Pascale's Kitchen: Chocolate yeast cakes for Shabbat

If you want your house to smell amazing and make your loved ones extra happy they came for Shabbat, I recommend baking a chocolate yeast cake.

CHOCOLATE CRUNCH RING (photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
CHOCOLATE CRUNCH RING
(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Everyone loves to eat freshly baked sweet or savory treats made with fresh yeast, with the most popular yeast cake being chocolate, of course.
If you want your house to smell amazing and make your loved ones extra happy they came for Shabbat, I recommend baking a chocolate yeast cake. It could be challah or a bobka cake filled with chocolate, nuts, cheese or anything else that strikes your fancy.
Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here>>
In my experience, preparing homemade yeast dough that can be kneaded by hand or prepared with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook is the key to making delicious baked goods. For two of the recipes, the dough needs to rest overnight or at least a few hours in the fridge, so best to prepare it ahead of time.
Anyone can make amazing yeast cakes. You definitely don’t need to attend culinary school in order to succeed in this endeavor. It does, however, take some trial and error so you can learn the correct techniques and the conditions that help the dough rise to perfection, so jump in and start experimenting.
This week, I’m bringing you three recipes for chocolate yeast cakes that are great for serving on Shabbat. The first recipe is for chocolate freestyle crunch cake that is perfect for people who don’t want to worry about forming the dough into a particular shape.
The second recipe is for chocolate crunch ring with slivered almonds that can be baked in a wonder pot or a ring pan. This cake is chock full of chocolate that melts in your mouth with each bite. First, you let the dough rise, then add the filling, arrange the dough in the pan and then let it rise again before placing it in a hot oven. Then, the intoxicating aroma of baking dough and chocolate begins to fill your home.
The third recipe is for braided chocolate and cinnamon mini-cakes, which are baked in muffin pans. The only difficult decision you’ll need to make is which of these three cakes to try first.

CHOCOLATE CRUNCH RING


Use two 24-cm. diameter ring pans.

Dough:
30 gr. yeast
¼ cup water, at room temperature
200 gr. butter, cut into cubes
1 cup milk
½ kg. flour, sifted
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. rum extract
2 large eggs
8 Tbsp. sugar
¼ tsp. salt
Filling:
100 gr. butter, cut into cubes
1 cup powdered sugar
5 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted
Toppings:
½ cup broken chocolate pieces
2 Tbsp. hazelnuts, chopped
Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten with 3 drops of oil

Toppings:
½ cup slivered almonds

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. rum
1 tsp. lemon juice

Dissolve the yeast in a bowl with the water. Add the butter and milk to a small pot and heat over a medium flame. Mix until smooth.
Add the flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and form a well in the center. Pour the dissolved yeast, vanilla, rum and eggs into the center. Sprinkle the salt and sugar all around.
While mixing slowly, add the butter and milk mixture. Mix well. Store in the fridge overnight or at least five hours.
To prepare the filling, add the butter and powdered sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix until smooth. Add the cocoa powder and continue mixing until smooth. Separate the dough into two sections. Roll out each into a sheet that is ½ cm. thick. Spread the filling on both pieces of rolled-out dough and then sprinkle with chocolate chips and nuts.
Roll up the dough starting with the side closest to you, making sure to maintain a uniform thickness throughout. Prepare the second roll in the same fashion.
Using a sharp knife, cut each roll lengthwise. Place one strip on top of the other in the shape of an X, with the cut sides facing the same direction. Twist the two strips and then press down to seal the ends. Do the same with the second dough roll. Place on a greased baking tray.
Cover and let rise another 20 minutes. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with almonds. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°C for 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Mix icing ingredients together in a small bowl and add to the cakes while they are still hot.


Level of difficulty: Medium-Hard.
Time: Night before + 1.5 hours.
Status: Dairy.

BRAIDED CHOCOLATE & CINNAMON MINI-CAKES. (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)BRAIDED CHOCOLATE & CINNAMON MINI-CAKES. (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

BRAIDED CHOCOLATE & CINNAMON MINI-CAKES


Makes 20-22 mini-cakes.
4 cups flour, sifted
50 gr. yeast
½ cup brown sugar
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup milk
1 cup water
100 gr. butter or margarine, softened and cut into big cubes
¼ tsp. salt
Filling:
1 cup chocolate spread
½ Tbsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. ground walnuts
Egg wash:
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. water
Icing:
Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup water
2 Tbsp. butter
To prepare the dough, add the flour, yeast and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Next, add the egg yolks, honey, vanilla, milk and half of the water to the bowl. Mix well. Fold in the butter cubes one at a time, then add the salt and the rest of the water if needed, depending on the absorption level of the flour.
Mix well until dough falls away from the side of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rest in the fridge overnight or at least 4 hours.
Separate the dough into two sections and roll out each one into a rectangle on a floured surface. Spread half of the filling on each piece of dough. Roll up the dough starting from the side closer to you, and press gently to seal the edge. Prepare the second one in the same fashion.
Cut each roll into pieces that are 3-4 cm. wide. Then, cut each piece into three strips, braid them and then roll the braids up into a spiral. Place each spiral in its own space in a greased muffin pan. Prepare all the braids in this fashion and then let them rise for another 40 minutes in a warm place.
Brush with egg wash. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170°C for 15-20 minutes until they turn golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool. Add all of the icing ingredients to a small pot and heat over a medium flame until the sugar dissolves. Then, brush on cakes as soon as they come out of the oven.

Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: Night before + 2 hours.
Status: Dairy.
 CHOCOLATE FREESTYLE CRUNCH CAKE. (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN) CHOCOLATE FREESTYLE CRUNCH CAKE. (PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)

CHOCOLATE FREESTYLE CRUNCH CAKE


Use a 24-cm. diameter pan.
Dough:
3 cups flour, sifted
25 gr. fresh yeast or 1 Tbsp. dry yeast
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. quality vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
1 egg
100 gr. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. sour cream or yogurt
½ tsp. salt
1 cup milk, at room temperature
Filling:
¾ cup sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
¼ cup bittersweet cocoa powder
80 gr. butter, melted
¾ cup chocolate chips
Egg wash:
1 egg, beaten with 2-3 drops of oil or 1 Tbsp. water

Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar or sugar
4 Tbsp. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. rum
1 tsp. lemon juice
Add the flour, yeast and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix for 1 or 2 minutes. While mixing on low speed, add the vanilla, lemon zest, eggs, butter, sour cream, salt and milk. Mix well.
Grease a bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with a towel and let dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes or until it doubles in volume.
In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, vanilla sugar and cocoa powder. Flour your workspace and roll out the dough until it’s thin – less than half a centimeter. Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cocoa mixture and the chocolate chips on top of the butter. Roll up the dough into a log shape and then take a knife and slice through lengthwise, but not all the way through. Then, wrap the two strips around each other and place the dough in freestyle on a prepared round pan. Let the dough rise for another 30 minutes.
Brush with the egg wash and bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180°C for 30 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 160-170°C for another 15 minutes. If you see that the cake is starting to burn, you can cover with aluminum foil.
In a medium-size bowl, mix all of the icing ingredients together. If you’re using regular sugar and not powdered sugar, then heat over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add icing to cake while it’s still hot out of the oven.
Level of difficulty: Medium.
Time: 2 hours.
Status: Dairy.

Translated by Hannah Hochner.