This is an old Transsylvanian recipe to make a sour cherry-mocha buttercream cake which is perfect for special occasions such as birthdays. It is a cake made with traditional ingredients; it is a bit of work to make the cake but the result pays for all the effort. Apart from the bakingsoda and cream of tartar there are no chemical additives involved. This cake should be made a day in advance to get a good consistency as well as nice blended flavours.
There is a story behind this recipe. The Hungarian Anna Maria Vitális (born 1928) from Kezdivásárhely (Targu-Secuiesc) makes this cake at family birthdays, and it is from her I got it. She told her grandson Sasa, who loves this cake, how to make it, and he noted it down. Although he didn’t have any particular knowledge of cooking- and kitchen terminology (while on college he learned how to make simple meals with a special skill for fried eggs), he managed to translate it into English for me. Then it was my turn to adjust the translation to a recipe form.
You will need:
For the cake:
250-300 grams sugar
10 tablespoons water
100-150 grams ground nuts (walnuts, almonds, hazel, this is optional)
200 grams flour
8-10 gram bakingpowder (or home-made from 2 gram bakingsoda and 6 a 7 grams cream of tartar)
butter to grease
flour to dust
icing sugar to dust
For the mocha buttercream:
70 grams icingsugar
1 tablespoon vanille-extract
2 heaped teaspoons cocoa powder (not the kind with sugar)
2 tablespoons flour
strong freshly home-brewed coffee
250 grams butter
1 heaped tablespoon icingsugar
1 jar sour cherries (removed stones) with juice (or you can use fresh sour cherries, home stewed – remove the stones)
2 à 3 tablespoons jam, either sour cherry or peach. In case you don’t have these kinds apricot will do
outer peel of a sweet orange (coarsely grated or very, very fine cut)
Chocolate shavings, silverpills, or sugar decoration
You will also need:
A large bowl, a bowl to beat the eggwhites, a normal sized caketin and a small sized caketin (or 2 round tins about 18-20 cm ∅), a chopping board, a bowl and a pot where this bowl fits on (or an au-bain-marie system), a colander or sieve, a bowl where the colander fit on, a palette knife, a flat, oval serving dish
And this is how the cake is made:
Starting with the sponge:
1. Separate eggs in yolks and whites. Place the yolks in the big bowl, and the whites in the other. Add sugar to the yolks. Mix with an electric mixer while slowly adding the 10 spoonfulls of water. Keep stirring until the mixture is nice and creamy.
2. Mix flour and bakingpowder, and sieve it. Beat the eggwhites stiff. Add the flourmixture, the eggwhites (and ground nuts) to the yolkmixture and stir everything carefully together.
3. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Grease the caketins and dust with a little flour. Shake the tins to make sure every corner is covered with flour. (This is to have the cake easily removed from the tins). Poor the batter in the tins and bake in the oven for about 20-30 minutes, test with inserting a wooden skewer, if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Clean the big bowl.
4. Let the cake cool down in the tins. When cold sprinkle some icingsugar on the cake. Put a chopping-board on top of the tins and turn them over to remove the cake form the tins.
Now it is time to make the mocha-buttercream:
5. Heat some water in the biggest pot (or use the au-bain-marie).
Mix the ingredients for the mocha buttercream in the bowl or smaller pot. Maintain this order:
– first stir eggs with sugar,
– next stir cocoa powder in it,
– then stir flour in it,
– finally stir bit by bit the strong coffee in it. The quantity of coffee should not be too much, the result must be a nice cream without any lumps.
6. When the water boils lower heat, just to have it simmering. Place the pot (or bowl) with the egg-sugar-mocha mixture on top of the simmering water. Stir constantly until the mixture is nice thick and creamy. It is very important not too stop stirring to avoid any lumps. When you think the cream is ready with the right texture stop stirring, remove the pot or bowl from the water and let the mixture cool down.
7. Stir the spoonful of icingsugar with the 250 grams of butter. The sugar makes that the butter can be stirred easier. Now stir a spoonful of the mocha mixture with the butter. Gradually stir in the butter spoon by spoon until you have a nice spreadable buttercream.
8. Place the colander on top of a bowl and empty the jar of sour cherries in the colander, so the juice gets in the bowl.
Tear the cake in nutsize pieces and put them in the big bowl you started this recipe with. Add the sour cherries, the grated orange peel and the jam. You also may add a bit of the sour cherrie juice.
Mix this carefully all together with 2/3 of the mocha-buttercream. If it is a bit too dry to your liking add a little bit of coffee or cherry juice.
Assembling the cake:
9. Use the servingdish and shape the cake-creammixture to a rectangle shape (like a brick). Use a little pressure to make sure the cake doesn’t fall apart.
Dip the paletteknife in hot water and spread the remaining 1/3 part of the buttercream on the outside of the cake. Remove spilled cream from the sides of the dish with a piece of kitchentowel.
Decorate with chocolate shavings or any other decoration you like.
10. Put the cake overnight in the fridge for a steady consistency and well blended flavours.
Dutch version of this recipe: Gescheurde taart