Monday, February 25, 2013

Who doesn't like cake? ("Rotten Tree Stump Cake")

Playing catch-up has been tough so blogging's been on the back burner a little...
This recipe was supposed to be shared with you, oh... about a month and a half ago! But, of course, life got in the way.

While vacationing in Belarus in January, my sister and I (well, more like my sister ONLY, I was mostly taking photos) made a delicious cake, whose name doesn't do it justice.

I do hope you attempt to make it as it is SO so easy! Here's a little preview:

What is up with the title of this cake recipe?! Well, it's a direct translation of "трухлявый пень" from Russian. And the reason this cake is called that is because all kinds of "things" can live in a rotten tree stump and so you can put anything you want in this cake - be it raisins, dried apricot, jam, fresh berries or some nuts, it'll taste great all the same!

"Rotten Tree Stump" cake
The recipe is fairly free-flowing, it's not one of those rigid do-it-like-so-or-you'll-mess-it-up cakes.

You'll need the following ingredients:

* 2 eggs
* 1 cup of sugar
* 1 cup of kefir (usually sold at Superstores or health food stores)
* 2 tsp of baking soda (don't "react" it with anything)
* 1 cup of jam (OR cranberries and sugar; read what I mean by that below)
* 2 1/2 cups of flour
* 500 g of sour cream
* 1 cup of sugar (this amount can be more or less depending how sweet you want your cream to be)
* Optional: as mentioned above, you can add anything you have on hand that you think will taste good in a cake. We added cut-up dried apricot.

1. [skip this step if using jam] Throw your cranberries into a food processor to chop them up into a fairly fine mass. Mix in some sugar (amounts of both ingredients are totally up to you).

2. In a large bowl, mix 2 eggs and 1 cup of sugar with either a wisk or a hand mixer.

3. Add kefir and soda (which will "react" with kefir) and mix everything once more. It'll become kind of foamy.

4. Now add jam, or the cranberries+sugar mass, and blend well.

5. Finally, for our flour - add in small amounts at a time for easier mixing and avoidance of major clumps. The final consistency should be about that of a pancake mix (kind of thick).

At this point, pour about half of the amount into your cake pan and stick it in the oven for about 20-30 minutes on 350˚F (that's right, it's better and quicker to bake it in 2 parts). Add optional ingredients to the remainder of your mix (or to the whole batch, if you wish).

Keep checking to see when your first layer is ready (the clean toothpick method). Follow the same baking instruction for the remainder of the cake mix.

While your cake is baking, you can make the cream:

6. This cream is simple and super easy to make! Just use your hang mixer to mix sour cream (1 tub, so about 500 g) and 1 cup of sugar. Done!
(you can fancy it up if you wish, just add 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract to this mix)

7. Once your 2 cake layers are ready, let them cool a bit. Once cooled, slice each layer once to make 2 layers (so, 4 layers overall). Here you see the layer with cut-up dried apricots added - we alternated our layers.

8. Almost there! Now for the final step - assembly of the cake. You can use some water, water+jam, or juice for this one.

Add a small amount of your chosen liquid to the first layer of your cake; soak the layer through (not too too much though); spread some cream over the layer. Add the next layer on top and repeat the procedure. Once, the final layer of the cake has been fully covered by cream, you can sprinkle some chocolate powder or crushed walnut (either is optional).

It is best to let this cake sit in the fridge for at least a few hours (to left it over night) to let the water/jam/juice and cream soak through all the layers as this will make your cake really moist.



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