Friday, May 3, 2013

Fork and Spoon Friday: Hungarian Cream Cake

When I'm cooking, pretty is not on the schedule. Most of the time, I'm slinging hash.

Well, maybe that's an exaggeration. But I've got four boys to feed, and let's just say I'm not individually plating entrees with garnishes. Get it shopped, chopped, cooked, and on the table is my usual way of things, week after week. 

I get tired of it sometimes. I actually enjoy cooking when I have the time, when I'm not catering to the large appetites of all four and the picky tastes of two of them. Sometimes, I just want to take my time making one good thing. Sometimes I want to experiment a little. 

Last Friday evening instead of going out, I stayed in with my mixer. Ever since I picked up this small cookbook last fall: 

I've been interested to try some of the recipes in it. The cakes looked promising, old- fashioned,  and rich. I hadn't baked a "real cake" in a while. 

I picked out this one: 

Luckily we have a local dairy that sells the thick, unprocessed cream our grandmothers were likely to have used in such a recipe (The cookbook was published in 1934).

"Sift flour once, measure, add baking powder and salt, and sift together three times." I did this step, and I think it matters for older recipes. I didn't have a sifter, but used a sieve to get the same effect. And look how much flour was left over (on the right) after measuring from the first sift:

The volume of the sifted flour really is more. 
One of my favorite things, a mixing bowl made by a local artist: 

Getting the sugar and eggs pale and frothy. I love the delicate color. It looks like satin: 

After the dry ingredients and cream are added, the batter looks like a big mound of french vanilla ice cream. And yes, of course I taste tested. You could eat the bowlful without baking. Not that you should, but you could. I promise I wouldn't judge. 

No matter what a cake recipe says, I grease and put a wax paper circle in the bottom, grease again, and then flour. That way I know the layer will always come out of the pan: 

I spread the batter evenly and baked. The recipe, I should point out, is HUGELY WRONG on bake time. I baked my layers at 350°F for 25 minutes (not the 50 in the recipe) and the cake was done to a turn. If I'd baked it for twice that time they would have been burnt crusts. Next time I make this recipe I will only bake for 20 minutes before testing.

This isn't a big cake. It only makes 2 8-inch layers. 

This is where my baking night went a little off the rails. I also tried a self-invented recipe, for blackberry buttercream frosting. 

I had some frozen blackberries: 

It seemed like a great idea. But the fruit was a hassle to puree in the blender and then sieve to get the seeds out:

At one point it looked like I was committing fruit murder-- with butter.

Even though it seemed like a simple concept (butter, fruit puree, powdered sugar, a little cream), it was a little too soft to "behave" well, and adding more powdered sugar didn't help. And it was sweet. Really, really sweet.

The cake however, was great:

It ended up being okay that the frosting was a little too sweet, because the cake itself is not overly sweet, and is a bit rich. Still, I decided not to frost the sides to keep the blood glucose levels down in general. Grownups liked it with coffee, and what kid has ever minded too much sugar? I will make this cake again soon, probably for Mother's Day with cream and strawberries. It would also be fantastic with a good fudge frosting. I won't be making the blackberry buttercream again (this version, anyway) and that's okay. I'm glad I gave my idea a try.

Do you like baking? What's your favorite? 


  1. That looks really good. Save me a piece!

  2. The cake looks yummy. I have very limited baking experience, as in making Jif mixes...I was thinking about your comments about baking the cake for the receipe's 50 min. and my intrepretation of the receipe is that it's calling for one 8" x 8" x 2" square cake, if that's the case, could it require 50 min. versus your 25 min. for two round cakes?