Saturday, 7 June 2014

Raspberry and Walnut cake


I happened to live in Denmark a couple of years ago and my acclimatization was not the easiest. I was very Edinburgh-sick and finding interesting things to do (while still on the cheap side) was a struggle. Yet, when looking back at my time there I think it was not that bad and there were definitely some awesome moments - my love for biking, my love for beer by the canals, and my love for baking were all born there. 

A great contribution to the latter goes to the Danish confectioner Mette Blomsterberg. At the time she had a show called Kongerigets Kager (The Kingdom’s Cakes) where she would recreate random recipes given to her by the subjects (of Denmark). I quite like the elegance of her style and the bare simplicity of the methods and the recipes. And the results have always been divine. 

Here is my take on her Hindbærlagkage (Raspberry layered cake). It may seem long and super complicated but don’t despair. I just tried to be extra explanatory so that the recipe is extra fool proof. Do try it because there is no way you will regret it. It is light and not too sweet. The walnut sponge is aromatic and moist and the zing of the raspberries is pure heaven. The perfect cake to treat yourself (or you know … others).

What you’ll need:

Walnut sponge:

75 grams walnuts 
70 grams light brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
100 grams plain flour
100 grams egg yolks*
200 grams egg whites*

*The whites weigh roughly double the yolks, i.e. you’ll need the same number of eggs for the whites and the yolks. I used 5 medium eggs in total.

Raspberry Filling:

2 sheets gelatine
100 grams raspberries 
50 grams icing sugar
250 grams mascarpone
100 grams thick Greek style natural yoghurt 
100 grams double cream.
1 vanilla pod

Chocolate ganache:

180 grams dark chocolate
80 grams double cream

What to do:

Walnut sponge:

  1. Crush the walnuts finely, but leave some larger chunks as well. 
  2. Whisk the yolks with the sugar until the mixture thickens and whitens. **
  3. Mix the flour with the baking powder and sift into the egg mixture and add the walnuts. Stir well. 
  4. Whisk the egg whites until hard peaks and fold them into the yolk batter.
    Be sure to fold properly and do not overmix so that you don’t lose the volume of the whites but don’t leave white specks out of fear you might overmix. **
  5. Put baking parchment on the bottom of a spring form and lightly oil/butter the paper and the sides of the form. Spread the batter in the form and even it on top.
  6. Bake at 190 C° for 20-30 min. 
  7. Check for readiness with a wooden stick, which when inserted in the centre should come out clean. 
  8. Leave out to cool and after 5-10 minutes remove from the spring form. Let it cool down completely before cutting in half (or three).

    **The egg whites must be whisked with clean dry whisks and since I have only one electric mixer I prefer to whisk them first and move on with the same whisks to the yolks. Unlike the whites, they will not be affected by the other batter. But be sure to work promptly so that the whites do not become watery. 

Raspberry Filling:

  1. Put the gelatin sheets in cold water for at least 10 minutes. 
  2. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds with the back of a knife.
  3. Put the vanilla seeds together with the remaining vanilla pod in a pot and add the raspberries and the icing sugar. 
  4. Put the pot on low heat and start mushing the berries with the sugar and vanilla until they become jam-like. Do not let the mixture boil and when you feel it is on the verge to, take it off the heat.
  5. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine sheets (which should be like jelly by now) and add them to the hot raspberries. Stir for a minute until the gelatine dissolves.
  6. Whisk the mascarpone together with the yoghurt and the cream until hard peaks.
  7. Add a third of the cream blend to the raspberries and stir rapidly. When incorporated, add the raspberry mousse to the rest of the cream and mix well. 

Building the cake.

  1. Line the sides of the (clean) spring form with an acetate sheet or parchment paper. 
  2. Cut the (cold) walnut sponge in two (or three).
  3. Take the top part of the sponge, turn it over and place it on the bottom of the spring form. Thus, you can use the flat bottom of the sponge as your top and have less hustle creating a flat surface and edge when decorating. 
  4. Spread a generous amount of the mouse on the base but leave some for the final coating.
  5. Put the remaining part of the sponge on top so that the base faces up. 
  6. Press down so that the raspberry mouse spreads evenly underneath and reaches the sides of the form.
  7. Cover with cling film and let it rest overnight or for at least 7 hours. As much as you’d want to rush it, don’t. The cake needs time to settle down and absorb some of the moisture so that it is not dry and has a well-developed flavour.
  8. Remove it from the spring form and gently spread the remaining raspberry mouse on top and around the sides of the cake. Try to ice it smoothly. 
  9. Let it rest again in the fridge. If you are unhappy with the icing on top, you can heat up a knife and run its blunt side on top.

Final touches:

Chocolate ganache:

  1. Cut the chocolate into fine pieces.
  2. Heat up the cream to just under boiling point.
  3. Add the chocolate to the hot cream and stir carefully until melted in. Don’t be too vigorous and be patient as you don’t want bubbles in the final look. 
  4. Take the cake out of the fridge and pour the warm ganache over it. You can help it with a spatula. Again, if it isn’t as smooth as desired, run a hot knife over it.
  5. The decoration is up to your imagination. 


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