Jewish Honey Cake: Test 1

Nothing screams fall to me like this Jewish honey cake. I followed this recipe to a "t" and it was pretty near perfection.
Active Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Print Recipe
Yield: 2 9″ x 5″ loaves

Equipment

  • 12-cup bundt pan or two 9″x5″ loaf pans
  • PAM baking spray
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Whisk
  • Medium mixing bowl

Ingredients

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 cup corn oil
  • 1 cup honey
  • cups granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Juice of 1 orange, diluted to ½ cup with water
  • 2 Tbsps instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • I preheated the oven 350°F.
  • In a large bowl, the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves were sifted together.
  • I prepared the coffee by mixing the espresso powder with 1 cup of boiling water. I think this is a better option than normal coffee or even fresh brewed espresso because the powdered espresso lacks the acidity of the fresh coffee options.
  • In a separate bowl, I mixed together the oil, honey, sugars, eggs, vanilla, coffee, and orange juice.
  • The wet mixture was added to the dry, mixing slowly from the center to incorporate the flour without lumps. This resulted in quite a thin batter. Do not let this scare you, it’s completely fine.
  • I chose to use 2 loaf pans but a bunt cake pan would work well here as well. I greased my load pans with PAM baking spray and divided the batter between the two pans evenly.
  • The cakes were baked for roughly 60 minutes and checked with a knife to make sure the center was done baking. The knife should come out clean and the cake should not be overly wiggly.

Results

This cake was delicious for sure but at first bite it felt like the cloves were overpowering. This intense clove flavor mellowed out by the second bite as my mouth adjusted but I would prefer to cut the cloves with some allspice to reduce that bite in the next test.

References

Parent Notebook

Honey Jewish Cake

Kiev Tort: Test 1

This is a crisp, melt in your mouth, boozy cake. Definitely one of my favorites! I didn't make too many changes on this first test from the reference and I do encourage you to go read the original. She's one funny lady!
Cook Time2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time1 day 3 hours
Print Recipe
Yield: 1 9″ cake

Equipment

  • 2 9" spring-form pans
  • Standing mixer
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Sauce pan
  • Cooling rack
  • Parchment paper (9" rounds)
  • PAM for baking

Ingredients

For the Meringue cake

  • 12 large egg whites
  • cups granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 lb hazelnuts

For the Buttercream

  • 1 lb unsalted butter, softened
  • 12 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • cups whole milk
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 2 Tabsps cognac

Instructions

For the Meringue Cake

  • I toasted all the hazelnuts in the oven at 350 degrees F for roughly 20 minutes. They were then removed them from the oven and allowed to steam in a towel for another 15 minutes. The skins were rubbed off as much as possible using the same towel. Yes you will have some skin stick but who cares! Hazelnuts were coarsely chopped reserving a few for decoration.
  • Two 9″ round pans were greased with PAM, lined with the parchment paper rounds and greased again. I would try butter next time as the PAM actually ended up burning. It didn’t hurt the cake too much but it made me uncomfortable to know that the edges of my cake were darker than ideal.
  • In the standing mixer, I whipped the egg whites until foamy and slowly added the half cup of sugar while continuing to whip. Then came the vanilla and the eggs were whipped to very stiff and glossy peaks.
  • While the eggs were whipping, I mixed together the remaining 2 cups of sugar, flour, and 1.5 cups chopped hazelnuts in a medium bowl.
  • Once the egg whites were ready, they were gently but thoroughly fold into the dry mixture.
  • The batter was divided evenly between the two pans and baked at 350°F for 2 ½ hours, checking periodically to see that it’s not browning too much. Seriously, I really mean it. 2 ½ hours is the requirement. You shall bake for 2 ½ hours. 2 ½ hours is the length of your baking. In the meantime you can make the buttercream and clean up the mess you just made.
  • When done, cakes were removed from the pans and cooled fully on cooling racks, overnight, under a towel is best.

For the Buttercream

  • This recipe needs to cool for a while so I highly recommend doing it on the same day as the cake baking and refrigerating overnight.
  • Milk and sugar were added to a sauce pan and heated until the milk is scalded but not boiling as it may burn the milk.
  • While the milk was heating, in a separate bowl, I whisked the yolks until quite stiff and light yellow.
  • Half of the milk was poured into the yolks slowly while continuing to whisk the eggs. Then the egg yolk mixture was added back into the remaining milk and place back on the heat.
  • The eggs and milk were cooked, stirring constantly, until the custard thickened.
  • The custard was removed from the heat, strained to remove any potential lumps, and allowed to fully cool to room temperature. Ok now you can go to bed. This was the important part, now it’s cooling. It will wait for you to wake up tomorrow.
  • I confess, I didn't go to bed. It was winter and I took my bowl of custard and lovingly embedded it in the snow outside. By the time my kitchen was clean, the custard was cool enough and butter was added a little at a time and mixed in my standing mixer until fully incorporated, then the vanilla and cognac were added. The cocoa is left for later, do not add it in at this point. We'll come back to it during assembly.

Assembly

  • I placed a small dollop of buttercream on a cake board and place the first meringue cake right side up over the dollop. The buttercream helps the cake stay put on the board.
  • A generous layer of the buttercream was spread over the first cake layer and the second cake layer was placed upside down over the cream. Be sure your buttercream reaches all the way to the edges of your cake. When the second layer was placed I added a little more cream along the seam and smoothed it to the sides of the cake.
  • I kept the cake in the fridge while I prepare the chocolate buttercream. A small portion of the buttercream was reserved for decoration. To the rest, I added the cocoa (see I didn't forget it) and whipped until smooth, dark, and even.
  • Once the cream was ready, the cake was retrieved from the fridge and coated the whole cake in the cocoa buttercream. Decorate as desired. I used the remaining hazelnuts to coat the sides and a few whole nuts as the base for flowers and other decoration.

Results

I don’t say this often but this cake is incredible and I would change nothing. It is crisp but light, the buttercream doesn’t feel like eating a stick of butter, and the whole experience is pleasantly boozy. What more could I want from a cake?
If you haven’t read the original version of this recipe, I highly recommend you give it a read. I have rarely come across a recipe that was funnier or more uplifting. Check out the source section for a link.

References

Parent Notebook

Kiev Tort

Rum Babas: Test 1

These lovely yeasted cakes are soaked in a rum syrup. Can't really go wrong with that, right? Well this first test shows you definitely can. The words "wet gingerbread" were used…
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time2 hours 30 minutes
Print Recipe
Yield: 12 babas

Equipment

  • 3 Tbsp cookie scoop
  • Mini bunt pan with 12 wells
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Rubber spatula
  • Sauce pan

Ingredients

For the Babas

  • 220 g bread flour
  • 7 g active dry yeast
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup whole milk
  • 100 g butter, softened

Rum Syrup

  • 1 cup dark rum
  • cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 peel of an orange, dried
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 corns of all spice
  • 2 whole anise seed pods
  • 1 small cinnamon stick

Instructions

For the Babas

  • The flour and sugar were combined in a bowl along with the salt and yeast, added on opposite sides of the bowl to avoid too much direct contact. I am not sure if this is really significant but some people say that salt can retard the yeast’s activity and so avoiding direct contact is good. I have never seen this to be a problem with dry yeast personally. The ingredients were then mixed together.
  • In a separate bowl, the milk and eggs were whisked until homogeneous.
  • The egg mixture was added to the flour mixture and mixed with a rubber spatula. This dough will be very sticky and that’s expected. Mix as well as possible until the dough becomes elastic. There are proper ways to knead such a dough but I’m still figuring it out myself.
  • Add the butter to the dough and knead it until smooth and shiny. This dough will now be quite wet but also very rich and smooth.
  • The dough was allowed to rise. First batch I allowed an hour and a half. Second batch got 2 hours.
  • The oven was heated to 350°F.
  • Once risen, the dough was mixed again to release the air and divided into the mini bunt cake molds. My mold holds 12 individual bunts. These are quite small. Each can hold about 3 Tablespoons of batter.
  • Once divided, the dough was allow to rise again until molds were filled nearly to the top.
  • hey were bake for 20-22 minutes or until golden

For the Rum Syrup

  • All of the ingredients were added to a small pot and simmer until all of the alcohol flavor was released. Roughly 20-30 minutes.
  • The syrup was then cooled completely with the spices intact.

Assembly

  • When everything is cooled and ready to be assembled, the syrup was strained and the cakes soaked in the cooled syrup until completely saturated. I let my cakes then strain on a cooling rack for an hour before packaging them away.
  • You can top these cakes as you please. Options include whipped cream and fruit or just fruit compote. There are nearly endless possibilities here but I opted for simle whipped cream and some canned and fresh peaches with a sprig of mint.

Results

I believe this was described by my boyfriend as “wet gingerbread”. Not quite what I was going for but not all tests work out. Will have to try again.

References

Notebook

Rum Baba

Basic Croissant Dough: Test 1

This is my first attempt at working with a croissant dough and getting an understanding for the techniques involved.
Active Time3 hours
Cook Time22 minutes
Total Time3 days
Print Recipe
Yield: 12 Croissants

Equipment

  • Standing mixer
  • Rolling Pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Paring knife
  • Ruler

Ingredients

  • 500 g flour
  • 140 g water
  • 140 g whole milk
  • 55 g granulated sugar
  • 40 g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 11 g active dry yeast
  • 12 g salt
  • 280 g unsalted butter, cold
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

Day 1

  • To my standing mixer, equipped with the dough hook, I added the flour, water, milk, sugar, softened butter, yeast and salt. Then I let my mixer run on low speed for 5 minutes. The only thing to keep in mind in this step is that over-mixing your dough will make it less elastic which will make stretching and folding later on more difficult. This is why I kept the kneading to 5 minutes or less on low speed.
  • Once the dough was ready, I turned it out onto some plastic wrap, wrapped it tightly, and refrigerated it. Because I did this, you guys now get to know that this is a bad idea. Yeasted dough expands, do not wrap this dough in plastic, instead put it into a large bowl with a lid. This will give it space to expand while keeping it from drying out.

Day 2

  • This is definitely the most work intensive day for this project and you need about 3 hours of time. I started by taking out my butter from the fridge or even freezer and weighing. The butter I use is very soft (Kerrygold) due to its high fat content. If you’re using a store brand butter, it will be hard to work with straight out of the freezer.
  • Once I had the correct amount of butter ready, I start slicing it into half inch thick slices. I tried hard to keep them the same width to make it easier later. I arranged these slices into a square roughly 6-7 inches wide on some parchment paper to make the butter easier to handle. Don’t over think this part because you’re going to be rolling this out and cutting it anyway.
  • I then rolled my butter out to about 9-10 inches between two sheets of parchment. At this stage my butter chunks fused into a large slab. I cut the edges to make the slap more square and placed the cut bits back on top and re-rolled. I used the parchment paper and my fingers to shape it as well. Do whatever you can to get this thing mostly square and roughly 9 inches on each side.
  • Once my butter was a shape I was happy with, it went into the fridge while I worked on rolling out my dough. I fished out the dough from the previous day which should have puffed a bit overnight.
  • I rolled this dough out into a 13 to 14 inch square on a very lightly floured surface. Try to use only as much flour as is necessary to avoid toughening your dough as you repeatedly Rolls it out. If you want advice on how to Roll a square successfully, I’m sure there are good YouTube videos out there. I am still mastering this skill myself but essentially I found that a combination of things gives decent results. When you put your dough on your surface it will be rounded. Use your rolling pin to indent a cross in the dough and then rolling from the middle out towards each corner. This will get your shape started. Shape it with your hands or bench scraper as you go and try to roll mostly from the middle. Binge watch some of Great British Baking Show, they have examples of this every so often and it’s a great show!
  • Once I was happy with my dough square, I got that butter out and put it so that the corners of my butter were against the sides of my dough square. Like a buttery diamond on my square dough. Then I folded the corners of my dough to the middle so the butter was fully enveloped
  • My butter encased in dough was then rolled, still from middle out, along just one axis until I had a long sheet that was about 30 inches in length. I then folded it into thirds like a letter and placed it on a small cutting board. It was then covered in plastic to keep it from drying out and placed int he fridge for 30 minutes.
  • After half an hour, the dough was brought out again and rolled out again To roughly 30 inches. I like to keep my open ends facing up and down and rolling it out towards the open ends. This way each time I fold, fridge and roll, it is rolled in a different direction. This dough is rolled out so much that resting the dough, relaxing the gluten, and the rolling direction are very important.
  • Again, the dough was folded in thirds and refrigerated for an hour.
  • Repeat steps 7 and 8 one more time and leave the dough to rest in the fridge overnight. If you’re following along with the math, this will results in 27 layers.

Day 3

  • Finally, this is the day when I got to shape and bake my croissants. Get ready to tap into those geometry classes. The dough was removed from the fridge and rolled out to a 1/4 inch thickness. As I rolled the dough and handled it, it continued to proof and thicken. This is expected and nothing to worry about.
  • I rolled the dough to roughly 10 by 24 inches. The long sides of the dough were trimmed so that I had straight edges. I was aiming this first round at creating classic croissant shapes and so cut my dough into triangles about 3 inches wide at the base and 8 inches long. They were then rolled up and placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment. I also made some simpler rolls similar to those used in pain au chocolat. These I made from 4 by 8 inch rectangles.
  • Once the croissants were formed and arranged on the baking sheet, I whisked together the egg and about 1 tablespoon of water to create my egg wash. The croissants were brushed lightly with the egg wash to prevent the dough from drying during their long rise. I recoated them as I felt necessary to keep the croissant from drying out and once more just before baking.
  • The croissants were left to rise for 2 hours. You can tell when they’re fully proofed when the croissants are a bit jiggly when you poke them.
  • They were baked at 390°F on the middle rack of my oven for 20-22 minutes.

Results

In my original testing I combined this test with a few tests for filling and two toned dough options. Most pictures reflect these tests but the main croissant dough is clearly visible.
For the roll, the croissant puffed to nearly 3 times its original size while baking. The dough was not rolled thin enough maybe and 4 by 8 may have been too large. This also meant that the croissant didn’t bake through as much as I would have liked.

References

Parent Notebook

Croissants