Sunday 13 January 2008

Layered cake with prunes, walnuts and a cream that will cause many 'oohs', 'aahs' and 'I-didn't-know-that-was-comings'.

A position of honour (at least by me) on our kitchen shelf belongs to the book 'Eesti kokkade kokaraamat' which contains recipes composed by 26 Estonian chefs. These range from simpler recipes to Barbeque entrecote with basil marshmallow, ginger-hoisin sauce and roasted tomato seeds (just a sidemark: can you imagine that?).

This cake is adapted from the creation of Maren Rits, the chef of restaurant 'Postipoiss' and is unique for its use of Merevaik, an Estonian creamy processed cheese.

As my springform pan is 27 cm, I only cut the cake into 2 layers, although the recipe said 4 (how small does a pan have to be?). I also reduced the amount of prunes by half as there didn't seem to be much more room for them, but feel free to add as much as you like. And I didn't use muscovado and demerara sugar...but substituted with what I had.

Layered cake with prunes
(adapted from Maren Rits's recipe in 'Eesti Kokkade Kokaraamat")

130 g butter, room temperature
230 g light muscovado (I substituted with 180 g regular sugar + 50 g soft brown sugar)
3 eggs
100 g flour
1 tsp baking powder

400 g prunes (I used 200 g), chopped
100 g walnuts, chopped
2 tbsp demerara sugar (I left out)

200g sweet condensed milk
400 g creamy processed cheese (i.e. Estonian Merevaik)
100 g light syrup
  1. Slightly beat the eggs with sugar, add butter and beat with an electric mixer until fluffy.
  2. Add flour mixed with baking powder.
  3. Bake in a springform pan at 180C for about 25 minutes.
  4. Let the cake cool down and cut into layers (2-4) depending on the thickness of the cake.
  5. Beat condensed milk, processed cheese and sugar syrup together with an electric mixer until incorporated well.
  6. Spread the mixture between layers and on top of the cake, sprinkling prunes, walnuts and demerara sugar on the cream.
  7. Let the cake stand overnight, serve on the next day for best results.

Now that's one sweet cake! Although it turned out looking quite different from the photo in the book, we really liked it. The cream tastes more of condensed milk than of the cheese, but the processed cheese definitely gives the cream an intense flavour, the source of which is very hard to detect, and makes it a bit sticky. Between the layers the cream is soft, but on top of the cake it has become thick and looks a bit like sugar icing.

The cake, the cream, the prunes and the nuts - there are so different textures together in every bite that it's just pure pleasure! With only 200 g of prunes there was a piece of them in almost every bite and that was enough for us. The overall sweetness (quite overwhelming!) is counterbalanced only by the slightly bitter walnuts. I didn't sprinkle any sugar between the layers - the cake certainly does not need more sweetness, but I believe 2 tbsp of demerara sugar would rather serve as a flavour nuance and crunchy bits in a cake that is generally very soft.

For a drink alongside the cake I'd recommend cold milk. I guess strong coffee could work as well (not that I ever drink it, of course!).


Brilynn said...

That cake looks amazing! I would want to add some Armagnac to it because prune and armagnac is one of my favourite combinations!

Anonymous said...

I love anything with sweetened condensed milk! Looks yummy!

Evelin said...

Brilynn, thanks! I guess soaking the prunes in Armagnac first would have a winning effect for you, but, hey, I'm not the expert here;)

Linda, me too! My mum rarely bought it when I was little, maybe that's why I value the wonderful taste so much:)

Helene said...

Gorgeous!! I love anything sweet that's got cheese in it and the cake looks divine! Basil marshmallow? ouch...!

Cakespy said...

I have never seen anything quite like this!! It looks wonderful!

Evelin said...

tartelette, thank you! I must admit, that basil marshmallow thing has got me curious. might try that one out one day:D

cakespy, that is what attracts me most towards cake recipes - something I've never seen done before! and this cake definitely surprised me with its wonderful taste.

Chou said...

Oh, prunes and walnuts together are heaven. Thanks for introducing me to something I would have never found on my own!

Evelin said...

chou, you're welcome:) I can assure you - that was a winning combination indeed!