The Christmas holiday season is behind us. It always feels a bit like climbing a mountain heel. I am enjoying the journey, the beauty of discovering little things at every stop on the way and the thrill and anticipation of seeing the view from the top of the mountain. We have reached the peak at New Year with a spectacular display of fireworks and cascading emotions full of hope for all that is to come and now that the holidays are over, I am still cherishing the sparkling images of the memorable experiences of all that has been left behind.
This image of a traditional Bulgarian Garash Cake is one of them. Gracing our Christmas eve dining table, it was a stunning centrepiece at the end of festive meal. Rich and decadent, beautifully balancing the flavours of a crunchy walnut meringue and the softness of a cacao butter cream, contrasted by the delicate zest of fresh berry fruits. We have savoured every bite… A perfect celebration cake just to enjoy indulging oneself or to be generous and share with others. I for myself, know exactly what to choose.
For the cake
- 8 egg whites
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3 cups of walnut meal
- Vanilla essence (8g Vanilla sugar Dr. Oetker)
- pinch of salt
- 1tsp cornflour
- Powder sugar
For the cream
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 5 tbsp cacao powder
- 125g butter
- 8 egg yolks
1. For the cake. Break the eggs, splitting the whites and the yolks in two separate bowls. Put the yolks aside as they will be needed for the cream. Start preparing the cake layers by whisking the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Ones the soft peaks start to form add the vanilla essence and gradually spoon per spoon in regular intervals of whisking add the sugar. Ones the meringue start to form stiff peaks add one tea spoon of corn flour. Add the walnut meal to the meringue and gently fold it together with a spatular.
2. Layer a baking tray with a baking paper. Using a pen and a round baking form, circle on the baking paper the round size of the cake layers you would like to have. Set a plain round nozzle in a piping bag (the same size you would normally use for making macarons – 12) and fill the bag with the walnut meringue mixture. Starting from the centre of the circle on the baking paper, squeeze the cake mixture making round circles until you reach the end of the rim of the shape you would like to create.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 175C. Set the tray in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The cake layer is ready when you touch it and it does not stick to your hand. Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely. In the mean time pipe the second layer of the cake and bake. Depending on the size of the circle you should be able to make between 4 and 6 layers of the cake. Try to make them as thin as possible. Once cooled peel off the baking paper from the baked meringue layers.
4. For the cream: In a small pan over a medium heat mix together the water and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the cacao powder and mix the sirup until all is well combined. Take it out of the heat and let it cool completely.
5. In a separate bowl whisk together the slightly soft butter and start adding the egg yolks one by one. Once all the eggs have been combined add the slightly cooled cacao sirup and whisk together until well combined. Set to cool in the fridge for at least one hour.
6. To assemble the cake: Lay the first meringue layer in the centre of a serving dish. Set a start shaped nozzle in a piping bag and fill it in with the cacao cream. Starting from the centre of the cake pipe in a rozzet shape form the cream util it reaches the rim of the cake. Set the second meringue layer on top and pipe the cream on top. Repeat until you set the final top layer and decorate it on top with the cream. Put the cake in the fridge and let it rest overnight.
7. Before serving decorate the top of the cake withe fresh fruits like raspberries, blueberries and redcurrant and dust with powder sugar.