Sunday, 13 March 2011

Nutty Caramel Sponge Cake

This is a recipe-test request for my friend N, but non-Ns are just as welcome to try. I should've done this myself, but I haven't a large oven at home, just a small one one size larger than a toaster oven, and anyway I'm far from an ecstatic baker. Something about precise proportions put me off. I'm rather a slapdash cook.

So, here's the recipe I'm rather keen on, but rather more keen on eating than on making. Perhaps, if N or other seasoned bakers assure me it's a really good eat, I'll put up sourly with the making part. So hop to it, people. Chop chop!

NOTE: N did make it, forthwith. That's a woman one can count on when baking is to be done. The cake is apparently delicious. Here are her pictures. She uses hazelnuts instead of walnuts or pecans, and adds sour/heavy cream to her caramel.

N's Cake: Bottom-up.

A couple of fistful of waluts or pecans (say 150 gms).
Flour -- 250 gms.

Butter, softened by keeping at room temp -- 225-250 gms.
Sugar -- keep 300 gms at hand, but you may not need all of it.
Sour cream/heavy cream -- 200 gms or slightly more.
Eggs -- 2, at room temp.
Brown sugar -- 100 gms (actually, taal michhri will do very well at home).
Ground cinnamon (optional)

First, lightly toast the nuts on a skillet or saucepan. Stand close at hand and turn them over ever so often. After about ten or twelve minutes, you should be able to smell a divine, nutty, toasty smell. The nuts might look a little oily, too. Take them off the flames.

N's Cake: Caramel-side up.

Keep a third aside (50 gms -- but you know, if you like a really nutty body, add more). Grind the rest coarsely. Don't grind for too long, or the oils that were almost released earlier will make the a paste of the powder. And we don't want lumpy pastes. Now chop the third you'd kept aside.

Actually, on second thoughts, chop the entire lot. Why risk grinding when it could go wrong? Besides, I do like feeling little pieces of nut in a mouthful of soft, buttery cake. So much better than I'd like finely ground, invisible powder.

N's Cake: The Two Layers.

Sift the flour with a tablespoon of baking powder and a pinch or two of salt. If you like -- and have weak arms like mine -- you might run the softened butter, sugar and cream in a mixie/food processor together. This will make mixing the batter much easier. Or if you have those electric beaters or whisks or things... (I don't. A hand-held whisk with no electrical or battery help is what I've got. Mostly I use it to mash potatoes).

So then, to the flour, add eggs. Whisk energetically. Add soft butter, sugar, cream, OR the convenient mix you may have just made, plus one tsp. vanilla extract/essence. Whip whip whip! When the batter reaches a thick, smooth, and altogether desirable consistency, drop the third (or more) chopped nuts in and whip some more to distribute them evenly. Pour in a greased (and papered, if you want) baking plate/mould.

N's Cake: The Caramel Within.

Optional topping: melt two or three tablespoons of butter in a pan. Add brown sugar/taal michhri and caramelise on low till ALL of it melts. Add as much heavy/sour cream needed to make a thick, caramely topping. Add the ground or chopped nuts, cinnamon, and if you like, any other flavouring agent of choice. Take off the flames and without letting it cool, spread evenly over the cake batter.

If you skip the topping but want to use the caramel, mix it in the batter. If you want to skip the caramel altogether, the nuts can all go into the cake batter.

Bake at 350F or 170C for about half an hour or forty minutes. Serve with coffee, tea, or as a side to yourself.

N's Cake: Cross-section

This should be is absolutely divine. Try!


Clarissa said...

I'm not into desserts but my husband will be eternally grateful to you after I make this for him. :-)

Rimi said...

Maybe you'll dream of this dessert instead ;-) If you make it, please let me know how it went. I came up with this recipe while on my way home from work, and I want to know if it actually works.

Dea-chan said...

That sounds like it should work. And I'm a fan of simple powdered sugar over the top of nice cakes like this.

panu said...

eita dekhei bhallagche. I think I will make it with almonds/cashews and see how it goes.

Rimi said...

Cashews na, stick to walnuts. Almonds and walnuts. And you can add chocolate to the batter. Mmm. Invite me when you make it.

Rimi said...

D_C -- oddly, I can't stand powdered sugar. Especially not on doughnuts! But you know my slight aversion to sweet things, don't you? :-)

HijiBijBij said...

ei...any recipe for cakes without microwave or oven?? its christmas time...i am dying to bake something!