Next. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!! ‘Tis the season for shopping and parties and has it ever been busy! Whew! I’ve spent the last 2 days baking up a storm of cookies and cakes! They won’t all make it to blog but I do have a special treat for you!
My friend Cassie also got me one of the best kitchen-related presents ever!! Some cute new cookie cutters and THIS:
Isn’t it adorable?? I wish I had all these retro patterns. So stylish and cute! P.S. Notice the cupcake??
With all the baking I was able to put it to good use right away!
So I want to share with you a childhood treat of mine. When I was young, my parents had a friend named “Krystina” (say this with a Russian accent). She was a grandiose lady (think Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts) and was always throwing parties. I loved those parties for one reason I remember more than any other. The cake. Oh! It was so delicious! She called it Napleon Cake and she would never share the recipe. It was filled with cream and lots of tiny layers (I recently found out it also goes by another name in French “Mille-Feuille”). If you have never tried it I can’t recommend it more, but if you’re going to make it,WARNING, it’s NOT easy.
I recently found a website called RussianFoods.com that actually carried the RECIPE for this tasty treat. However, I found myself lost in a few places (due to a few errors in the recipe I think). I was really worried a few times during this caking process, but somehow, it turned out pretty similar to what I remember, so you can imagine how pleased I am!
I baked this cake for my lovely friend Nina (Happy Birthday Nina!!)
And thanks again to Tim for opening his home for her birthday and putting up with a female Rockband takeover (but he still rules way more at the “instruments”).
Okay, are you ready?
Here it goes.
(look at all the tiny layers!!)
Here is the original recipe, but I will also explain my "enhancements"
· 1 egg
· 1 T vinegar
· 1 cup sugar
· ½ L milk
· 2 eggs
· 2 T flour
Make the dough first because it needs some chilling time.
Mix the margarine (or butter) with the flour. Do this a little at a time for consistency. The recipe says to do this “until smooth”.
It never really got “smooth”. Just sort of crumbly., which is what I expected from margarine and flour.
Next the recipe called (in a separate bowl) to mix the egg with vinegar in 1 cup of water.
This is where I think something went funny with the recipe. I trustingly did this:
and then mixed it with the flour mixture, but because I knew the dough would later be rolled, I also knew it looked WAY too runny. The recipe said to knead the dough until “elastic-y”, but I could tell that wasn’t going to happen. In an attempt to remedy the situation I proceeded to knead in flour in small portions until the dough became a little less “wet”. Although, it still wasn’t what I would call “elastic”, but I decided to roll with it. Get it? Haha.
I didn’t want to make the dough TOO thick because it has to be rolled really thin. Oh! And I also added salt. I tasted the dough and it seemed a little floury so I whipped out the salt shaker. I’m not sure how much I put in, but it was only a little. Definitely less than half a teaspoon.
Okay, so I got my dough somewhat elastic. Then you portion it in 8 equal parts. I wrapped these in plasti-wrap and stuck ‘em in the fridge.
I once tried to make custard and burned it. I was a little worried about this one, but it turned out great!
In a saucepan, mix the sugar eggs and flour.
Then stir in the milk.
Cook the liquid on a low heat and STIR CONSTANTLY OR IT WILL BURN OR BOIL OVER.
This part actually takes a little while. I read somewhere that you must do this for 10 minutes, but I’m sure I was standing there for at least fifteen. When you start, the liquid will be pretty thin. Eventually it will thicken up, but it takes a while, but then happens quite suddenly. Pay attention (I’ve made this mistake). I was reading up on custards and it’s got something to do with the egg that it shouldn’t get too hot or it will set improperly. (HERE are some custard tips if you’re interested. This recipe uses a “stirred” custard)
You can tell when the icing is finished by dipping a metal spoon into it. You should see a film like this:
When this happens, take the saucepan off the heat.
Once it has cooled a little, add ½ tsp of vanilla. Then stir in the butter, a little at a time again.
Voila! Done icing.
Preheat the oven to
These next steps should be repeated for each section of dough.
First roll the dough out really thin.
I have pizza pans, not baking sheets, so please make due. Then cut the excess strips of dough off (you want at least semi-uniform pieces for when you layer the cake). Don’t through these strips away. Use them. Later.
Pierce the dough with the fork all over.
Put to bake. Depending on how hot your oven is, the baking time will vary. I baked my sheets for about 5.5 to 6 mins each. You want them to stay golden in colour, but still get crispy.
Once all your layers are baked, it’s time for the scraps! Bake the excess strips of dough the same way. You will use them to crumble on the cake afterwards.
Now it’s time for assembly! Put the first sheet down on whatever you’re going to use to transport your cake. Then put the icing generously on top.
Repeat with all the layers. Finish with cream all over the top. It looks nice when it spills over and covers the sides of the cake, see:
Finally, take your strips, crush ‘em, and sprinkle the pieces all over the top.
Ta Da!! Pretty, no?
Finally, put your cake in the fridge for at least 2 hours (the longer the better, trust me).