear cherry brandy made from the dark red sour berries of the Black Forest in south-west Germany, identifies kirschtorte with the region but there are occasional doubts about the cake‘s geographical authenticity.

The claim that the cake represents the women‘s costume of the region (black like the dress, cream like the blouse and cherries like the red balls of adornment) is seen as a tourist entrapment.

These days it does not matter where kirschtorte originated. This delicious cherry-chocolate cake is now omnipient.

Flan Dough

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g butter, softened
  • 200 g sugar
  • 170 g white wheat flour
  • 30 g cocoa powder
  • 8 g baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda, large pinch

Preheat oven to 180°C. Whisk eggs and sugar until foamy. Sieve flour, baking powder and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Fold into egg-sugar mixture. Pour into mould. Bake for 30 minutes. Divide cake into two equal pieces.

Topping

  • 800 ml cream
  • 400 g sour cherries
  • 250 ml sour cherry juice
  • 100 ml kirschwasser
  • 50 g chocolate flakes
  • 50 g vanilla sugar

Whip cream with sugar. Boil cherry juice until syrupy, leave to cool, stir in three-quarters of the cherries and a splash of kirsch. Spread on first base. Follow with a layer of piped cream and another splash of kirsch. Place second base on top. Pipe on remaining cream, decorate with chocolate flakes and remaining cherries.