Hungarian gastronomy has a number of different types of desserts. They often have many layers filled with rich buttercreams while other times they seem like just a bunch of ingredients thrown together in one bowl. One thing is for sure, however: they are all delicious.
Punch cake is no different, though it is unique in the sense that the filling here is cut-up sponge cake cubes soaked in a rum-sugar syrup. Origo describes punch cakes as “the perfect combination of elegance and chaos”. This refers to the fact that while the filling can be prepared from a number of ingredients – you can use orange juice or rum; cocoa, chocolate or coffee; dried fruits or jams; basically, whatever you have lying around in your pantry -, the finishing pink fondant touch gives it an air of elegance and sophistication.
Thanks to the beautiful and delicious punch cakes, whenever someone mentions punch, most Hungarians will think of rum and the colour pink. This dessert has become a real classic in Hungary over the years, and it can be found in any confectionery you go to. Some say it originates from Vienna where they call it ‘Punschkrapfen’, though it went under some changes since then. Now, thanks to the old Ilona Horváth recipe, it feels like a true Hungarian dessert.
For the pastry
12 tbsp. flour
12 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 pinches of salt
For the filling
120 g sugar
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
150 ml water
150 ml rum
6-7 tbsp. sour cherry jam
100 g raisins
For the glaze
3 egg whites
8 tbsp. icing sugar
1-2 tbsp. sour cherry juice
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Get two 10-inch cake tins and line them with baking paper. It helps if you grease the sides, too. Separate the eggs for the pastry. Whip the egg whites with the salt until it stiffens. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar in another bowl until they reach the ribbon stage. Add in the flour and the baking powder, then gently fold in the egg whites, too. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake them for about 20-25 minutes (they should be golden brown at the end).
For the filling, make the soaking syrup first. Put the sugar, the cocoa powder, the water and the rum into a saucepan, bring it to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes. When the pastries are out of the oven, cut one of them into small cubes. Put the pieces in a separate bowl and add the raisins. Gradually add the soaking syrup. Be careful not to oversoak them, even if this may mean you have some of the syrup left.
Cut the other cake into half and spread each one with the jam, placing the bottom one into a clean baking tin. Add the soaked cubes onto it, then place the other side of the cake on top (jam-side down). Let the cake cool for a while in the fridge, preferably with a piece of round baking paper and some sort of weight on top so that the cake really settles overnight.
The next day, beat the egg whites and sugar over some simmering water. When it starts to show soft peaks, add the sour cherry juice and beat until it stiffens. Spread the cake with the icing and decorate it as you see fit.
For last week’s cream cake recipe, click HERE.
Featured image: facebook.com/pg/Eta-hagyományos-tortái
Source: Daily News Hungary