These cakes taste just as decadent and glorious as they look. Imagine a giant cinnamon roll loaf cake, but instead of cinnamon, you’ve got chocolate. And pecans. I mean really, you just have to make these! If you ask me, they’re great for any time of the day. While technically a dessert, I can personally attest to the fact that with a glass of milk or a cup of coffee, they make a stunning breakfast.
The recipe makes two loaf-pan sized cakes, but I don’t see why you couldn’t get about 6 mini-loaf pan sized cakes from one batch and give them as little holiday gifts. I think I will try it out. Be sure to plan ahead. It works best to whip up the dough the night before and then let it rest in the fridge overnight. It takes about 20 minutes to make the dough, then 30 minutes assembling the loaves the next day, then 1 1/2 hours of rising time, and finally 30 minutes of baking time. Not difficult by any means, just make sure you give yourself an adequate amount of time.
Chocolate Krantz Cakes
Credit: Jerusalem, A Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
Makes 2 loaf cakes.
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 teaspoons fast-rising active dry yeast
grated zest of 1 small lemon (I omitted this, as always.)
3 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
sunflower oil, for greasing
For chocolate filling-
scant 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 1/2-ounces good quality dark chocolate, melted (I used semisweet.)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped.
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
2/3 cup water
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
~The night before:
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. (It will be very dense!) Add the salt and then start adding in 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’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times and sprinkle a small amount of flour onto the sides so that all the dough leaves the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough in a large bowl brushed with sunflower oil, cover with plastic wrap, and eave in the fridge for at least half a day, preferably overnight.
~The next day:
Grease two loaf pans with some sunflower oil and line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. Divide the dough in half and keep one half covered in the fridge.
Make the filling by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate, and butter. You will have a spreadable paste. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle measuring 15 by 11 inches. 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 border all around. Sprinkle half the pecans on top of the chocolate, then sprinkle over half the superfine sugar.
Brush a little bit of water along the long side 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.
Trim about 3/4 inch of both ends of the roll with a serrated knife. (If you kept slicing, I’m sure you could make some delicious cinnamon-roll-style individual cakes…Just a thought.) Now use the knife to gently cut the roll in half lengthwise. You are essentially dividing the log into two long even 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. 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. Repeat the entire process with the remaining dough, covering with a wet tea towel and then leave both loaves to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The cake will rise by 10-20%.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the oven to heat fully before the cakes have finished rising. Remove the tea towels, places 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.
While the cakes are in the oven,make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar 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. Leave the cakes until they are just warm, then remove them from the pans and let cool completely before serving.