The last few weeks have been massively busy. This is the last week of teaching at university, which means students are extremely stressed about their final exams and trainers are on their feet too, trying to coordinate everything. Intense but very rewarding. I have also recently been on a mini-break to Wales, Port Talbot to be precise. Although the coastal town didn’t correspond to my idea of a good time, I have to say I was amazed by Cardiff and the hip and modern vibe which pervades the city. I particularly loved the various arcades with their little cafes and weird shops tucked in. A true gem.
Now, on to something completely different. I will be going to Germany for a birthday party in June, so what best way to get in the right frame of mind than to make this, a German fried egg cake? I have a penchant for weird cakes and this makes no exception. The recipe comes from Sprinkle Bakes (quantities slightly modified), a new baking blog I started to follow quite recently. Highly recommended if you, like me, want to push the boundaries of traditional baking. Use white sugar in the custard layer – I prefer golden caster sugar for the sponge, but an unrefined sugar would not give you the white end result you need here. As for gelatine, you can leave it out and glaze the top with apricot jam – although that would spoil the overall appearance – or a simple sugar syrup (sugar and water boiled together).
Ingredients (for the sponge)
- 344g plain flour
- 325g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g unsalted butter, softened
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 large egg
- 245ml Greek yogurt (creme fraiche or sour cream also good)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients (for the vanilla custard)
- 1L whole milk
- 100g caster sugar
- 130g cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Ingredients (for the topping)
- 1 x 400g tin of apricot halves in juice, drained and pat-tried
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 4 tbsp recently boiled water
- 1 leaf of gelatine
- sugar crystals and poppy seeds (optional)
- Grease and line a 10x10cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper, ensuring the sides are fully covered and that the paper is overhanging – this will make it easier to remove the cake once assembled. Preheat the oven to 180C.
- To make the sponge, use a freestanding mixer to cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add the egg whites and the whole egg one at a time, mixing well after each addition. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (flour, salt and raising agent). In a jug, combine the Greek yogurt and the vanilla extract.
- If you see that the mixture is curdling, start adding the flour one tablespoon at a time. Pour in the rest of the dry ingredients and give that a quick mix, then add the yogurt mixture and combine until smooth (but don’t overmix or the cake will be tough!).
- Transfer the cake batter to the greased and lined tin, then use a spatula to spread it in the corners. Try and create a small indentation in the centre of the cake tin so that, once risen and baked, the cake will be somewhat even. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- If your cake is not even on the top, use a serrated knife to cut the extra bits off.
- To make the vanilla custard, combine the cornflour and the sugar in a bowl, then add 1/4 of the milk and mix very thoroughly until completely lump-free. Pour the remaining milk into a saucepan and heat over a gentle heat until it reaches simmering point, then add the cornflour mixture and the vanilla and start mixing. Keep on mixing until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You want a slightly thicker than average custard so that the cake will hold its shape once assembled, so do keep on cooking it over a medium heat and mixing constantly until very thickened.
- Once ready, pour over the cooled cake in the cake tin and spread evenly. Arrange the pat-dried apricot halves on the cake (cut side down), then gently press them into the vanilla custard. Transfer the cake to the fridge for at least one hour or until fully cold and set.
- To make the gelatine glaze, soak the gelatine leaf in cold water for 10 minutes. In a separate bowl, combine the water and the sugar, and mix until the sugar has fully dissolved. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatine leaf, then add to the water mixture and dissolve it completely. Use a pastry brush to apply a thin gelatine coating onto the set cake (you might not need all of it), then place back into the fridge until set.
- To serve it, I decided to use poppy seeds to mimick ground black pepper and crushed sugar crystals to replicate salt, but you could also decide to go plain. Enjoy!