First of all, this is a yeast cake, but you will not have to knead anything with your hands. Just in case the title worries you.
I found this recipe on a German cooking website Chefkoch and I was immediately intrigued by its name. I mean, I was born and raised in Transylvania and even though I spent the last 11 years in Germany my heart still beats for anything Romanian. Well, sometimes… at least. 🙂
I read the recipe and thought it doesn’t sound like anything I have ever eaten in Romania, but still, my grandma rarely baked and I didn’t eat any cake at all as a child (the Harlequin cake was the exception), so what do I know? If there is any Romanian person out there reading this, who happens to know this cake, I would be very happy to hear about it.
So I baked this cake for my father-in-law’s birthday 2 weeks ago and I loved it. My daughter too, she ate 3 pieces in a go and she’s really as small as a kitten. I’ve never knew her to eat so much of something in such a short time.
The cake doesn’t actually taste very much like cake, in my opinion. It is quite doughy (if I can use such a word) more like a dumpling in taste and like a brioche in consistency. Not very sweet, but soft and nutty and really comforting. I ate a leftover piece for breakfast the next day smeared with strawberry jam and with a cup of hot coffee and it was great.
The original recipe calls for hazelnuts, which is definitely more Romanian than using almonds. I didn’t have any hazelnuts though, so I took the almonds instead. Please feel free to take whatever you have or like best.
The yeast dough is really easy to make, so don’t get scared by it. You will not even have to knead this time, because the dough is too soft. Ideally you will use a food processor with a kneading attachment. When the dough has risen, you take it out of the bowl piece by piece using two tablespoons for help, roll the pieces through oil and nuts and dump them in the prepared pan. It is that easy and the result is really tasty. And the cake looks great on the coffee table. 🙂
Transylvanian Yeast Cake
- 500 g/ 17.6 oz all-purpose flour
- 1 cube (40 g/ 1.4 oz) fresh yeast or 2 sachets dried yeast
- 400 ml 1 ¾ cups lukewarm milk
- 2 eggs
- 60 g/ 2.1 oz butter, soft
- about ½ cup vegetable oil (no olive oil please)
- 200 g/ 7 oz ground hazelnuts or almonds
- 50 – 100 g/ 1.7 – 3.5 oz granulated sugar, to taste
- In a small bowl mix the lukewarm milk and the crumbled yeast and stir until the yeast dissolves. Place the flour into a large bowl and make a depression in the middle. Pour the milk-yeast mixture in this depression and mix it with a bit of the flour. Add the eggs and the very soft butter. Knead using the kneading attachments of you hand-held mixer. Even easier it is to use a standing mixer or food processor.
- Cover the bowl with a kitchen cloth and let the dough rise in a warm place. It should double in size, this will take about an hour.
- Prepare a springform pan, diameter 26 cm/ about 10 inches by laying it with baking paper all over.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place the oil in one shallow bowl or a soup/pasta plate. Place the nuts and sugar to taste in a similar dish and mix them together.
- Remove pieces of dough out of the bowl helping yourself with two tablespoons. Turn each piece first through the oil and then through the nut-sugar mixture. Place each piece in the prepared pan. After you've arranged about the half of the dough pieces into the pan, you might have the feeling that the pan is too small for all the pieces to fit in. I thought so too at first, but I was wrong, everything fits perfectly, you just have to push the pieces that are already in the pan around and you will be able to fit the remaining ones as well. I had 14 pieces in the end.
- Bake the cake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry. Enjoy lukewarm or cold.