Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hungarian Cake - Gerbeaud (Zserbo)

It was recently my Dad's birthday and so I wanted to make him a special cake, not like the ones I'd done in the past here. Being Hungarian, my number one thought was to make him  one of his favourite Hungarian cakes. It wasn't hard to find a good recipe online, thanks to The Eccentric Cook. So my Saturday mission was to make this cake as close to the original my Grandma used to make for us years ago. The funniest part of the day was when we asked my 4 year old nephew if he liked the cake and he said "yes". When we asked him if he would like the cake without the chocolate top he said "no". Gotta love the kids and their chocolate!!

What you will need for the cake: 
24x40cm pan 
850g Plain Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
600g Butter
125g Sugar + 1 teaspoon
3 Eggs
1 pack of active dry yeast (7g)
200ml Milk + 2 tablespoons

What you will need for the filling:
400g Ground Walnut
300g Sugar
500g Apricot Jam or Preserve - the denser the better

What you will need for the chocolate coat: 
220g Dark Chocolate
4 tablespoons Sunflower Oil

What you need to do: 
Dissolve the yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar in the 2 tablespoons of milk.

Let it sit covered until it's foamy (you can't see it's foamy in the photo below unfortunately).

Combine the flour with the baking powder. 

Cut the butter in the flour (see here for instructions). 

Mix the sugar with the eggs. 

Add the sugary egg mixture and yeast to the flour and mix it together. 

Add in the milk gradually, never add the whole thing, and work it together. 

It becomes quite a wet dough at this point. 

Knead the dough until it won't stick to your fingers. This will happen after kneading for awhile. I added extra flour to my work surface and the dough as I went. 

Divide the dough into 4 equal parts. 

Starting with one part of dough, roll it to the size of your pan and place it in the pan. If the dough breaks it's OK, you can knead it back together with your fingers. 

Put the dough into the pan. 

Spread the dough with the apricot preserve lightly. 

Mix the sugar and ground walnut together.

Sprinkle it generously on the preserve.

Repeat the process with the other 3 parts of the dough. Roll one out, try to make it on top of the filling and spread another layer of filling on it. Repeat and again repeat finishing the cake with the last layer of dough.
Last layer
Let it sit for an hour and then bake it on 180C for 30 minutes. I actually baked mine at about 130C because my oven can get quite hot and I didn't want it to burn. I then left it in the hot oven (switched off) to cool down a bit after 30 minutes. 

When the cake is ready, let it chill before spreading the chocolate on top. 

Melt the chocolate with the oil once the cake is cooled. 

When the chocolate sauce is runny, just pour it on the cake and make it even on the top. 

Let the cake rest overnight in the fridge for the best flavour.  

A few things I learnt that I would do differently next time: 
  • use more Apricot jam 
  • use less ground walnuts (about 250g)
  • not use olive oil with chocolate (olive oil is too strong of a flavour) - found out from the source that using Sunflower oil is the best and will give a great flavour and texture to the chocolate
  • make the chocolate layer much MUCH thinner
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  1. This looks WONDERFUL! I've got to try it, for sure. Love all the layers.

  2. Looks and sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing with us at Foodie Friends Friday

  3. These look so good! My husband's grandma makes something so similar to these, and being from western Europe too I am sure this recipe is very similar to her's!

  4. Thank you for visiting and the comments. I enjoyed making this cake, especially to see the reaction on my father's face when I surprised him. Jovana, the recipe your husband's grandma I'm sure would be very similar, there are a few variations to it but ultimately they are the same.