Hello, as promised, I am continuing with the recipes of the cakes which might require slightly bigger effort but compensate for it either in terms of looks or taste.
I looove layered cakes! They look so good and one can experiment with layers in so many ways. But the thing I don't love about them is that they usually take so much time: rolling out the layers, preparing multiple baking forms, cleaning multiple baking forms etc. So, I was looking for some sort of compromise for a while.
Then, I found out about grilled cakes. Did you ever hear about German Baumkuchen or Tree Cake? I encountered the following recipe here:
It looked fantastic and really fascinated me. Btw this is one fantastic blog too! So, I digged further on-line and also read a lot about Asian cousins of this cake - Kueh Lapis Spekkoek and Kek Lapis. Below is the link to the recipe of one great looking Kueh Lapis with Prunes:
All these cakes looked so good!
When I visited Malaysia, I had an opportunity to try some (on the picture at the bottom of our plate). The cakes looked like little pieces of art with various shapes and colors on the cut. But, in terms of taste, in my opinion they were too sweet and buttery and lacking something. So, though I felt in love with the general idea, it looked like I will need to create something more geared to my taste buds.
And, though grilling definitely was far more convenient than rolling out and baking multiple layers, there were still too many layers for a lazy person like me :)
Many sites mentioned that the cakes are called tree cakes because they remind wood rings, but, when I looked at all the pictures, it came to my mind that the cakes remind me of books, in particular book pages in between book covers. So, I got this idea of baking a Book Cake using similar baking approach. Since then, I baked the cake several times, every time experimenting a bit. I found out that almost any type of butter can be grilled, I tried some with carrot, hazelnuts, chocolate etc. The end result, might be not perfect in terms of taste (I will be still looking for that perfect combination), but it is still a decent tea cake and it is definitively very original in terms of looks. If you like pumpkin pies and gingerbread, this one is a winner! And the grilling and layering came to about 30 min altogether, so it's not that bad!
So, here is my Book Cake Recipe
- 6 eggs
- 1/2 cup of brown sugar (or plain sugar if not available)
- 125 g butter
- 1/2 can (200g) condensed milk
- 200 ml cream fraiche
- 200 g golden marzipan (for dough), 300 g (for decoration)
- 2 cups plain flour
- 3 Tbsp of corn flour
- 1 can of pureed pumpkin
- 1 tsp of baking soda
- 2 Tbsp of spices as per your taste (cinnamon, all spice, nutmeg, ginger powder etc)
- 50ml of brandy
- 0.5 tsp of orange zest (optional)
- writing icing and apricot glaze for decoration
- Beat eggs with sugar. Then add soften butter. Mix. Then add condensed milk and marzipan. When the mixture is homogeneous add cream fraiche.
- In a separate bowl mix flours and baking soda. Put aside roughly 1/3 of flour mixture.
- Mix in 2/3 of flour mixture into the egg and butter mixture. Split the resulted dough into two parts.
- Mix half of the dough with remaining 1/3 of flour mixture, pumpkin and spices
- Mix other half of the dough with brandy and orange peel.
- Switch on the grill in your oven (upper grill only, no conventional or convection oven)
- Line a rectangular baking form with greased baking paper.
- Start with the "white" butter. Depending on the size of your form spread several spoons of dough over the paper with a brush. It's up to you how sick your layers will be and how many you want to make. I would not recommend going more than 5mm in thickness though. Also, add more of pumpkin mixture than of white dough for each layer - pumpkin shrinks more after baking. Don't overbake the first layer, it will spend the longest time in the oven when other layers are prepared. Remove it when it raised and only slightly brownish in color.
- Use brush to spread the butter over already grilled layer for all the next layers. Depending on the strength of your grill function and the desired thickness of your layers, white layers will need about 1-2 min of baking time and pumpkin layers about 3- 4 min.
- When all the layers are baked, switch off the grill and switch on the usual oven heated to about 190C. Put the cake in for another 15 min.
- Cool down the cake and cut it to the desired book size.
- Using thin ribbons of marzipan imitate the book cover at the bottom of the cake. Then, turn the cake over and brush the top with apricot glaze.
- Then decorate with remaining marzipan and writing icing as a book. I prepared this one for my Indian friend celebrating Diwali, but it's up to your fantasy what will be the name of your book :) Chill and serve!