Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grama’s Neapolitan Cake

This is the most beautiful cake!  Elegant and delicious.  And I can’t stand the idea of Rosh Hashanah without it.  Sappy, but it IS like having my grandmother there, in some way.

It helps that it’s a really GOOD cake.  And one that tastes so much better, fresh and buttery, than anything you can buy in a kosher bakery.  It really is good enough to plan meals around.  It’s basically cookies, layered with pudding.  Cookies and pudding:  the ultimate comfort foods!

I found a lot of recipes online for a “Neapolitan Cake” which simulates the 3-flavour, 3-colour effect of Neapolitan ice cream.  Wrong!  Those are completely way off track.  This cake is nothing like that.

I discovered that many (most?) layered Neapolitan Cake recipes call for jam or something fruity between the layers.  Indeed, the classic “dolce alla napoletana” often features almonds and either plain cream or a fruit spread between the layers and then an exterior icing glaze.  Not necessarily ANY chocolate, anywhere.

So maybe my grandmother made this up.  Or maybe she ran out of fruit preserves so she had to substitute chocolate pudding.  Whatever and whoever – it’s a stroke of genius. 

A reassuring family cake to usher in a sweet year of comfort, surrounded by family.

(adapted from Kinnereth Cookbook, p. 305, Beck Posluns’s Neapolitan Cake) (Beck Posluns was my grama!)

Important Note:  Prepare at least one day before serving so that cake will soften.

1.  Cream together:  1 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 009rosh stuff 2010-09-07 010

2.  In food processor, buzz with steel knife to aerate (or, the old fashioned way, sift together):  2-1/2 cups (350g) flour, 1/4 tsp baking soda.

3.  Add flour and baking soda to bowl along with 1 cup butter, melted.  Scrape sides until all ingredients are combined.

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 011

4.  Blend into a dough (cookie dough consistency).

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 012

5.  Divide evenly into four ungreased 8-1/2” pans.

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 008

6.  With bare hands (slightly damp if the dough is too sticky), spread dough smoothly to edge of pan.

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 006 

7.  Repeat for remaining three pans (I know you knew that, but I had this picture I wanted to throw in!).

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 007     

8.  Bake 17-20 minutes at 350°, until golden brown.

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 013 

9.  Gently turn out onto towels to cool.

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 014

Now for the pudding!

1.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, dissolve 4 tablespoons cornstarch in 1/2 cup milk. (= cornstarch slurry)

2.  In a bowl, combine 2 egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa with cornstarch slurry.

 rosh stuff 2010-09-07 015 

3.  In top of double boiler, combine 1/2 cup strong coffee and 1-1/2 cups milk.  Whisk in cornstarch mixture.

4.  Cook, stirring constantly, until thick and smooth.  When ready, mixture will resemble chocolate pudding – because it is.  It will thicken slightly as it cools.  Turn off heat.

5.  Whisk in 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vanilla.  Allow to cool completely.  (note:  you could probably add a tablespoon or two of your favourite liqueur at this step – but I never do)

rosh stuff 2010-09-07 016

6.  When cool, spread pudding mixture generously (I always have leftovers) between cake layers and over top.  Try to keep the layers aligned as you build up the cake.  :-)

cakesteps 2010-09-08 001cakesteps 2010-09-08 002cakesteps 2010-09-08 003

7.  Sprinkle top evenly with sliced almonds which have been toasted (toast them in the an oven in a single layer at 300°, or in a dry frying pan on medium heat for a few minutes).

8.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Cake will soften and the flavours will meld until it is simply… luscious!

cakesteps 2010-09-08 006 cakesteps 2010-09-08 007   

(p.s.  And TWO are waaaay better than one!!!)

And in the morning, I went out to the store, bought sliced almonds, toasted them, sprinkled them (the top pudding had dried a bit overnight, but I put the almonds on when they were still hot from roasting, so I hope that will help them stick), and WAAAAH-lah!

finished 001

Looks a bit messy.  Trust me, when my grandmother made it, this thing sure looked ELEGANT.  Mine looks a bit ploppy, but believe me, it’ll be delicious.  (plus, the kids are happy because they got leftover pudding for dessert!)

שנה טובה!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Okay, guys... I'm turning moderation OFF on all my blogs. I will be patrolling for spam, so play nice!

A few other Blogs we Might Like Together