27 June 2012

Summer fruit cake - 'Obstkuchen'

This cake evokes a lot of childhood memories of coffee and cake afternoons with friends and relatives. Fresh fruit cakes or tarts are hugely popular in Germany, especially in the summer. Almost any soft fruit of your choice can be used to top the cake (fresh is best, of course, but tinned apricots, peaches or pineapples are also a common sight). I love using fresh local berries at the moment. I even got to harvest 5 (five) strawberries and an entire 21 blackcurrants in my own garden earlier today: all the hard work is starting to pay off... For the cake in the picture I added some very non-regional (and probably not very seasonal) organic kiwi for a bit of a colour contrast.

This specific recipe is not exactly traditional. The most common base for a fresh fruit cake is the plain ‘Bisquit’ I used for my strawberry cake a few weeks ago. This is also the more low-calorie option, if you are so inclined. The cake in the picture consists of a nutty chocolate base and the fruit is stuck onto the cake with melted milk chocolate. I recommend it – the combination of chocolate and nuts with fresh fruit is divine. I don’t really know where the recipe has come from, but my mother used to (and still does) bake this very often.  I get the feeling that this comes from my auntie Klara, who also is the source of my nutty triangles recipe.

I baked the cake in a 24 cm round tin, but a larger tin (up to about 28 cm) can also be used if you prefer a thinner base. The base freezes well and the final product is actually assembled fairly quickly.

For the chocolate base:

100 g butter
3 eggs
100 g sugar
100 g almonds – partially ground and partially chopped
100 g dark chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
8 pieces of crisp bread or crispy bakes (in Germany this is called ‘Zwieback’ – bread twice baked. The nearest equivalent in the UK would be melba toast or rusks. I bought ‘crispy bakes’ in Sainsbury’s, which come in a round paper packet. These were perfect. But biscuits or anything fairly neutral tasting and crunchy can also be used).
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the topping:
100 g milk chocolate
Fresh or tinned fruit of your choice

For the glaze:
1 tablespoon corn flour or potato starch
2 tablespoons sugar
250 ml water or fruit juice

For the cake batter, whisk the butter with the eggs and the sugar until fairly fluffy.  Crush up the crisp bread/crispy bakes. I crush half of them to fine ‘dust’ and keep the other half as small chunks. Stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the butter, mixing well. Bake in a greased tin for about 20 – 25 minutes at 200 degrees. Leave to cool.

To assemble the cake: carefully melt the milk chocolate. Spread this evenly and thinly on top of the cooled cake. Now arrange the fruit on top of the melted chocolate. For the glaze, combine the starch flour and sugar and mix well with some of the liquid. Bring the rest of the liquid to the boil and gradually add the flour mix. Boil for a few seconds until it starts to thicken. Immediately spread this on top of the cake with the help of a spoon, starting from the middle. I place the cake in the fridge for a few minutes to allow the chocolate to harden and the glaze to set. 

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