Baking · Cake · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge

Serbia: Vasa’s Torte

Flag of Serbia

In terms of national cuisine, we talk a lot about heterogeneous cuisines, or cuisines that have developed from centuries of rule or habitation by peoples who are not part of that country from birth. This is particularly prevalent in Balkan countries, as up until comparatively recently these countries were ruled by others, part of a larger union of countries. Unsurprisingly this impacts on the food – influences can be taken from many countries can be seen even today. This is particularly true of this cake – one that takes much of it’s style from the Austrian gateaux which would have been known to Serbia during it’s time of Austro-Hungarian leadership.

Serbian Cake

This cake is a very traditional Serbian cake, with the flavours of chocolate, almonds and orange. The cake is a very light cake, held up primarily by egg white rather than raising agents. This is then topped with a chocolate almond topping, and the whole dessert is covered with whipped cream.

Serbian Cake 2

I have toned down the amount of cream in this cake; the picture below shows a traditional cake, but I could not face the sheer amount of whipped cream! Feel free to increase the amount if you so wish!

File:Vasina torta.jpg
A Traditional Vasa’s Torte

Vasa’s Torte

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 5 eggs
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons walnuts (ground, or almonds)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 juice of oranges

For the filling and topping

  • 250 grams walnuts (ground)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 5 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 150 grams butter (soft)
  • 50 grams dark chocolate (grated)
  • 0.2 litres milk
  • 1 orange
  • 300 ml double cream

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 °C/350 F/Gas 4.
  2. Grease and base line 23 cm/9in round cake tin with greased greaseproof paper.
  3. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add walnuts and flour and combine all. In another clean bowl whisk egg whites to the stiff peak stage and carefully fold them into the egg yolk mixture, bit by bit, using a metal spoon.
  5. Now pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake it for about 30 minutes.
  6. When it is baked, leave it to cool and than transfer to serving plate. Pour orange juice over cake and prepare the filling. For the filling melt chocolate and cool a little.
  7. In a saucepan put milk and 1 tablespoon sugar and heat it to boil and then pour over ground walnuts and mix well.
  8. Add melted chocolate, grated zest and juice of orange and combine all.
  9. In separate bowl whisk egg yolk and sugar until pale and add to chocolate mixture and finally add butter and mix well.
  10. Spread the filling over the cake, it will be thick like one layer of cake.
  11. Chill in the fridge for about 2 hours.
  12. Then whip the cream and spread over and around the cake.
  13. Can be decorated with grated chocolate.
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Baking · Cake · Desserts · Europe · Nation Cake Challenge

Romania: Amandine Gateaux

Flag of Romania

Whilst being a popular Romanian cake, this dessert seems to me to have a very French air to it, namely the size and style of the cake. Whilst it appears to be a very popular cake within the country, I can’t find any information about how it developed and why it has become so popular – if anyone does have any information please let me know! To add to the confusion, there is also a french Gateau Amandine which includes almonds and apricots. For the moment then, the cake will have to remain a mystery. However, like many mysterious characters, this cake is intriguing and addictive, drawing you back in for more. A very soft cake, soaked with a coffee-flavoured syrup and filled with a chocolate-cream filling. Topped with a chocolate glaze, this is a chocoholics dream, and simply quite delicious.

DSC_0013

Amandine Gateaux

Ingredients:

Sponge Cake:

  • 260g aster sugar
  • 8 eggs
  • 40ml water
  • 50ml oil
  • 30g cocoa
  • 150g all-purpose flour

Chocolate filling:

  • 4 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 330g unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2.5 tbsp cocoa powder

Coffee Syrup:

  • 400ml water
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 tsbp instant coffee

Chocolate Glaze

  • 250g dark chocolate
  • 150ml whipping cream

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas mark 4, and grease and line a 13x9in baking tin.

Beat the egg whites and water until they form stiff peaks. Mix in the sugar until it dissolves. In a different bowl, mix together the egg yolks and oil, before folding in the egg whites. Combine the flour and cocoa powder and fold gently into the mixture. until just combined. Bake for about 30 minutes until brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To make the filling, beat the eggs and sugar over a bain-marie until thick and creamy – lifting the whisk out should result in a ribbon trail being left on the surface. Add half the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Remove from the heat and chill. Cream the butter and remaining cocoa powder before combining with the chilled egg mixture. Set aside and allow to cool completely.

For the syrup, combine the water and sugar over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Add the coffee powder and bring to a boil, stirring constantly to allow the granules to dissolve. Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool.

To assemble the cake, cut the cooled cake in half horizontally before moistening each part with the coffee syrup. Cover the bottom later of cake with the cocoa filling and place the second layer on top.

Melt the chocolate glaze by heating the chocolate and cream gently until smooth. Set aside for two minutes to allow it to cool slightly before pouring onto the cakes, spreading over the top and sides of the cake. Decorate with chocolate toppings and serve with whipped cream if preferred.