With the celebration of the New Year, comes another special occasion for us – my mommy’s birthday! She was born on the 1st of January at a little bit past midnight. Here’s some TMI – she was born at home! While my grandpa and his buddies were playing cards in the living room, my grandmother was giving birth to my mom in the next room and nobody knew. Amazing, isn’t it? Then again, this was happening in a very remote village in Macedonia back in the year of 1956. To get to a hospital they would have needed about two hours, and that is why grandma decided not to tell anyone that she was in pain – she thought she might have the baby on a bus, so instead of the bus, she opted for her bathroom! My Baba (grandma) is my hero! I thank her for giving me my mommy – I love you, Baba!
My mom is a very picky eater; from sweets to steaks – it is really hard to find something she likes, so you have to ask her. This year for her birthday she told me that she wanted me to make her one of her own cakes. My mom has tons of cake recipes. When we were younger there was a cake in the fridge at all times. She never bought a cake; always made them at home. Same with ice cream – it was always homemade. Come to think of it, she never bought anything that was already made. We grew up on homemade food. Explains why I don’t go out to eat a lot. I’ve only been to a fast food restaurant a total of maybe 20 times in my 32 years of life. Thanks to mom, I don’t even know the taste of a Big Mac!
I started to list through her cake recipes and noticed that all her cakes are genoise cakes. I knew that she had always made genoise cakes, but after looking at her recipes, it seems that genoise cakes are the only cakes she knows how to make. 🙂 In Europe, this is a popular way to make a cake. The cake is named after the city of Genoa and it is associated with French and Italian cuisine. Genoise is a thin, whole-egg cake – very different from the cakes that I’ve seen here in the USA. But, unlike the Italian or French genoise cakes, the Macedonian genoise cake, maybe even in other Balkan countries, include ground walnuts. I think this gives the cake a bit of flavor and balances out the taste of the eggs.
After so much reading, I decided to go with a yule log cake; it perfectly fits in with the New Year theme. But I have to tell you – I need to be honest – I messed up so many times while I was trying to make these genoise cakes (two genoise sheet cakes are needed). I am no pastry chef, but 26 eggs and 4 hours later, I had my cake!
What was I thinking? I put the cake batter in a 12×17 baking sheet – the cake was so thin that I couldn’t even take it out of the sheet. This was the result:
Oh well – dust yourself off and try again! 🙂
Perfect! I baked it in a 9×13 baking sheet.
But I messed up on the second one, again. That one was just eggs and I let it sit in the oven for too long. I should have taken it out after 15 minutes, but instead I let it sit in the oven for 20 minutes.
Look at those hills and mountains! I didn’t redo this one, though. It’s the jelly roll cake that is covered by the other two cakes so you won’t be able to see the hills. 🙂 Instead I put a wet towel around it and that softened it up so that I could roll it.
Mistake after mistake – it’s how we learn.
You will need:
For the first genoise cake
- 5 eggs
- 4 egg whites
- 7 tablespoons of sugar (I am writing this out as my mom has it written because after my mistakes, I began to follow her recipe to a “T”)
- 14 tablespoons ground walnuts
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven at 350.
- In a deep mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and the egg-whites for 30 seconds before you begin to add in the sugar.
- Beat it all together and add in the ground walnuts followed up by the flour.
- Mix it well and pour it in a 9×13 baking sheet.
- Put it in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is a light golden brown.
- Cool in pan on a rack for about 10 minutes and then invert onto another rack. Be very careful when you flip that sheet – you might end up with what’s in that picture above – broken up pieces of a really tasty cake.
- Let it completely cool before you cut it in half, crosswise.
The filling for the first cake:
- 2 sticks of butter
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 4 egg yolks, cooked
- 1 1/2 cups of walnuts
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 (1 oz.) squares of Semi-Sweet Baker’s chocolate, melted
- In a deep mixing bowl, bring together the butter and powdered sugar.
- Beat in a stand-up mixer until creamy.
- Add in the cooked egg yolks, and mix.
- Put the ground walnuts in a bowl.
- Pour the milk in a cup and stir in the sugar. Pour it over the ground walnuts.
- Add the walnuts into the mixing bowl and continue to mix.
- Pour in the melted chocolate and continue to mix until blended.
- Divide the filling into 3 parts.
- Spread two-thirds of the filling evenly over both pieces of cake.
For the roll cake:
- 4 eggs
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup of your favorite jam or jelly
- Preheat oven at 350
- In a deep mixing bowl bring together the eggs and the sugar.
- Beat at low speed for about a minute, then add in the flour and mix it well.
- Pour in a 9×13 baking sheet
- Put it in the oven and bake it for 15 minutes.
- Cool in pan on a rack about 10 minutes and then invert onto another rack. Be very careful when you flip that sheet – you might end up with what’s in that picture above – broken up pieces of a really tasty cake.
- Let it completely cool before you spread on the jam or jelly.
- Lay it on a wet towel for about 10 minutes before you begin to roll it. This prevents the cake from sticking and it softens it a bit so to make it easier to roll.
- Once you’ve rolled it, put the roll cake in the middle of one of the cakes covered with the chocolate filling.
- Then cover the roll cake with the other piece, filling side down.
- Cover the entire cake with the rest of your filling.
- Sprinkle some ground walnuts on top.
- Place the cake in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.
~Have a safe and a fun NYE! Best wishes for the New Year!~
And while I was working on that, this is what was going on in our wreck room:
That’s my 17 month old with her pajama bottoms on her head dancing to a song that her dad and grandma are singing. Look at the mess she made!
СРЕЌЕН РОДЕНДЕН, МАМА! ТЕ САКАМ!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! I LOVE YOU!