Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Cake Slice Bakers - February

Thank you for all the comments on my last post. I couldn't reply for a while for reasons unknown. Replies to comments just disappeared into the cloud, but today they are being published. It's a mystery! Anyway, it seem that Marie Kondo creates quite a difference of opinion, as does the whole subject of decluttering and moving house. I don't think it will be my last post on the subject. But today I'm writing about cake!


For a little while I stepped back from the Cake Slice Bakers, a worldwide group of bakers who each year bake from the same book once a month and blog about it on the 20th of the month. It was a combination of not finding the time to bake and write a blog post about it regularly and also I wasn't enjoying the the last couple of books we were baking from. The books were American baking books and as a general rule American cakes tend to be a lot stickier, sweeter and heavier on the frosting than British or European cakes  and not really to my taste. So when I spotted the book choice for 2019 was The European Cake Cookbook I was tempted back. The author Tatyana Nesteruk is Ukrainian, brought up in Italy and now resides in California. The book even claims that the cakes are less sweet than their American counterparts.


However, having seen the four choices for February I wasn't convinced! All consisted of several layers and were thick with frosting, a caramel honey cake, a lemon meringue cake (tempting!), Esterhazy cake, and a banoffee cake... definitely special occasion cakes rather than the sort of thing you would have in a tin to go with a cup of tea or coffee at anytime of day (I'm quoting from the back cover of the book). But as it happens we had a big family meal a couple of weeks ago and it was a good excuse to make one of the cakes for dessert so I chose the Caramel Honey Cake although I think all the choices would have made good desserts.


The cake itself was a fat free sponge baked in three tins and with the use of my trusty mixer it took no time to mix up and get in the oven.


The cake layers were soaked in a syrup of condensed milk and cream, which I thought would make it really sickly but in fact it just made the layers really moist and flavourful. Although I did opt to change the frosting slightly and used only half the amount specified. Instead of cutting each of the cakes in half creating six layers to be separated with frosting I just kept to the three layers, which automatically reduced the amount of frosting required. I think this was a good decision as it gave a good proportion of cake to sweet icing.  I like a butter cream as much as the next person I do think it needs a good proportion of cake to go with it... and this was just right. If I had gone with the recipe it would have been far too sweet for my taste. And it still made a very tall cake. The only other change I made was I toasted the pecans lightly before using them as I think it brings out the flavour.


And the verdict... everyone loved it and I would definitely make my version again, not too rich and full of flavour.


When our two year old grandson saw it he tipped his bowl containing a little malt loaf onto the floor and pushed his plate towards this towering cake instead!

My Version of the recipe:

Caramel Honey Cake

for the cake:
9 large eggs
150 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
118 ml of runny honey (1/2 cup)
250g plain flour
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
125 g toasted chopped pecans

for the syrup:
118 ml condensed milk (1/2 cup)
118 ml double cream (1/2 cup)

Frosting:
227g unsalted butter
250 g icing sugar
200g dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g chopped toasted pecans (reserve some whole ones for decoration)

  • Pre heat the oven to 350 F, 180 C (160 fan) and grease and line 3 20cm round cake tins
  • For the cake, place the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a bowl (preferably a stand mixer) and whisk on high speed until pale and almost doubled in volume (About five mins). Add the honey and whisk for another minute. Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl and fold gently into the egg mixture in small additions so not to get pockets of flour. Finally fold in the pecans.
  • Divide the cake batter between the three tins and bake for  25 - 30 minutes until completely set. Allow to cool in the tin briefly before turning out to cool completely.
  • Combine the condensed milk and syrup together and brush over the cake layers until it has soaked in thoroughly.
  • For the frosting, whisk the butter until light and fluffy. Add the caramel sauce and vanilla and whisk until combined. Add the sugar and whisk again until well mixed and fluffy
  • To assemble, spread a layer of the frosting between each layer of cake and then cover the sides and top with the frosting. Use the remaining nuts to coat the side and decorate the top with some whole pecans


You can check out what everyone else has made hereby clicking on the link below... I think!

11 comments:

  1. It looks wonderful Gina! I haven't eaten cake since the end of last year and won't for at least two more months as I am finally tackling my starting BMI of 40.... I can tell you with confidence that I'd not be able to resist the temptation if I was served your cake! x

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  2. I love that you toasted the pecans first and wish I had thought of that. Your final product is beautiful and it's good to have you baking with us again.

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  3. Wow, what a great cake ... I mean who would want malt loaf when that was about!! :)
    V x

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  4. This looks so tasty, Gina! Sounds like a good choice to cut the frosting in half - the end result is a beautiful cake!

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  5. I try hard not to think about cake these days, but having come face to face, as it were, with this glorious confection I know I would enjoy a slice. It looks wonderful and I just know it was delicious.

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  6. I'm with your grandson. Smart kid!

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  7. There definitely is a lot of butter in the original frosting recipe! Lovely cake!

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  8. I am not too fond of too much butter cream either. I think I would opt for the Latvian style honey cake which actually uses sour cream frosting rather than the sweeter butter cream. Hope your downsizing goes okay. I'm still a bit overwhelmed having moved into our smaller apartment, which essentially meant combining the contents of the two. I got it in, but it still needs sorting

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  9. It is so wonderful to have you back backing with The Cake Slice Bakers. Your cake looks outstanding and I was smiling to myself as you did the exact same things I would have if I had made this cake - kept to 3 layers and deduced the frosting. When I try it I will definitely toast the nuts too, so thanks for the tip.

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