Israel's food: Let us eat cake

(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
Over the years, I’ve prepared many fancy cakes for special occasions. I love coming up with new designs, shapes and toppings. I remember the cake I prepared for the launching event when my first cookbook was published over three decades ago.
It was a model of the photograph that appeared on the front cover of the cookbook. Decorating cakes requires great pastry skills and techniques for working with cream and chocolate.
When I recently asked my older son what kind of cake he wanted me to prepare for his birthday, he replied that he wanted a layer cake like he saw on Instagram, where the cream was added unevenly so that it looked wavy. He was so overjoyed with the way the cake came out in the end, which surprised me since I’d made so many fancy cakes over the years.
Then, when it was my younger son’s birthday, he asked me to prepare a number cake, like he’d seen on Instagram. I was so shocked with all the attention my children were giving to pictures they’d seen on Instagram.
But, of course, I was more than happy to oblige my son, and I prepared a wonderful number cake for his birthday. He was delighted with the results.
I prepared a third cake for another family member, which was a tall cake with many layers and a chocolate coating.
All three of these cakes involve lots of fun chocolate and candy toppings.
Now I’ll just have to wait and see which cakes are popular on Instagram next year.
This cake requires 2 large sheets of baking paper.
For almond crust:
2½ cups flour, sifted
100 gr. ground almonds
100 gr. powdered sugar
200 gr. cold butter
Pinch of salt
Zest from 1 lemon or orange
2 eggs
2-3 drops quality vanilla extract
For cream:
500 gr. mascarpone cheese (or a combination of mascarpone with low-fat sour cream)
½ cup sugar
1-2 tsp. quality vanilla
500 ml. sweet whipping cream
Icing bag with serrated tip
Strawberries and pansies, chocolate balls and hearts, white chocolate balls covered with coconut, macaroons, chocolate-covered wafers or sprinkles
To prepare the dough, place the flour, ground almonds, powdered sugar, butter and salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix until crumbly. Add the lemon or orange zest and eggs and mix minimally. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 2 hours. In the meantime, cut out the numbers on baking paper.
Roll out the cooled dough into a thin layer on a floured surface. Place the cut-out number and trim dough around edge with a sharp knife. Place cut-out dough on a large baking sheet. Bake the number in an oven that has been preheated to medium heat for 15 minutes (check cake after 10 minutes, though, since each oven is different and you don’t want to let the cake get dried out). Remove cake and let cool. Prepare the second cake in the same way.
To prepare the cream, in the bowl of an electric mixer, place the mascarpone cheese and mix until it softens. Then, add the sugar, vanilla, sweet cream and continue mixing until smooth.
Transfer cream to a pastry bag with a serrated tip. Place the first number on a stable wooden serving board or tray and pipe frosting all over the cake in dollops.
Next, add the toppings and then store in the fridge until serving.
You can purchase stencils with the numbers in specialty stores or online.    
Chocolate Layer Cake (Courtesy)Chocolate Layer Cake (Courtesy)
This cake can be prepared as a thin cake in a large pan, or as a thick cake in a small pan.
To prepare 2 cakes in 24-cm. or 22-cm. pans, just double the ingredients.
Use a 24-cm. or 26-cm. springform pan.
200 gr. bittersweet chocolate
200 gr. butter or margarine
1½ cups sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. instant coffee
6 eggs, separated
1¾ cups flour, sifted
1 packet baking powder
4 Tbsp. brandy
For cream:
250 ml. sweet whipping cream
1 package instant vanilla pudding
1 cup milk
1-2 drops vanilla
Note: If you prefer the cream to be white, leave out the instant pudding and milk and double the whipping cream.
Chocolate candies, pralines, marshmallow, white chocolate, white chocolate balls covered with coconut, cherries, sprinkles, star candies, and chewy candies
In a microwave bowl or a medium pot, melt chocolate, butter or margarine, sugar, cocoa powder and coffee in the microwave or over a bain-marie. Mix until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add half a cup of sugar and whip until mixed well.
Beat the egg yolks and then fold into egg white mixture. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture, too.
Combine the flour with the baking powder and then fold into mixture. Add the brandy.
Pour the batter into a greased pan and spread to the edges. Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 180° for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and dry. Remove the cake and let cool. Slice cake into 2 or 3 layers.
To prepare the cream, add the whipping cream, pudding, milk and vanilla to the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until light and fluffy.
Spread cream on the first layer of the cake and then gently place another layer of cake on top. Then add more cream, another layer of cake and finally more cream on top. Do not add icing to the sides. Adorn the top of the cake with chocolates and candies.
Use an 18-cm.-diameter pan and a 20-cm.-diameter pan.
300 gr. softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 packets vanilla sugar
4 large eggs
4½ cups self-rising flour, sifted
2 containers yogurt, milk or juice
2-3 Tbsp. water or milk
2 containers sweet cream (1 liter. Can also use parve cream instead)
4 heaping Tbsp. sugar (you can also add 2 Tbsp. of instant vanilla pudding to make icing thicker, if you want)
Chocolate coating:
½ cup (120 ml.) sweet cream
100 gr. bittersweet chocolate
Chocolate candies, macaroons, wafers, pralines, colorful candy flowers and chocolate balls
Mix the butter with an electric mixer on high speed. Gradually add the sugar and vanilla sugar and mix for another 2-3 minutes. Gradually add the eggs and mix until light and fluffy.
Lower the speed and alternate adding the flour, and yogurt, milk or water. Mix until smooth. Pour the batter into 2 greased pans.
Bake in an oven that has been preheated to 170°-180° for 45-50 minutes. Let the cakes cool on wire racks. Remove the cakes from the trays and slice them into layers. (If the cake didn’t come out flat, take this opportunity to cut flat layers.)
To prepare the cream, use an electric mixer to whip cream with powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Spread a thin amount of cream on the first layer of the cake and then cover with a second layer. Spread more cream and add more cake layers until you’ve used up all the cake layers. Add more cream on top and on the sides of the cake.
To prepare the chocolate coating, heat the cream with the chocolate and then pour into a squeeze bottle. Drizzle generously all over the cake and then spread to cover entire surface. Put cake in fridge for 15 minutes to let chocolate set. Adorn cake with chocolates and candies.
Translated by Hannah Hochner.
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