Our take on this Czech honey cake is layered with cream cheese and topped with sugared rosemary for a festive touch.
- 125 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, chopped
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 90 g (¼ cup) honey
- 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 600 g (4 cups) plain flour, sifted
- 175 g (1¾ cups) walnuts, finely chopped
Cream cheese filling
- 500 g cream cheese, chopped
- 120 g (¾ cup) pure icing sugar, sifted
- 90 g (¼ cup) honey
- 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream, whipped
- 220 g (1 cup) caster sugar
- 6 x 12 cm rosemary stalks
- 1 egg white, beaten
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time overnight
To make sugared rosemary, place sugar in a small, shallow bowl. Working with 1 rosemary stalk at a time, lightly brush all over with egg white, allowing excess to drain off. Coat in sugar, shaking off excess. Place on a plate in a single layer, then stand at room temperature overnight to dry.
The next day, half-fill a saucepan with water and bring to a simmer over low heat. Combine butter, sugar, eggs and honey in a bowl large enough to fit snugly over pan. Place bowl over pan and cook, whisking constantly to ensure eggs don’t scramble, for 10 minutes or until mixture is smooth and slightly thickened; do not overcook. Remove bowl from heat and cool slightly. Add bicarb soda to warm mixture, then add flour and mix with a wooden spoon to form a firm dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured work surface, divide into 7 equal pieces and shape each into a ball.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place in the centre of a 25 cm-long sheet of baking paper and use your hands to flatten into a disc. Using a rolling pin, roll into a 22 cm round, about 3 mm thick. Place a 20 cm dinner plate gently over the round, and use as a guide to cut out a neat 20 cm round. Reserve dough scraps.
Bake dough round for 5 minutes or until firm, slightly risen and golden, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, repeat process with another sheet of baking paper and ball of dough. Continue rolling and baking until all the dough is used; if there are enough dough scraps remaining, you can roll these out to make an eighth round. Cool all rounds completely before assembling cake.
To make filling, using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add sugar and honey and beat until smooth, then add cream. Using a whisk attachment, beat mixture on medium speed until thick and combined; it should have a firm, spreadable consistency, but do not over-beat or the cream will curdle.
To assemble cake, spread one of the rounds with an even, 3 mm-thick layer of filling. Continue layering with rounds and filling until all rounds are used. Spread remaining filling over top and sides of cake. Press walnuts into sides of cake to coat then place sugared rosemary on top. Cake is best served on the day of assembling but will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.
Photography Chris Chen. Food preparation Leanne Kitchen. Styling Kristen Wilson.
As seen in Feast magazine, Dec/Jan 2014, Issue 38.