Sunday, April 10, 2005

Mirsada's Layered Cake

Last Saturday, it was Mirsada's turn to cook for the dergah. Since I knew which dessert she would be making, I left home equipped with my camera. Unfortunately, I was late for dinner, and not only was there almost no dessert left by the time I arrived, but it was getting dark which made it difficult to take a decent picture of the few end pieces left. I am writing this because the picture above doesn't do any justice to Mirsada's dessert which was smooth, light, rich and crunchy--all in the same bite.

Mirsada gave me the recipe years ago, and I have been able to successfully make it several times--yet there have been other times that I failed, either in the cake or the buttercream. It reads like a simple recipe, but it can be mysteriously tricky at times. Mirsada, who has clearly mastered it, pointed out a few rules for success which I included in the recipe.


5 eggs
5 tbs sugar
4 tbs flour
1 tbs cocoa


250 gm water
6 tbs sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Buttercream Layer:

1/2 lt milk
9 tbs flour
9 tbs sugar
2 sticks (16 tbs) of butter
1 tsp vanilla

Chocolate Layer:

7 oz chocolate, cut into small pieces
2-3 tbs milk
1 tbs butter

First prepare the syrup. Mix all syrup ingredients together and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes. Take off from heat and cool.

Grease and flour a 13x9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 350F. To prepare the cake, beat eggs and sugar until thick and light-colored. Add the cocoa and flour and mix well. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake until set and center springs back when gently touched. When warm, sprinkle with the sugar syrup.

For filling, mix some of the cold milk with flour. Stir until no lumps remain. (Mirsada said that the consistency of the mixture must be just a little thicker than crepe batter.) Heat the remaining milk with sugar and vanilla extract. When it starts to simmer, gradually and carefully pour in the flour mixture, stirring continuously. Continue to stir and cook until the mixture thickens, for about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Exactly half an hour before you are ready to proceed with the next step, take out the butter sticks from the refrigerator. (This step is critical: if the butter is too soft, buttercream will not have the right consistency, if it is too firm, it may be difficult to incorporate it.) At the end of this period, cut butter into chunks. Add the chunks,a few at a time, to the cooled custard and beat with an electric mixer until they are completely incorporated. Continue until all butter is used up. Cover the buttercream and rest in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

To assemble, spread the buttercream frosting on top of the cake layer. Cover and refrigerate as you prepare the chocolate topping. For the topping, melt chocolate pieces with butter on low heat. If too thick for spreading, you can lighten it with 2-3 tbs milk. Cool a few minutes. Spread as a thin layer on the buttercream.