Hungarian Jancsi Torta
Don't believe everything you read on the internet - like you needed me to tell you that? Amazon declared that I would not receive Rose's Heavenly Cakes until 5th October, but there was the delivery guy, at my door on Saturday morning. Which then meant that I could hit the first deadline. Result.
I admit to doing a bit of google research on the Jancsi Torta prior to the book arriving. I scared myself into thinking it was a 12 layer cake with four different fillings and artfully spun sugar gracing the top of a perfectly glazed cake. Ha! It was a blessed relief when I opened to page 279 and quickly realised that five ingredients would not result in death by 12 layers. And the picture was also a bit of a giveaway. I stopped cooking by pictures many years ago, but it is kind of nice to see a bit of cake porn next to the recipe. I was also mightily relieved not to have to make my own bleached flour!
As an aside, I really like the layout of the instructions in this book. The offset headings are an instant reminder of what needs doing. Because after I have read the instructions once, that is all I really need. (Except for needing to read the instructions fully five times to work out where the nuts and chocolate were added in...).
Toasting the walnuts and removing their skins was a bit of a palaver. Probably not helped by me using walnut pieces instead of halves. My thought process was - "they get ground up, why use halves?", answer, it probably makes for easier and cleaner separation of walnut from skin. That said, it wasn't the most difficult thing I have ever done. And I couldn't really detect any bitterness in the final product from alot of walnuts still clinging very firmly to their skins.
I used a slightly more bittersweet chocolate (Green and Blacks 72%), but did not adjust the sugar ratio at all. Not sure that my palate is refined enough to detect anything adverse and I think I would need a side by side comparison to figure out if there was any difference in the final cake.
I love watching the process of the bright orange yolks emulsify into the palest yellow. Magic.
There is something about folding cake mixes that reminds me of my Grandmother. Watching her make endless sponges and cakes. Firm, tender, precise, delicate, meditative and something that no machine, in my kitchen at least, can replicate.
The finished batter definitely came up higher than halfway on my cake tin, but fortunately, it didn't spill out over the top during the baking.
I fashioned my own cake strips, which worked amazingly well. Can you see how tiny my kitchen is? You can see it all in that photo. I am sure there are people with smaller kitchens, but I am kind of glad I am not them! The whole "clean as you go" thing, didn't exactly happen this time around. For one, the front to end process was pretty quick, and secondly, I made this cake at the same time as cooking dinner.
Not alot of downtime especially with my little assistant.
Rose mentions that the cake should sink in the middle. Mine didn't... not sure why that was. The sides definitely looked like they were breathing in. But the top didn't sink. If I had have known that, I would have probably iced it with a ganache.
Because I didn't finish baking this cake until after dinner on Sunday night, and because we didn't hang around waiting for it to cool, we didn't sample it until today. I awoke to find a wedge removed for *someones* lunch. I must confess to having a very small sliver this morning before breakfast without any accompaniments. And now I am enjoying another, much larger slice, with trimmings of clotted cream and sour cherries. Verdict?
The cake is sensationally light and airy and almost mousse like. The dark chocolate melts instantly in your mouth and makes way for the grainy, crunch of the walnuts. I think my walnuts were ground fine enough, but perhaps I could have spent a bit more time pulsing the chocolate (after looking at those chocolate chunks above).
The sour cherries were a perfect match, but the clotted cream was a touch too heavy for this delicate cake. I think a very thin layer of ganache, perhaps flavoured with some of the cherry syrup, would have been perfect.
Would I make this again... in a word - yes. It would be a great finish to a dinner party. The lightness of this cake makes it perfect: not too sweet, light and airy. And best of all, it is quick to make, uses only five ingredients and could be made the day before.
Marie, this was a great selection for our first bake along/bake through. Thank you! After lightly browsing through the book, I get the feeling that it won't always be as easy as the Hungarian Jancsi Torta...
So, if you are looking for an easy introduction to Rose's Heavenly Cakes, and you have a food processor and a stand mixer and if no cake strips, at least a roll of aluminium foil, this cake is for you.