Punchcake

Punschtorte

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    10 to 12

    servings

Appears in

This sweetly aromatic cake seems to be unique to Austro-Hungarian baking. There are many variations, with the constants being a filling of punch-soaked cake crumbs and a pink glaze. Each bakery has its own method for coloring the center layer (some use melted chocolate or chocolate cake crumbs) and the pink glaze. The best choice is Chambord or crème de cassis which will impart flavor as well as color.

Ingredients

Punch

  • 1 medium orange
  • 1 medium lemon
  • ¼ cup golden rum
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons black-raspberry liqueur (Chambord) or crème de cassis

Method

  1. To make the punch: Grate the zests from the orange and the lemon. Juice the orange and lemon, straining the juice. Measure out ¼ cup orange juice and 3 tablespoons lemon juice and save the rest for another use.
  2. Bring the orange juice, lemon juice, both zests, rum, sugar, apricot preserves, and liqueur to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Cook for 2 minutes to reduce slightly. Pour the punch into a medium bowl.
  3. Using a long serrated knife, trim off the top skin from the cake. Process the trimmings in a food processor to make crumbs; set aside to decorate the cake later. Cut the cake crosswise into three equal layers; the bottom layer, which is smooth, will be turned upside-down to become the top of the cake.
  4. Place the top cake layer on a 9-inch cardboard round. Cut a round from the center of the middle layer, starting about 1 inch from the edge. Cut the center section into 1-inch cubes. (Set the cake ring aside.) Mix the cake cubes with the warm punch, soaking them well. Brush the cake layer on the cardboard with some of the apricot glaze. Top with the cake ring. Fill the ring with the soaked crumbs, spreading them evenly with your fingers. Brush the cut side of the remaining layer with some more glaze. Place, cut side down, on the cake and press firmly to adhere the layers. If there are any crumbs in the glaze, reheat it over low heat and strain them out. Brush the top and sides of the cake with the remaining glaze to make a smooth surface. Refrigerate until the glaze is set, about 10 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in the top part of a double boiler or in the microwave on medium heat. Transfer to a paper cone and cool slightly.
  6. Place the cake on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Make the fondant icing (it must be freshly prepared). Pour all of the warm icing over the top of the cake, smoothing it over the top and down the sides with an offset metal spatula. Immediately pipe vertical lines of the melted chocolate on the top of the cake, spacing them 1 inch apart. Starting 1 inch from the bottom edge of the top layer, lightly draw the tip of a small sharp knife from left to right through the chocolate and icing, creating a feather effect. Wipe the knife clean. Moving 1 inch up, and going from right to left, repeat the motion. Continue up the cake, 1 inch at a time, alternating the direction of the drawing motion, until you reach the top of the cake. If desired, press the cake crumbs on the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake to set the glaze. Cover with a cake dome and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to meld the flavors. Serve chilled.

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