Happy Birthday Mr. Kitchen Hand!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

 Would you believe it if I told you that Mr. Kitchen Hand isn’t really that big a fan of cake?  It’s a texture thing - he prefers something a bit more toothy and chunky, like apple pie.

“But putting a candle on top of pie just isn’t the same!”
I cajoled. Plus, we had Nana and Pop Hand dropping in to visit for the weekend, and I definitely wanted to have something cakey to nibble on with cups of tea.  So I flicked through my favourite book of the moment, Belinda Jeffery’s Mix and Bake, and found a cake that I thought he would like. The fact that it contained a splash of rum turned things in my favour.

This caramel butter- crunch cake turned out so tasty that slices of it ended up disappearing before we had a chance to sing happy birthday with a whole cake. (The missing slices were bartered for babysitting which was a pretty good exchange I think!)

Mr. Kitchen Hand eventually got a chance to blow out a candle stuck into a wedge of cake. Best of all, he really enjoyed eating this cake, as did all of us. It was rich and moist with a slight tang, and every now and again, our forks would reach the gooeey, sugary, crunchy layers in between. Mmmmmm.  When we found a last slice hiding in the container about 3 days later, he was elated ☺  And being the lovely guy that he is, he even shared that piece with me.

And being the nice girl that I am, I think I’ll share the recipe with you.

Seeing double? I bought another copy for Nana Hand as an early Mother's Day present :) Quite fitting considering I bought my book thanks to a book voucher she'd given me for my birthday. 

Caramel Butter Crunch Cake
Recipe from page 88 of Mix and Bake
Serves 10-12 (or 4 adults and 2 kids over 3 days)
(I’ve rewritten the method in my own words so please don’t hold it against the book!)

1 cup (250ml) sour cream
½ cup (125ml) plain yoghurt
1 ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g roasted walnuts or pecans
1 ¾ cup (385g) castor sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon (I added a wee bit more)
3 cups (450g) plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt (I only added a pinch because I used reduced salt butter)
3 eggs
250g unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon overproof (dark) rum (I may have added slightly more than this)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
icing sugar for dusting
double thick cream (to serve)

1)    Preheat the oven to 180˚C, then butter and flour a medium sized (8-10 cup) kugelhopf tin. I’m not sure if my tin was a kugelhopf or bundt (what’s the difference again?), and I think it must have been smaller than the recipe indicated because the batter looked alarmingly as if it would overflow during baking. But it all worked out well in the end.

2)    Place the sour cream and yoghurt into a bowl (I used a glass measuring jug). Stir well until thoroughly mixed then add in the bicarbonate of soda. Leave it for about 15 minutes or so, it will start puffing up, so make sure the vessel you choose is tall enough to accommodate this.

3)    Pulse the nuts, ½ cup of the sugar (110g), and cinnamon in a food processor until fine. Tip into a bowl. Then place the flour, salt and baking powder into the processor and pulse to make sure it’s well combined. Empty this mixture out into a different bowl.

4)    Next add the eggs and the remaining 1 ¼ cup sugar (275g) into the processor and process for about a minute. Then add the butter and process again for another minute. The recipe warns that the mixture will look curdled, and it does, but don’t worry because it will still work out.

5)    Add the rum and the vanilla to the sour cream mixture and stir, I used a thin spatula for this. Scrape this into the mixture in the processor and pulse  a few times until incorporated. If your processor is big enough, add the flour mixture into the processor and pulse until well mixed. Otherwise, tip the mixture in the processor out into the flour mixture and fold until just combined.

6)    Spread a thin  layer of the batter into the prepared tin, then scatter about a handful of the nutty sugar mix over this. Shake the tin to even it out. Then add more cake batter, then another layer of nuts (use up all the nutty mix). Finish off with a final layer of  cake batter. You’ll end up with  these layers : cake, nuts, cake, nuts, cake.

7)    Bake until a skewer comes out clean. The recipe recommends about 50-60 minutes, but everyone’s oven is different. Cool in the tin. The recipe recommends 5 minutes but I think it needs more. Gently loosen the edges of cake from the tin using a metal spatuala. Turn over onto a cake rack to cool completely. When I tried to tip it out after 5 minutes, the cake broke! I quickly stuck the pan back onto it and left the whole thing to cool that way. Luckily the sugary layers acted like glue to bind it all together and we just lost a tiny bit of the sugary filling.

Serve dusted with icing sugar and thick cream. My own contribution is to add some dice crystallised ginger to the cream.

The cake lasts for 3 days at room temp in an airtight container. The recipe recommends warming it up to restore the texture before serving but we didn’t bother with this step and it still tasted great. It does smell a little bit strong though, from the yoghurt I think, but seriously, the taste will overcome any reservations. (The cake can be frozen for 3 weeks too, use an airtight container).

Now what else will I make from the book?  At last count , I’d made 3 cakes, 1 brownie, 1 scone and 3 biscuits already, and there are so many more to try!

 It was Mr. Kitchen Hand's birtdhay but I got presents, like this massive squash - I sauteed it with butter, garlic and lemon rind. The skin was a bit tough so proably should have peeled it first.

Chillies! (More presents)


3 hungry tummies said...

Oh how sweet of him to share the last piece with you :) I like the sound of the cake too, very grown up!
What are those funny looking chillies?

bake in paris said...

Happy birthday, Mr Kitchen Hand! This is a wonderful birthday cake that looks really scrumptious!!

Sawadee from Bangkok,

Hungry Dog said...

Happy birthday to your sweetie! The cake looks downright amazing. I have never heard of that cookbook, I must look for it!!

grace said...

gotta love it when that last slice becomes a pleasant surprise! this cake looks and sounds phenomenal, shaz--those layers of crunchy shtuff would make a very merry unbirthday for me. :)

Deelish Dish said...

Happy Birthday! My lovah doesn't like cake either...I always make him banoffee pie. So it's pie with candles at birthday time :)

shaz said...

3 hungry tummies- he is a nice boy isn't he? I think the chillies are called scotch bonnets and supposed to be very hot! I haven't tasted one yet (too scared), plus they're so pretty so they're just sitting in a bowl at the moment :)

Kris - thanks for visiting and for your lovely comment :)

Hungry Dog - hopefully you find the book, I am a bit obsessed by it at the moment.

grace - ah yes, I most definitely make it again for unbirthday parties :)

Deelish Dish - well, there you go. Pie and candles work after all :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Ooooh, caramel and butter crunch sounds just divine!
Wishing Mr. KH a very happy and delicious birthday.
*kisses* HH