Steiermark (Austria) 2020
Racing again in Austria causes us to look further into the extensive range of cakes from this wonderful sugar-loving nation. And this year we're not content to just copy a traditional cake, but make it our own.
So here is Punscheidi.
The classic punschkrapfen literally translates as 'punch donut' so it feels only appropriate for these morsels to be called punch-Heidi.
The originals are flavoured with apricot and rum, neither of which would appeal to Heidi, so she chose to replace the flavouring with cherry. Since Sainsbury's is drastically short of icing sugar while come to the end of Covid-19 lockdown, we had to quickly replace the topping and so we stumbled on pre-made purple mirror frosting on the next shelf.
We struggled to make the cake rise. It's baked much like a swiss roll, but somehow we couldn't cause it to lift. The first attempt was too bad to use and the second, which Sian mixed for us, only a slight improvement. By which time we were down to only 6 eggs remaining, which we earmarked for our lockdown routine of Sunday brunch, so we accepted the cake and carried on.
The middle layer, where we first expressed our inspired variation, consists of cake offcuts soaked in cherry compote, sweetened and diluted in orange juice. (In making that, I discovered how delicious the tart flavoured 'Taste the Difference' Cherry Compote is, and will thus have to buy a New York cheesecake later in the week to use the remnant.) This, in my opinion, is the best part of the cake.
Assembled in a stack of cake on filling on cake, we produced these treats and then proceeded to violate them with icing and finally ruined it with a glace cherry.
The end results are pleasant (if you ignore the glace cherry) and best experienced with eyes shut. Heidi quite liked it. Tally gave the glace cherry to Sian before starting (a wise move) and then decided she didn't like the cake anyway. Sian ate nothing but Tally's glace cherry - I assume in protest over the use of fruit.
Recipe below, if you dare to follow us...
|Dump it into the oven tray|
|Not suitable to feed to an Englishman|
|Cutting out many circles|
|Assembling in make-shift tubes of baking paper|
|De-cased (successfully, to my surprise)|
|The finished article|
|Not to be eaten whole|
165g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vamilla extract
zest of one lemon
75g self-raising flour
Syrup for filling
100g Cherry compote cheat and just buy it
2 tbsp caster sugar
80ml orange juice
Ready to use, mirror glaze in a harsh purple colour that looks very sickly but actually hardly tasts of anything
8 whole glace cherries and a few to spare for Mummy
Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 3-4. Grease a line a baking tray. Make 8 cylinders of baking paper, by wrapping tightly around a 5cm cake cutter and fix with sticky tape - alternatively come prepared with 8 deep stainless steel cutters.
- Electric whisk the sugar and eggs until very thick and light colour. Test that you can draw a figure of 8 or the Mona Lisa in the dribbles, which remains visible long enough to see the full shape. Add vanilla and lemon zest, whisk gently a little more to mix in. A tip here: avoid dropping the while lemon into the mixture as you try to zest it, it's a messy ordeal to retrieve.
- Warm the butter and milk just until the butter melts. Allow to cool, to ensure you don't cook the eggs or burn a child. (Before this becomes read as a self-confession of child miss-treatment: No it didn't burn anyone.)
- Sieve the flour and cornflour together over the egg mixture. Pour in the milk and butter down the side of the bowl. Fold together. Sian thinks we should have added the flour incrementally, to improve the rise - please any of my cake-making friends, give suggestions for rising improvements.
- Pour gently into the lined baking tray and place immediately into the oven.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cakes are a pale golden colour, and springs back when lightly touched and it starts pulling away from the sides of the tins.
- Take out of the oven and stand int he tray for 2 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Place all the syrup ingredients into a saucepan and warm just to dissolve the sugar.
- Use a 5 cm-round cake cutter to cut 16 circles from the sponge. From the off-cuts cut 1cm squares to fill 1 1/2 cups (at this point we query why a recipe which until now used entirely metric measurements has just fallen into Americanism).
- Place the mini squares into the syrup to soak for the filling, but avoid mashing it to crumbs next time.
- Assemble in each of the paper cylinders layers of cake, filling and cake. You could aim for an equal height of each layer or just stuff in as much filling as you can. Carefully remove the paper case and surprise yourself at how amazing your engineering skills are for having made up those on the spot. If this works out correctly, you now have 8 cakes.
- Pour on the icing, as per packet instructions and top with a glace cherry.
Credit: SBS/Anneka Manning and the all amazing Heidi.