Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kuchen Borracho (Drunken Cake)

How could I resist a recipe with a name like that? This is a cake from Chile, and its name reflects its Germanic origins. Kuchen borracho consists of three layers of buttery cake and two layers of apples and cream. Oh, and rum! It's another winner from Warm Bread and Honey Cake, the same book I wrote about here and here.

I had kind of a tiring week at work, and am having trouble finding time to bake and write about it. I also didn't get a job I had applied for, which wasn't that unexpected, but it was still disappointing. I had a telephone interview a couple of weeks ago, and it was a bit of a fiasco. First of all, I forgot all about it, and was shopping when my phone rang. It was a blocked number, so I ignored it, thinking it was some kind of sales call. The phone rang again, and, atypically, I answered it. *(%#%@! It was the interview! She was quite understanding and offered to call me back in an hour, so I headed home, a journey that would normally take about 45 minutes. Of course, it took ages that day, and when she called back I was speedwalking through the downtown core. I couldn't bring myself to ask her to call again, so the interview started. I thought it was going well, but it was hard to hear with buses and transport trucks whizzing by. The man yelling obscenities right beside me didn't help either. I tried walking faster, so was slightly breathless by the time I reached my building. Eager to get inside my apartment, I got in the elevator....and promptly lost the signal and cut her off. How embarrassing was that? She was persistent and called me back for the fourth time to finish the interview. And that was it--I never heard back. I started a few emails, but wasn't sure what to say, not wanting to remind her of all the things that had gone wrong during the interview.  Anyway, I finally wrote to her the other day, and she forwarded me a copy of the gentle rejection letter she had sent me a week earlier. So now, it must seem to her that I am incapable of using both a telephone and a computer! But really, I never got that email. I suppose I should be more upset, but I find this pretty funny. I definitely need to practice my interview skills, though.

This cake dirtied all my bowls, but it was worth it. Apparently it keeps for 4 days at cool room temperature, but I don't think I'll be able to test that, though it is a big cake (about 4 pounds). I had a slice when it was still warm from the oven, and another for breakfast. It's got fruit, so I think it's ideal breakfast food. It would also be perfect with an afternoon cup of coffee or tea. Enjoy!

1lb 7oz tart apples, prepared weight (about 5)
2¾ oz/generous ⅓ cup granulated sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
3½ fl oz/½ cup heavy cream
(I added half a nutmeg, grated)

10½ oz/2 cups all-purpose flour
2½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt (heaping, for me)
5½ oz/scant 1½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs, lightly beaten
5 tbsp rum
5 tbsp water
(I added some Extrait antillais, which is rum, vanilla, mace, sapote and tonka bean; vanilla extract is a good alternative)

Grease and flour a 9" springform pan--it needs to be at least 2¾" tall. Preheat the oven to 325℉/160℃.

Peel and core the apples, cut each into 8 parts and thinly slice. Combine the sliced apples with the cream and sugar, and nutmeg, if using.

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Cream the butter, add the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the beaten egg in four batches, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Fold in the flour in 4 batches, adding the rum and water with the third batch. (I did 3 additions of dry, alternating with 2 additions of the wet). Gently fold in the last of the flour mixture and stop mixing as soon as it is incorporated.

The batter needs to be divided evenly to create the layers in the cake, so it's best to weigh it. Weigh 11½ oz of batter into a bowl, and then transfer it to your prepared pan. Level it with a spoon or offset spatula. Add half the apple mixture (11½ oz--I eyeballed this: no more clean bowls) and spread it evenly, leaving about ½" free space around the edge of the pan. Weigh out and add another 11½ oz of the cake batter and level. Repeat with the rest of the apple mixture and the last of the batter. Your pan will be very full, but the author assures us it will not overflow during baking. Mine didn't, even though my springform was only 8¾".

Level the top and bake for 1½ hours, until a skewer comes out clean. (Mine never came out clean, but it was obvious that it was the cream and not cake batter stuck to it). I baked mine for 1¼ hours, but I think the oven may have been at 350℉. Oops. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then loosen the edges carefully before releasing the sides. Cool completely on a wire rack.

The verdict: It was great! The batter smelled and tasted very boozy, but the finished cake only has a hint of rum. The nutmeg was perfect with the creamy filling, and I'm sure other apple pie spices would be great. Cardamom, anyone? I used Granny Smith apples because they were on sale, but I am not fond of them. They were still a bit crunchy in the the finished cake, and I hate crunchy apples in desserts (unless they're raw). I did slice them quite thinly, but next time I'll use another type of apple.

Expect some rhubarb recipes next week, as it's FINALLY ready at my mother's. I'm heading up for a Mother's Day visit and what better time to raid the garden.


The Cooking Ninja said...

oooh...this cake of yours is drooling delicious. My mom in law will love it as she is a big fan of apples. The French use Golden Delicious here and said to be best for apple cakes or tarts. As for me, I normally just use Gala for all my apple pies or cakes. :)

Valérie said...

As you so rightly said: with a name like that, it has to be good!
It looks so inviting, love the texture!

Baking Addict said...

Sorry to hear about your interview. Hope the cake cheered you up. It definitely looks fantastic.

Anonymous said...

I am intrigued by the name! Thanks for sharing such a brilliant recipe!

Y said...

What a crazy time you had with that interview! The cake looks amazing though - hope that was a small consolation :)

A Canadian Foodie said...

Telephone interviews should be banned. If it is far away - they should fly you in... or make an appointment. You might not want to work for them if you saw them face to face! :)
Your sense of humour is admirable - humour has carried me through my life at such moments. You should thank her for her time in a note and courier it and a piece of your cake to her. She will then definitely regret her decision!
I cannot figure out what is in the photo with the dark nut - the thing in the shell. What is that?
And - LOVE the cookie cutter in your header.

Mary said...

Valerie--the funny thing is that it was a local interview! Oh well, no doubt I would have had a different disaster in person. The picture shows a nutmeg in its shell, and the grated nutmegs in their old home. I was excited to find it in the shell, as I had never seen it that way here before.