August 31, 2013
Sweet indulgence: Krantz cake
Normally for this column the theme of indulgence relates to the matter of eating, but today, it was entirely in the doing (well, almost entirely).
I have been itching to make this chocolate krantz cake ever since I first laid eyes on its twisted beauty in Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi's latest book, Jerusalem. With their rich, bready aroma and soft and sweet dough, yeasted cakes are one of my favourite things to make, so I could hardly resist the lure of this delectable-looking relative of the babbka and other ugat shmarim.
Like all good baked treats it requires time, but a small amount of effort before bed and there's a gloriously golden and rich brioche dough proved and ready to go by morning.
It's also somewhat of a technical challenge—involving a rather elaborate braiding process (and in hindsight I'd certainly roll them much tighter next time)—but the rustic charm is frankly unmissable, making the krantz a real treat for all of the senses.
Filled with bitter dark chocolate and pecans, and slathered in a sweet and sticky sugar syrup it is best enjoyed warm, which is fortunate given it's near impossible to resist when pulled fresh from the oven.
The alternative filling was equally fabulous, and although the muscovado made the task of braiding slightly more difficult, the resultant sticky caramel with its cinnamon aroma and walnut studs was certainly worth the effort.
Both variations were equally scrumptious and I suspect that choosing a favourite krantz could prove difficult as the possibilities seem endless. I think I'll try doing one with ricotta and orange zest next...