a pair of krantz cakes

I’ve wanted to make this chocolate krantz recipe ever since I first flicked through Jerusalem, a book that I bought almost as soon as it came out in 2012. It’s taken me five years and I really wish it hadn’t. However, the upside of this is that there are many blog accounts of how people got on making the recipe and therefore tips, tricks and pitfalls are all things I could read about before getting cooking.

The recipe makes enough for two krantz cakes so I decided to make both versions mentioned in the book – chocolate and pecan (I used hazelnuts, this is the bottom cake, pictured) as well as muscovado sugar, cinnamon and walnut (lower cake, pictured). I don’t know which one I liked best – I used very dark chocolate so that was my favourite first thing, with my early morning cup of tea, but by the time the day was moving on and I needed a sugar boost it was the muscovado and cinnamon version that I was reaching for.

So, how does this cake come together? I basically followed the smitten kitchen tips (she calls it a babka) and found it fairly easy as a result. The only thing I disagree with is the amount of sugar syrup – the original recipe calls for 260g sugar and 160ml water and SK reduces the liquid by half and uses around a third of the sugar; I would have liked a slightly more saturated cake so would probably use 120ml water and 175-200g sugar. A small change I made was to bash the nuts I was using, into small pieces, to avoid the rolling issues she mentions. Finally, do keep an eye on the cakes as they bake, covering them if the top starts to darken too much.

The cake was definitely worth the time and effort and would be a good choice of things to make if you have a long weekend coming up (extra cake-eating opportunities when everyone is at home) or a houseful of hungry guests.