Sunday, November 2, 2014

Schneewittchenkuchen a.k.a Snow White Cake

About seven years ago I discovered more of my cousins in Germany. I quickly discovered that most older Germans don't speak, or understand English. I also learned that food is a universal language.
Okay I'm cheating
Nora, one of my younger English speaking relatives, commented that they use sheet cake pans instead of round ones after seeing a picture of my grandmother's round streusel kuchen picture. When I asked for her favorite cake, her reply, "Schneewittchen." Knowing that I do not read German she went on to explain:
Drain those cherries
Schneewittchen, Snow White in English, is the name of a German fairytale by the Brothers Grimm. Schneewittchen is a really beautiful young woman and as the fairytale says, her hair as black as ebony, her skin as white as snow, and her lips as red as blood. You will realize that the cake is black, white and red.
Prepare the pan
Her recipe called for making a white, or yellow cake from scratch. Then you must divide the batter in half and mix in the cocoa powder to one of the batters. Since we're not really bakers we decided to cheat a little and bought a Fudge Marble cake mix from Duncan Hines. Drain the cherries, reserving the juice for the glaze.
We made the cake according to the package directions, but mixed the cocoa into only one half of the batter. We greased a sheet pan, laying a piece of parchment paper on the bottom, to make removing the  cake easier after baking. My wife poured the cocoa layer into the pan first and smoothed it out evenly.

The yellow cake layer is poured slowly on top of the cocoa layer. The last step is to place the drained cherries across the top of the yellow cake layer, and then pushing them into the cake with your finger until halfway into the cake layer.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the cake into the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool. Once cool, carefully remove the cake from the pan and place it on a cooling rack.
The cake needs a red frosting, or glaze. In Germany they use 1.5 ounce package of vanilla pudding powder, mixed with 8 ounces of reserved cherry juice. I believe that they probably get Dr. Oetker® Vanilla pudding powder, which comes in 1.5 ounce packages. In America, JELL-O® vanilla pudding powder only comes in 3 ounce packages. Since this was our first attempt and couldn't find Dr. Oetker brand.
I picked out the JELL-O® pudding. The glaze also required 4.5 ounces of butter at the end. The glaze proved to be technically more difficult then expected. For that reason, you're on your own for the glaze.
We finally came up with an acceptable glaze, but not enough of it. Again, we are not bakers, so if anyone visiting this blog is a baker, or knows how to glaze this cake, please leave a comment below, or sign up to follow this blog on the upper right side of this post.
Let's get this into the oven
So far, even using a boxed cake mix, this cake project has been a lot more difficult than we anticipated. Now that we had the cake in the oven, we took a small breather while it baked. If we did it right, the sour cherries should end up somewhere in the center of the cake.
I wonder where the cherries went?
Time to check the glaze. While cooling, it turned from a thick liquid to a jello-like consistency. We knew right away that this was not going to work. We made a second batch, and while it was clear, it just was not right.
We had to go buy some more cherry juice
How would it stay on top of the cake, I wondered? We decided to add the remaining cherries to hold some of the glaze on top of the cake. When pouring on the glaze it did not flow as much as we thought it would.
Aside from not making enough of the cherry glaze to cover the top of the cake, it didn't flow easily and therefore did not cover the top as expected. Maybe we should have glazed first and added the cherries after.

Who could have imagined that melting chocolate would be such a challenge. Breaking up a chocolate bar, adding cream and a little vegetable oil would cause the chocolate to seize, not once but twice. So how will it taste, I wondered?
The layers set properly, but where did the cherries go.
The cake actually tasted good. After all, how do you screw up a boxed cake mix. I should have used all of the cherries for the center of the cake. For anyone who didn't know better, it turned out to be a great Halloween theme cake.
If anyone out there can supply me with some tips, or a recipe for making a fruit glaze, or tips on making a great chocolate ganache, please leave a comment below.
No room for vegetables here

PS. Thanksgiving is on Thursday, the 27th of November this year and I can hardly wait.   
© TMelle 2014


Lin Ewing said...

Why wouldn't you have put the cherries between the layers of cake?

That was melted chocolate on top?

The Retro Cooking Guy said...

Actually I didn't have a photograph to look at and went online. There were many pictures where cherries were, or were not on top.
There is another cake (Donauwellen a.k.a. Danube Waves, and is often confused with the Snow White.
Fearing that the cherries would be too tart I decided to hold back. Keep in mind that these cherries were Door County sour cherries, not sweet like cherry pie filling.
Yes that was melted chocolate.
Hey... Not a baker

Anonymous said...

If the cherry juice was not heavily sweetened, you could whisk in a bit more sugar, and then reduce it over medium heat. If it cooks too long at too low of a temperature you will get glue. If it already has a bunch of corn syrup, you can just go ahead and reduce it. The thickening thing is similar to what you would get making jam-cherries have a fair amount of pectin in them, so you need to grab every metal spoon you own, place them on a plate by the stove, and start checking the glaze to see if it is sheeting across the spoon. If it falls off in clumps, it will set hard like jelly, so you want to keep it fairly thin.

Or, you can cheat and use a bit (a very small bit) of cornstarch diluted in water that you add to the liquid as it boils. Immediately remove it from the heat because if left to cook too long it will thicken too much.

But hey, either way you got cake! What's more, you spent quality time baking with your spouse, which is lovely.

Anonymous said...

Door County!

That brings back childhood Chicago summer vacation memories.

Food question, have you ever tried to duplicate an italian beef, true restaurant style (are italian beef/hot dog places called restaurants?), out of your kitchen? Hope to see a Christmas food posting!

The Retro Cooking Guy said...

Will get around to an Italian Beef for you very soon, but you MUST get a good quality meat slicer to cut the beef very thin. Some butchers (not many) will slice a beef that you cooked