Monday, November 16, 2009

Hungarian Jancsi Torta

Because it was on the list of Heavenly Baking, it was on my agenda, although I probably wouldn't have chosen it left to my own devices. I have noted similar remarks in some of the other blogs, and I felt the same way. But I was also baking it because I think that the cakes in this book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, have evolved into the most exceptional cakes of Rose's repertoire. So there were two very good reasons to bake it.

I haven't owned a springform pan for aeons, but our erstwhile Williams-Sonoma was very happy to remedy that for $46.00. Wow. Concealing the price slip from 'prying eyes,' I made my way home to the kitchen. Now I needed a bain-marie. The grocery had a pan 12" and I brought it home. Indeed, this was going to be a very tight fit, with cake strips, foil, parchment, and the kitchen sink in this contraption. Actually, it turned out okay, except for not being able to see how much water it needed in the bottom with such a tight fit. And there was no water left in the bottom at the finish.
With the 'contraption' resting on the oven rack pulled-forward, I used a very small funnel between the foil and the pan [my friend's brilliant idea] through which to pour the hot water; spillage producing billowing steam that I was convinced was going to totally deflate the cake. At this time - a moment of deja vu, Jacques Pepin laughing at those of us who normally prepared a water-filled bain-marie at the sink, and carried this sloshing vessel to the stove. He then blandly announced the most expedient way is to take the water to the oven. Where was he today? Besides, he had a waist-high oven, and I was leaning into a steam-filled furnace. Merde!

So now, a week later, I am searching out a 13", or even 14" pan if necessary, in which to bake other cakes requiring this setup. Rose showed a larger amount of crumbled up foil between the 9" and the outer pan, so it will be significantly easier to view the water, and just less unwieldy. The parchment band worked well because the cake rose just to the top of it, but sank on the sides as expected. The center did dip a tiny bit, but when the sides fell, this was compensated. You can see the parchment collar being removed.

You will notice a large hole in the center. This is from my brand-new-fancy-cake-tester that has a somewhat large tip meant to turn bright red, as shown in the press. The problem was, that cake could have cratered by the time that tip turned bright red. So, panicked, I began inserting other thermometers in there. Finally, I just took the cake out. It looked beautiful, but for some reason I had worried it wasn't quite done. I should have just used the standby toothpick in the first place. So, crisis averted, and everything fine. Happiness reigned.

One other thing along the way - you may notice the underside [parchment still on] has some of the 'little white pearls' of genoise notoriety ... Of course, I did notice that Rose cautioned in the recipe to be careful to get that meringue well incorporated. But - well, the batter was thick, and one more time, I was afraid of deflating it - I didn't incorporate the sacrifice well. Sigh. But as Rose recalls, her guests thought they were meant to be there. Mine thought the little flecks of meringue were what was making it so light. Who was I to say nay? Grin.

We waited until it was cool, and ate a small piece - it really wasn't cool enough, but we were greedy. In the morning, however, I was surprised to see my husband standing in the doorway with a mischievous grin, and a plate in his hands, announcing "this is great."

Finally, served as dessert, partially chilled, with Swiss cherry preserves and a dollop of creme fraiche, our friends proclaimed it: "Delicious!!"

Tomorrow I hope to bake the Pure Pumpkin Cheesecake. A NordicWare Holiday Wreath mould is en route, and I have also ordered candied fruit, and Muscovado brown sugar from ChefShop for our Fruit Cake. So, I am already excited about the next two cakes.


P. S. I must apologize for my picture quality. Actually, I think the iPhone does a remarkable job, but am hoping Santa might bring me a more effective camera to add to my fun!


  1. Glad you enjoyed this cake - from the photos it looked superb.

  2. Thanks, Ncola for stopping by, and for the support.

  3. I agree with Nicola - looks superb to me too!! WilliamSonoma is one of my favorite stores. I'm so glad I don't have one located in my town.