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Cover: Make your cake…and eat it

Recipes with milk

23Jul 12

Basque Cream Cake

Basque Cream Cake

This is a French recipe originating from the Basque region, an area that borders France and Spain. That´s where I first tried this cake, after a very long morning walk around the city of Soule, France, and a quite heavy meal that included Coq Au Vin in a great restaurant where everything was fantastic. I didn´t know what to order for dessert, so the waiter recommended this delicacy, which is difficult to find even in Basque bakeries. Luckily, this rustic jewel is not hard to make, just hard to resist.

I really liked its textures and flavours, and thought it could also be an ideal afternoon tea time snack. It’s a cake with a crunchy textured top and bottom, and then a soft middle. The filling is simply pastry cream. The cake I first made consisted of a cake that was basically dripping with rum, a vanilla pastry cream and slivered almonds on top.

It is known in French as Gateau Basque, where the traditional filling is cherries; there are countless variations to the cake depending on where it is made. The stuffing can be varied depending on the requirements and availability: sometimes, powdered almonds or lemon zest may also be used to make the pastry of the cake, and the yeast may be replaced with baking powder. The cream filling may be flavoured with almonds, anise, rum or Armagnac, or it could also contain cherry jam.

Basque Cream Cake
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
This Basque cream cake is a yummy, cream-filled classic from southern France.
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • 250g flour
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs, one of them lightly beaten
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 150g butter, melted and cooled
  • 60ml fresh strained orange juice
  • 4 drops vanilla extract
  • 10ml dark rum
  • For the pastry cream filling:
  • 100g granulated sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 40g flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 500ml milk
  • 5cm piece of vanilla bean
Instructions
  1. Prepare the pastry cream filling first:
  2. Mix the sugar and egg yolks together with a spoon, beating until the mixture is thick and cream-coloured.
  3. Gradually work in the flour and a pinch of salt.
  4. Place the milk and the vanilla bean in a saucepan and heat to the boiling point.
  5. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture in a thin stream, stirring constantly.
  6. Turn the mixture into a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring vigorously, until it comes to the boiling point.
  7. Boil for two minutes.
  8. Strain the mixture and allow it to cool. Stir occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on it.
  9. Prepare the cake:
  10. Oil a spring-form cake pan and preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  11. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.
  12. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the three unbeaten eggs with the granulated sugar.
  13. Slowly add the butter to the eggs and sugar.
  14. Beat in the flour mixture, a third at a time.
  15. Mix in the orange juice, vanilla extract and rum.
  16. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes.
  17. Fill an icing bag fitted with a No.6 open star nozzle with the cake batter.
  18. Pipe the batter in a spiral shape into the oiled cake pan, starting at the outside edge and finishing at the centre.
  19. Spread the pastry cream over the batter, leaving a one centimetre edge uncovered. Make sure the pastry cream doesn’t touch the edge of the pan.
  20. Cover the pastry cream with a spiral of batter, making sure the edge is well covered.
  21. Brush the top with the beaten egg.
  22. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until it feels dry.
  23. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then turn out and serve cold.

 

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21Jun 12

Almond and Chestnut Cake

Almond and Chestnut CakeA traditional Czech dessert, this almond and chestnut cake (called Dort Kastanovy in the Czech Republic) is very hearty and rich.  Chestnuts are not easy to find most of the year except in the autumn, so this is a great seasonal recipe to keep in mind when the leaves start turning colour. I really like the combination of chestnuts and almonds, but if you prefer just almonds, I recommend this almond cake with orchard fruits recipe.

 

Ingredients:

  • 500g chestnuts, washed, shells and skins left on
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 70g butter, softened
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, yolks separated from whites, whites stiffly beaten
  • 175ml almonds, blanched, peeled and ground
  • 500ml double cream, whipped

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter a 20cm spring-form cake pan and dust with breadcrumbs.
  3. Make an incision on the rounded sides of the chestnuts with a sharp knife and roast them on a baking tray in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes to loosen the shells and skins.
  4. Remove from the oven and peel, then cook them on the stovetop in the milk for about 30 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat of the oven to 150ºC.
  6. Set aside 50ml of the chestnuts and purée the rest through a strainer while they’re still hot.  Add any liquid that wasn’t absorbed during cooking.
  7. To prepare the cake, cream the butter very well with the granulated sugar and the egg yolks.
  8. Mix in the ground almonds and the puréed chestnuts.
  9. Fold in the egg whites.
  10.  Pour the batter into the buttered and dusted spring-form pan and bake in the 150ºC oven for 45 minutes to one hour, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11.  Cool the cake in its pan for about 10 minutes, then remove the rim.  Run a spatula or knife under the cake to loosen it and then turn it out onto a wire cooling rack.
  12. When it has cooled, split the cake into two layers.
  13. Fill and cove the cake with the whipped double cream.
  14.  Shred the remaining chestnuts (or leave whole according to preference) and sprinkle them over the top.
  15. Slice and serve.

Prep Time:  45 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Medium

 

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20Jun 12

Almond Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries

Almond Pound Cake with Fresh StrawberriesA bit of a twist on the classic pound cake recipe, this almond pound cake with fresh strawberries is the perfect treat for a summer afternoon.  I like to use brown sugar to sweeten the strawberries as I find it gives them a more nuanced flavour, but if you don’t like the taste, you can substitute normal white granulated sugar.  In fact, if the berries are sweet enough, you can omit the sugar altogether for a slightly more healthy version. (Also try strawberries with Grana Padano and honey.)

 

Ingredients:

  • 165g butter, softened
  • 190g cake flour
  • 180ml almond paste
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 180ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 500g fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150ml double cream

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 25cm x 15cm x 7cm loaf pan, or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter on medium speed in an electric mixer. Add the almond paste and continue mixing until smooth.
  4. Gradually add sugar and beat until light in colour.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add the vanilla extract.
  7. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add this mixture to the batter alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just blended.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a bit of crumb on it.
  10.  While the cake is baking, prepare the strawberries: Mix the hulled and sliced strawberries with the brown sugar, stirring well to coat all the berries with sugar.  Set aside for at least 10 minutes so that the berries release their juice.
  11.  Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 10 to 15 minutes.
  12.  Carefully remove the cake from the pan and continue cooling on the wire cooling rack.
  13.  When the cake has cooled, cut into slices and top with a couple of tablespoons of the strawberry and brown sugar mixture.
  14.  Drizzle a little double cream over the top and serve.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  55 minutes

Serves:  6-8

Difficulty:  Easy

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16Jun 12

Banana and Blueberry Cake

Banana and Blueberry CakeThis banana and blueberry cake is so full of fruity goodness that I find it hard to resist snacking on every time I go into the kitchen, although I generally prefer to eat it at breakfast along with a cup of coffee or tea.  Another fruity option in the morning is this berry messy breakfast.

If you want to make it a tad heartier and healthier, try replacing a bit of the flour with bran or rolled oats.  The bananas should be very ripe for best results, but don’t worry too much as long as they’re not still green.  The recipe calls for fresh blueberries, but the frozen ones will work just as well, and you can hardly notice the difference.

Ingredients:

  • 120g butter, softened
  • 400g plus 1tblsp granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g bananas, mashed (about 2 small sized bananas)
  • 375g plus 1tbsp flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5tsp baking powder
  • 125ml whole milk
  • 500g fresh  blueberries

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour a 24cm fluted Bundt pan and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter.
  4. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to mix.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  6. Add the mashed bananas and mix well.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until just blended and smooth.
  9. In a separate bowl, mix the blueberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of sugar to coat.
  10.  Stir coated blueberries into the batter and pour into the prepared pan.
  11.  Bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out with just a bit of crumb on it.
  12.  Remove the cake from the oven and place on wire cooling rack.
  13.  Cool the cake in its pan for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and continue to cool, right side up, on the cooling rack.
  14.  When the cake has completely cooled, slice and serve.

 

 

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  65 minutes

Serves:  10-12

Difficulty:  Medium

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30Apr 12

Gumdrop Cake

Gumdrop CakeAnother Canadian recipe I learned from my great-aunt, this gumdrop cake,  is apparently a traditional Christmas cake over there.  We usually visited her in the summer, but luckily this cake freezes very well, so she always made sure to save some for us when we visited.

The cake is far from healthy, and I imagine it’s quite fattening, but what do you expect from a cake full of fruit gums?!  In any case, it’s sinfully delicious and a great treat for the little ones – and the older ones too!

My great-aunt’s recipe calls for sugar-coated gumdrops, but I can’t usually find that kind at my local shops and usually just substitute the regular kind.  I don’t think the difference is really noticeable, even though a Canadian might disagree with that assumption.

The cake is sweet enough on its own and doesn’t require any frosting, just make sure you don’t leave it in the oven too long as it’s best when the sponge is nice and moist.

Ingredients:

  • 227g butter
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 375g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 rounded teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • 500ml gumdrops

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter and flour a tube cake pan.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs and beat well.
  5. Add flour and baking powder alternately with milk – beginning and ending with flour.
  6. Add the lemon extract.
  7. Cut the gumdrops into small pieces and coat with a little flour.
  8. Fold the gumdrops into the batter.  The batter should be very stiff to avoid the gumdrops sinking to the bottom during baking.  Add a little more flour if necessary.
  9. Pour the batter into the greased and floured tube cake pan.
  10.  Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

For more seasonal ideas, try this Christmas cake recipe.

 

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Medium

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18Apr 12

Yellow Layer Cake with Orange Chocolate Frosting

Yellow layer cake with orange chocolate frosting

This yellow layer cake with orange chocolate frosting is a small variation on your typical yellow sponge cake.  I was getting a bit bored of plain old chocolate or vanilla frosting and decided to get a bit more adventurous.  Of course, if you prefer, you can just make the sponge and use whatever frosting you prefer, but where’s the fun in that?!

This recipe uses only two layers of sponge cake, but I sometimes use three, depending on your mood. You could also make fun shapes, like in this chocolate orange Valentine’s cake.

Ingredients:

For the sponge:

  • 4 eggs, whites separated from yolks
  • 225g butter, softened
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 240g cake flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp salt
  • 250ml milk

 

For the frosting:

  • 125g cream cheese
  • 315g icing sugar
  • 125g cocoa powder
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 3tbsp orange juice
  • Grated rind of 1 orange

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC.
  2. Grease and flour two 25cm round cake pans, or line them with baking parchment and set aside.
  3. In an electric mixer with a wire whisk attachment, beat the egg whites until they are soft but not dry. Set aside.
  4. With the electric mixer on medium speed, cream the butter and gradually add the granulated sugar, beating until light in colour.
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  6. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
  8. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until batter is smooth.
  9. Carefully fold the flour mixture into the egg whites.
  10.  Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  11.  While the cake is baking, prepare the frosting as follows:
    • Mix all the ingredients together by hand or with an electric mixer, setting aside just a pinch of the grated orange rind.
    • If the icing is too runny, add a little more icing sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.
    • Refrigerate until you’re ready to frost the cake.
  1.  Remove the pans from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2.  Carefully remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool on the wire racks. Remove and discard parchment before decorating.
  3.  When cool, frost with the orange and chocolate frosting you prepared earlier and sprinkle over the remaining orange rind. Slice and serve.

 

Prep Time:  30 minutes

Cooking Time:  30minutes

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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16Apr 12

Marvellous Marble Cake

Marvellous Marble CakeThis marvellous marble cake is really great for impressing your friends and family as it looks quite complicated to make, although in reality, it’s actually quite simple.  The cake is so moist and delicious that it can be served on its own, but it can also be served with chocolate or vanilla icing if you like.

For a chocolaty version of this delectable dessert, try a chocolate marble cake with chocolate icing.

 

Ingredients:

For the white part:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 110g butter, softened
  • 250g flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 125ml milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract

For the brown part:

  • 110g butter, softened
  • 130g brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 150ml molasses
  • 250g flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • 60ml milk

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter and flour an 8cm deep x 20cm wide cake pan.
  3. Make the white part of the cake:
  4. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks are formed.
  5. Add half of the sugar and keep beating until the whites are stiff.
  6. Cream the butter with the rest of the sugar in a separate bowl.
  7. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and add this mixture to the butter a little at a time, alternating with the milk.  Mix well after each addition.
  8. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  9. Fold the egg whites into the batter.
  10. Make the brown part of the cake:
  11. Cream the butter with the sugar.
  12. Beat in the egg yolks.
  13. Dissolve the baking soda into the molasses in a saucepan over low heat.
  14. Sift the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a separate bowl.
  15. Combine the flour mixture with the molasses mixture.
  16. Add the flour and molasses mixture to the butter and sugar a little at a time, alternating with the milk.  Mix well after each addition.
  17. Mix both the white and brown parts together:
  18. Alternately place heaped tablespoons of the white and brown mixture into the cake pan to produce a marbled effect.
  19. Bake in the preheated oven for at least an hour or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time:  60 minutes

Serves:  8

Difficulty:  Medium

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04Apr 12

Poached Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Pineapple upside down cakeLately I’ve been trying to get away from standard chocolate and white cake varieties and getting more into fruit-based cakes, like this almond cake with orchard fruits.  I guess I’m trying to fool myself into thinking they’re a bit healthier, which they are, albeit only slightly!  This poached pineapple upside-down cake is one of the more difficult ones I’ve tried and I have to admit that my first attempt didn’t turn out very well.  However, I gave it another try and it came out beautifully!  The poached pineapple offsets the brown sugar and pecans perfectly and its appearance is quite impressive too.

So arm yourself with patience and give this one a try. You won’t be disappointed with the result!

Ingredients:

For the poached pineapple:

  • 5 fresh pineapple slices, poached and drained.
  • 400g granulated sugar
  • 200ml water
  • 50ml strained orange juice

For the sponge:

  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 6tbsp hot milk
  • 2 eggs, yolks separated from whites, whites stiffly beaten
  • 125g flour, sifted
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 8tbsp butter
  • 200g brown sugar
  • 65ml pecans, chopped into small pieces
  • 5 maraschino cherries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. To poach the pineapple, stir the sugar and water together in a deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Use a dampened pastry brush to wipe down any stray sugar crystals that stick to the sides of the pan.  When the sugar has dissolved, bring the syrup to the boil.  Add the pineapple slices and simmer for 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
  3. Gradually add half of the granulated sugar and all the milk to the egg yolks, beating steadily.
  4. Thoroughly mix in the rest of the granulated sugar, the flour and the vanilla extract.
  5. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
  6. Melt the butter in a large frying pan (about 23cm in diameter) over medium heat.
  7. Add the brown sugar and blend well.
  8. Remove the frying pan from the heat and arrange the pineapple slices and pecans symmetrically on top of the butter and sugar mixture. Place one cherry in the middle of each pineapple slice.
  9. Cover these ingredients with the batter and place the pan in the preheated oven.
  10. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  11. Flip the cake out immediately onto a serving dish.
  12. Let the cake cool before serving.

Prep Time:  25 minutes

Cooking Time:  30 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:  Difficult

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30Mar 12

Spectacular Strawberry and Cream Cake

Strawberry and Cream Cake

This spectacular strawberry and cream cake makes a great summertime dessert, but since these days strawberries can be found year-round, why should you wait?!  Get yourself some fresh strawberries and get baking; I guarantee you won’t regret it! (For an extra fruity flavour, try this strawberry and raspberry tart.)

Ingredients:

  • 240g sifted cake flour
  • 330g granulated sugar
  • 4tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp salt
  • 115g butter
  • 315ml milk
  • 1tsp lemon extract
  • 1/2tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 litre fresh strawberries
  • 500ml double cream, whipped with 50g granulated sugar and 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 175ml redcurrant jelly

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Butter two 23cm layer-cake pans and line with baking parchment.
  3. Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the butter and half of the milk.
  5. Beat with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
  6. Add the rest of the milk, the lemon extract, the vanilla extract and the egg yolks.
  7. Beat with the electric mixer for another 2 minutes.
  8. Pour the batter into the two 23cm buttered cake pans lined with the baking parchment.
  9. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  10.  Cool the layers in their pans for 10 minutes and then turn them out onto wire cooling racks.
  11.  Wash and hull the strawberries.
  12.  Chop enough of the strawberries to make 250ml and set aside the rest.
  13.  Fold the chopped strawberries into 250ml of the whipped cream.
  14.  Place one of the cake layers top side down on a serving plate.
  15.  Spread on the strawberry and cream filling.
  16.  Place the second cake layer on top with the top side up.
  17.  Slice the rest of the strawberries lengthwise and arrange them on top of the cake with the pointed ends facing towards the outer edge.
  18.  Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
  19.   Melt the redcurrant jelly in a small pan over low heat, stirring constantly.
  20.  Spoon the melted jelly over the strawberries.
  21.  Spoon the remaining whipped cream in small puffs over the top of the cake in a decorative pattern.
  22.  Refrigerate the cake until you’re ready to serve it.

Prep Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time:  40 minutes

Serves:  8-10

Difficulty:  Medium

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14Feb 12

White Birthday Cake with Nutella Frosting

White Birthday Cake with Nutella FrostingBirthdays! Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they come around every year!  And although I adore cheesecake, there is just no better way to celebrate than with my white birthday cake with Nutella frosting!  I admit it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but that’s why birthdays are only once a year.

This hearty and delicious white birthday cake recipe was a staple around my house at birthday time when I was growing up.  It was handed down to me by my mother, who got it from my grandma, who got it from her mother, who supposedly invented it – although I make no claims as to the authenticity of this fact!  Either way, the cake is absolutely scrumptious and the Nutella frosting (my own addition) provides a great nutty/chocolaty contrast to the spongy white cake base.

If you’re feeling adventurous, try cutting the cake into two layers (after cooking and cooling, of course).  You can fill the middle layer with more Nutella, or strawberry jam, or any other flavour of jam, or whatever else tickles your fancy.  You could also garnish it with sliced almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or whatever other nut you prefer.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup of boiling water
  • ½ cup of whole milk
  • 2 tsp. of baking powder
  • 1 tsp. of vanilla extract
  • 400g jar of Nutella

Instructions:

  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until they’re light and fluffy.
  2. Add the boiling water and the milk a little at a time, stirring continuously.
  3. Add the vanilla and stir well.
  4. Add the baking powder and stir it in to the mix.
  5. Add 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, mixing vigorously.
  6. Repeat step 5 until all the flour and eggs have been added.
  7. Pour the mixture into an approx. 23cm round tube cake pan.
  8. Bake in a preheated oven at 160ºC for one hour or until a toothpick inserted at the top comes out clean.
  9. Turn out onto a cake rack and let it cool.
  10. Spread the Nutella over the outside of the cake and serve.

Prep Time:  20 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves:  10

Difficulty:  Medium

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