Tuesday, January 13, 2015

happy belated new year!

Hello!  It's been quite a while since the last time I've made something good for you, but I know you'll forgive me because I'm here today with something sweet, chocolate and extraordinarily delicious.  Once you bite into it, you'll forget who you are, where you're from and what you're doing.  No guilt, no sorrow, just pure love and mouthfuls of mmmhs and awwws. 

So, I thought I'd kick off the New Year with Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi's Krantz cake from the cookbook Jerusalem. This is just one of the many recipes I've tried from their book but it is definitely one of my favorites, I've come back to it over and over again ... the creases on that particular page can prove the love.  

Happy New Year friends!  

A presto!


adapted from the cookbook Jerusalem 
Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

makes two loaf cakes

530 g all purpose flour, plus extra for dusting (I used strong flour in place of all purpose flour)
100 g sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
grated zest of 1 small lemon
3 extra-large eggs
120 ml water
1/4 tsp salt
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
sunflower oil, for greasing

Chocolate filling
50 g sugar
30 g good quality cocoa powder
130 g good quality dark chocolate, melted
120 g unsalted butter, melted
100 g pecans, coarsely chopped (I used walnuts)

Syrup to cover cakes
160 ml water
260 g sugar

Start by making the dough:

Place the flour, sugar, yeast and lemon zest in a stand mixer.  With a dough hook mix on low speed for 1 minute.  Add the eggs and water, after a few seconds increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough comes together.  Add the salt and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing until it is incorporated in the dough.  Continue mixing until the dough is completely smooth, elastic and shiny. During the mixing, scrape down the sides of the bowl and throw small amounts of flour onto the sides so that all the dough leaves them.

Place the dough in a bowl previously greased with sunflower oil, cover with a plastic wrap and leave in the fridge over night.

Melt the chocolate and butter.  Mix the melted chocolate and butter with the cocoa powder and sugar. You will obtain a spreadable paste.  

Divide the dough in half and keep the one-half covered in the fridge.  Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle (38 by 28 cm).  With a spatula, spread the half of the chocolate mixture over the rectangle leaving a 2 cm border all around. Sprinkle the pecans (or walnuts) on top of the chocolate.  Note:  at this point Ottolenghi sprinkles some extra superfine sugar on top of the filling and nuts.  I preferred to leave it less sweet by skipping this step.

Use both hands to roll up the rectangle, starting from the long side closest to you and ending at the other long end.  Rest the roll on its seam.

Trim about 2 cm off both ends of the roll with a serrated knife.  Use the knife to gently cut the roll into a half longwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam.  You are dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves.  With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half.  Repeat this process to form a simple braid.  Gently squeeze together the other ends.  Gently lift the cake into a previously greased and lined loaf pan.  Cover the loaf with a damp cloth and repeat the process to make the second cake.  Let the loafs rise for 2 hours

Preheat the oven at 190°C.  Place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 30/35 minutes.

While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup.  Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil.  As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and leave to cool down.  Once the cakes come out of the oven, brush the syrup over them. Note:  Ottolenghi point out that it is important to use up all the syrup to cover the cakes.  I found it was too sweet for my taste, so I used only half the amount for both. Leave the cakes until they are warm, then remove them from the pans and let cool completely before serving.


  1. A very happy new year to u too. That is one great cakes and the syrup takes it to a different level. Amazing!

    1. Oh Megha, that syrup is exactly what makes the difference. I've tried it without and it's not the same. I've tried it with less, and still, it's not the same. It hits the spot only by following the recipe exactly as it is.... with all its butter and sugar :)

  2. This looks a delicious way to forget who you are.

    1. Denise, as a matter of fact, I'm still trying to remember who I am, and this is not a good sign, but the delicious impact remains no matter what! :-)

  3. Ciao bella, Buon Anno! What a gorgeous cake you've given us to kick off the new year. I don't have the book Jerusalem, though I do have Ottolenghi's book Plenty. Thank you for sharing this recipe. Your photos, as always, are other-wordly beautiful! Abbracci, D

    1. Thank you Domenica. Ottlenghi is so inspiring, I found myself making some of his recipes over and over again. I'm sending you a great big hug :*

  4. Aspettavo con ansia la ricetta di questa meraviglia!!! Siii!!! Ora, spero di farlo prestissimo :-) Un abbraccio grande Elvira

    1. Ti verrĂ  una meraviglia con quelle mani d'oro che ti ritrovi! Un abbraccio grande anche a te :)