Chocolate krantz cake

Chocolate krantz cake loaf

You know how there are always some recipes that jumped straight at you the moment you first encounter it.

When I got my hands on Jerusalem: A Cookbook, I was very excitedly flipping through its pages just like how I would with all my new cookbooks. The first recipe that jumped straight at me is the Chocolate krantz cake and it is also the first recipe that I added a mental post-it to my growing “to try recipe” list.

chocolate krantz cake

While I have tried several recipes from this cookbook which is becoming one of my current favourites, it took me half a year to get to this recipe.

I can’t quite believe it took me this long to bake this because it was love at the first bite.It is kind of hard to place this loaf into a single category for it is not quite a cake yet not a bread. It has a dense yet tender crumb. You might think that it is a copious amount of sugar syrup that is going into the loaf but you would be surprised that the krantz cake is not overly sweet. In fact, it is hardly sweet – the dark chocolate filling gives it a kind of luscious and decadent quality, the crunchy pecans gives the cake little pops of surprise.

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The way the dough is made is just like how you would make a brioche (or an enriched bread); its key difference is the replacement of plain flour for bread flour.  It rises during proving but not the astronomical rise like bread dough does.

Since it took me so long to get to the recipe, I decide to make up for time by baking this twice in two weeks. On the second attempt, I tried a version with cinnamon sugar. It is just like a cinnamon roll but better!

For now, I think that I like the chocolate one just a wee bit better.

I’m already dreaming of another slice of this as I’m writing this.

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Chocolate krantz cake
Makes 2 large loaves
Recipe adapted from Jerusalem: A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi

Though this cake takes quite a lot of time, I can assure you that is well-worth your effort (just like the two recipe testers for the cookbook). The recipe yields two large loaves and I would suggest that you bake the whole batch even though it is a lot. You can freeze one of the loaves and heat it up before serving. I’ve made it twice in two weeks (Yes, it is THAT good). I followed the recipe very closely – it is very well-explained. I have made a few, minor alterations which I have highlighted in italics.

Ingredients:

For the dough
530 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100 g granulated sugar
2 teaspoons fast-rising active dry yeast
grated zest of 1 small lemon ( I use the zest of an orange instead)
3 large eggs
120 ml water
rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 3/4-inch / 2cm cubes
sunflower oil/canola oil, for greasing

For the chocolate filling
50 g confectioners’ sugar
30 g best-quality cocoa powder ( I use Callebaut dutch-processed cocoa powder)
130 g good-quality dark chocolate, melted ( I use Valhrona Equatoriale Dark 55 %)
1/2 cup / 120 g unsalted butter, melted
1 cup / 100 g pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons superfine sugar

For the sugar syrup (enough for both cakes)
2/3 cup / 160 ml water
1 1/4 cups / 260 g superfine sugar
a strip of orange zest without pith, optional (I also added orange zest to the sugar syrup to give it a little more orange flavour that worked well with both the chocolate and cinnamon sugar kratz cakes)

sea salt flakes, optional

Method:

1. For the dough, place the flour, sugar, yeast, and lemon zest in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Add the eggs and water and mix on low speed for a few seconds, then increase the speed to medium and mix for 3 minutes, until the dough comes together. Add the salt and then start adding the butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing until it is incorporated into the dough. Continue mixing for about 10 minutes on medium speed, until the dough is completely smooth, elastic, and shiny. During the mixing, you will need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times and throw a small amount of flour onto the sides so that all of the dough leaves them.

2. Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight.

3. Grease two 2 1⁄4-lb / 1kg loaf pans (9 by 4 inches / 23 by 10 cm) with some sunflower oil and line the bottom of each pan with a piece of waxed paper. Divide the dough in half and keep one-half covered in the fridge.

Chocolate krantz cake - making of dough

4. Make the filling by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter. You will get a spreadable paste. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15 by 11 inches (38 by 28 cm). Trim the sides to make them even, then position the dough so that a long side is closest to you. Use an offset spatula to spread half the chocolate mixture over the rectangle, leaving a 3⁄4-inch / 2cm border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the chocolate, then sprinkle over half the superfine sugar.

5. Brush a little bit of water along the long end farthest away from you. Use both hands to roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you and ending at the other long end. Press to seal the dampened end onto the roulade and then use both hands to even out the roll into a perfect thick cigar. Rest the cigar on its seam.

Chocolate krantz cake -rolling

6. Trim about 3⁄4 inch / 2 cm off both ends of the roulade with a serrated knife. Now use the knife to gently cut the roll into half lengthwise, starting at the top and finishing at the seam. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even halves, with the layers of dough and filling visible along the length of both halves. With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half. Repeat this process, but this time lift the left half over the right, to create a simple, two-pronged plait. Gently squeeze together the other ends so that you are left with the two halves, intertwined, showing the filling on top. Carefully lift the cake into a loaf pan. Cover the pan with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 11⁄2 hours. The cake will rise by 10 to 20 percent. Repeat the whole process to make the second cake.

7. Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C, making sure you allow plenty of time for it to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towels, place the cakes on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. I baked the trimmings as well in a small loaf pan. Those will bake much quicker – check at 20 minutes. Also make sure that the chocolate doesn’t start to burn. You can use an aluminum foil to cover the loaf tins to prevent the cake from getting too brown.

8. While the cakes are in the oven, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar (and orange zest if you are adding) in a saucepan, place over medium heat, and bring to a boil. As soon as the sugar dissolves, remove from the heat and leave to cool down. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven, brush all of the syrup over them. It is important to use up all the syrup. Though it looks like a lot of syrup, it is possible to use it up. Just brush it over and let the cake absorb it before brushing on the next layer – repeat until syrup is used up. I sprinkled some Murray river sea salt after brushing because I like the sweet and salty combination.  Leave the cakes until they are just warm, then remove them from the pans and let cool completely before serving.

*You can also make an equally delicious version using cinnamon and sugar (As suggested by the cookbook)
Cinnamon sugar filling: brush each dough half with 6 tbsp / 80 g melted unsalted butter and then sprinkle with 120 g light muscovado sugar, 1 1⁄2 tbsp ground cinnamon, and 50 g coarsely chopped walnuts; then roll as described in the chocolate version.

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*Tips:

*Make the dough the night before. If you have a good mixer, you can just dump the ingredients in and use a dough hook to do most of the work for you.

*It is important that the butter is soft when you incorporate it into the dough. Otherwise, it would not blend in uniformly. I find it easier to incorporate the butter by hand – folding it into the dough before putting it back on the mixer.

*When assembling the loaf, ensure that you keep your chocolate filling warm.  This is a good point to note especially if you are working in a cool climate especially on a cold dough just out of the fridge. Ensure that your chocolate filling does not cool too quickly . while you are spreading it. The dark chocolate may begin to temper and set, you may end up with hardened and cracked chocolate when you roll it up.

* When baking the loaves, it is good to check it midway. If the top gets too brown/ chocolate starts to burn, cover it with a sheet of aluminium foil which is what I did.

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cinnamon sugar krantz cake

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About jothetartqueen

My first love is eating. A very close second is my love for baking and cooking. I passionately believe that the best form of appreciation of something is almost always through the creation of it. This passion took me on a whirlwind, unforgettable ride through the patisserie diploma course at Le Cordon Bleu (Sydney). Join me on my discovery for the love of food – through the kitchen, through the markets, through experimenting, tasting and loving.
This entry was posted in Baking, Breakfast, Cakes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Chocolate krantz cake

  1. Oh wow, thats an utterly beautiful loaf! I love the swirl and the chocolate just looks incredible. My breakfast is tasting even more boring now! Jennie

    • Thanks Jennie! I love the swirls too! such a beautiful and dramatic pattern. I’m eating “boring” breakfasts most of the time like yogurt and granola but I love that too. Only on occasions do I feast on something a little more decadent like the krantz cake. 🙂

  2. Oh my this loaf looks absolutely incredible 😀
    The swirls are perfect!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  3. Jo, this is SO on my list to bake now. It looks beautifully impressive! 😀

  4. This is such a fabulous cake Jo, it caught my eye too in Jerusalem (on screen and in the book). Yours looks wonderful and has inspired me to try at sometime soon! Cheers!

  5. Really really beautiful! I can only imagine how wonderful it must have tasted! 😉

  6. Beautiful bread my only wish is that you lived a little closer. Well just in case you need a QA tester or anything I’m available, wink..wink…Take Care, BAM

  7. I bet you’re looking forward to another slice because I am now too:) This is such a pretty bread, I may have to go take a look at that cookbook.. and make room on my overstuffed shelves for another one. It sounds really, really great!

  8. This looks like the richest, most beautiful babka ever! Aside from the presentation, I wonder if there’s really any difference between the two? Forget labels though, these loaves are true sweet masterpieces. The swirls are stunning!

    • I just went to google babka cause I haven’t heard of it. It doesn’t seem like there is a difference between the two. Not that names and labels really matter that much..so long as they taste delicious!

  9. LB says:

    It’s now on my list too!! I’m just going to have to find a spot on the calendar for some baking 🙂

  10. I am still waiting to try this beautiful bread. I particularly like the detail paid to preparing the dough to ensure the chocolate filling shows throughout the bread. Bravo!

  11. Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things says:

    This reminds me so much of something my mother used to bake! Like Lorraine, I too have had my eye on this one… baking it from the book tomorrow, and taking note of your instructions.

  12. sheehwee says:

    Your loaves look amazing!! I tried the same recipe but mine came out really yeasty and the dough was so soft, it was very hard (not to mention a really messy affair) to transfer to the loaf pan. May I know what brand of yeast are you using? Is the dough supposed to be really soft? Thanks!

  13. Thanks!

    The dough is soft but it should be manageable. That being said, I had to be very careful when transferring the plaited krantz cake into the loaf pans. It can get messy (because of the choocolate) but I think once you get the hang of it, it should get easier. Maybe you can try flouring your work surface when you roll out the dough and gently pick it up with two hands.

    I’m not sure what you mean by yeasty.. can you elaborate.
    I use the Bruggerman brand of instant dry yeast (blue packaging).

  14. Rachel says:

    Having grown up with the smell of Kranz cakes as the smell of home, I can say yours looks exactly like what i remember from my childhood. Here in Israel its a popular cake, but in recent years it’s been made with a twist – Halva instead of (or in addition to), the chocolate. I highly recommend it – a perfect union of Europe and the Middle East in a cake.

  15. judy schiff says:

    Where do you find a 9 x 4 pan?

  16. I’m three-quarters of way through the recipe (the twisted loaves are sat on the bench rising nicely even though the family keeps sneaking a peak under the damp tea towel) and, rather belatedly, looking around the Internet for tips. The weather makes such a difference to baking. Here in Darwin, in the middle of the wet season, I had no worries about the chocolate spread hardening in the cold! My internet search was to see if others thought the spread mixture was too runny but no, I think it’s just the heat and humidity. A runny spread makes the rolling much harder as the spread oozes out of the sides. And there is such a variety of comments about whether the rectangle is rolled from the short edge or the long edge. Once I got to the plaiting I realised it should have been rolled along the long edge.

    Anyway, so far so good. The next challenge is whether to have the cake with tea or coffee. Oh that all my challenges were so hard!

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