Pascale’s Kitchen: Yeast cakes

This week I am bringing you recipes for making sweet yeast cakes for Shabbat that are made with butter.

 Star cake (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Star cake
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

There’s nothing I associate more with Shabbat than yeast cakes. At least once a week, I fire up my oven and bake something special for my family. 

In summer, it’s easy to get the dough to rise quickly, but I actually especially love making yeast cakes in the wintertime. 

I used to knead the dough by hand, but in recent years, I make all my bread and cakes with an electric mixer. The dough still needs time to rise in a covered bowl placed in a warm place. In the olden days, it was normal to cover dough with a towel and place it in the warmest place in the house. These days, it’s considered good enough to just cover it with plastic wrap. 

Some people place the dough in a plastic bag, which they then place in a large bowl. Others prepare the dough and leave it in the fridge overnight, which is a great way to make challah and cakes when you have lots of other dishes to prepare for Shabbat dinner. Another option is to prepare the dough at some point during the week and freeze it. 

Following numerous requests from readers, this week I am bringing you recipes for making sweet yeast cakes for Shabbat that are made with butter. If you’d like to make them pareve, just replace the butter with margarine or oil. Just be aware that the flavor will be slightly different. 

 Kugelhopf (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Kugelhopf (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

The first recipe is for star cake, which makes an extremely nice impression. It does take a bit of patience and time, but it’s worth it. The second recipe is for kugelhopf made with almond nougat, and the third recipe is for one of my favorite yeast recipes: chocolate crunch. 

Wishing all of you a wonderful Shabbat full of chocolate and almonds. 

TiPascale

50 gr. fresh yeast=2 Tbsp. dry yeast.

Kugelhopf 

Use a 24 cm. diameter kugelhopf pan. 

½ kg. flour, sifted25 gr. yeast¾ cup sugar3 eggs130 gr. softened butter¼ tsp. salt1½ cups milk

Filling:

100 gr. nougat or date spread½ cup orange jam or any other flavor1 cup of walnuts, chopped½ cup light raisinsZest from 1 orange½ cup slivered almonds200 gr. marzipan, cut up

Topping: 

½ cup powdered sugar

To prepare the dough, put the flour, yeast and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for a minute or two. While mixing on slow speed, gradually add the eggs, butter, salt and milk. Grease a bowl and then transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, place in a warm space and let the dough rise for 30 minutes. 

To prepare the filling, mix all the filling ingredients together, except for the marzipan. Gradually add the marzipan pieces and mix well. 

Flour your work surface and roll out the dough until it is 0.5 cm thick. Spread the filling on the dough and then roll it up. Connect the two ends and press together. Place the dough on a greased and floured baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place for 90 minutes. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170°-180° for 35 minutes. Let the cake cool, then sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Time: 90 minutes (not including time in freezer and for letting dough rise).

Status: Dairy. 

Star cake

Use a 22 cm. or 24 cm. diameter pan.

Dough: 

3¼ cups (455 gr.) flour, sifted25 gr. fresh yeast2 Tbsp. sugar2 Tbsp. honey1 egg1 tsp. vanilla1-1½ cups milk100 gr. butter, softened and cut into cubesPinch of salt

Filling: 

1 container of chocolate spread with hazelnuts

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with 1-2 drops of oil

Topping: 

Powdered sugar

Add the flour, yeast and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. While mixing at medium speed, add the honey, egg and vanilla. Gradually add half a cup of milk and the butter cubes. Fold in the flour and continue mixing while gradually adding the rest of the milk until the dough reaches the correct consistency (depending on absorption rate). Add the salt and mix for another 8 minutes until the dough becomes a bit sticky. 

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let it rise in the fridge. Alternatively, you can let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles in volume. 

Flour your work surface. Split the dough into four sections. Roll out each section into a thin circle. Let the circles rise another 4-5 minutes. 

Heat the chocolate spread in the microwave a few seconds at a time. Use a 22 cm. or 24 cm. cake ring pan to cut out equal sized circles from the dough. If you don’t have a ring pan, you can use a plate instead. 

Line a tray with baking paper. Place one dough circle on the tray. Spread a thin layer of the chocolate spread, leaving the margin clean. Add another dough circle on top and spread more chocolate on top. Add a third circle and more chocolate, then a fourth layer. Press down gently then place the cake in the freezer for 15-20 minutes. 

Place a small ring in the center of the cake and press down gently so that it leaves a mark. Make 4 evenly spaced slices in the cake from the edge of the small ring toward the outside of the cake. Then, cut each quarter into two sections, then each eighth into two sections. 

Take hold of two sections next to each other and twist them in opposite directions, connecting the tips underneath the cake. Do this with all the other sections. 

Let the cake rise in a warm place until it doubles in volume. Brush with the egg wash and then bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170° or 180° for 25 minutes or until the cake turns golden brown. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve hot. 

Level of difficulty: Easy.

Time: 90 minutes (not including time in freezer and for letting dough rise).

Status: Dairy.

Chocolate crunch

Makes 3 loaf pans.

 Chocolate crunch cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) Chocolate crunch cake (credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Dough: 

30 gr. yeast¼ cup water, at room temperature200 gr. butter, cut up into pieces1 cup milk½ kg. flour, sifted1 Tbsp. vanilla2 Tbsp. rum extract2 large eggs8 Tbsp. sugar¼ tsp. salt

Filling:

100 gr. butter, cut into cubes1 cup powdered sugar5 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted

Topping:

½ cup chocolate chips or chopped hazelnuts

Egg wash:

1 egg, beaten with 3 drops of oil

Icing: 

1 cup powdered sugar4 Tbsp. water1 tsp. vanilla1 Tbsp. rum 1 tsp. lemon juice

Dissolve the yeast in the water. 

Put the butter and milk in a small pot and heat over a medium flame. Mix until the butter has completely dissolved. 

Add the flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, then form a well in the center. Pour in the dissolved yeast, vanilla, rum and eggs. Sprinkle on the sugar and salt. 

While mixing the ingredients together, add the butter that was melted in the milk. Mix well. Place in the fridge overnight or for at least 5 hours. 

To prepare the filling, add the butter and powdered sugar to a mixer bowl, and mix until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and mix well. 

Split the dough into 3 sections. Roll out each section to a circle that is 0.5 cm thick. Spread the filling onto all 3 circles evenly and sprinkle with chocolate chips or nuts. 

Roll the circles up, pressing the seams closed. Slice each roll lengthwise into two strips, then put one on top of the other to form an X, and twist each leg and then secure them at both ends. Place the twists on a greased tray, brush with the egg wash and place in a warm place for 30 minutes so the dough can rise more. 

Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry. 

Mix the icing ingredients together and add to twists while they’re still hot. 

Level of difficulty: Medium.

Time: 90 minutes (not including time in freezer and for letting dough rise).

Status: Dairy. 

Translated by Hannah Hochner.