June 15, 2016

Recipe: Blitzkuchen (German Almond Coffee Cake)

One of the perks of being a teacher is having a few weeks off in the summer.  The summer is all about family-time, but I always get some "me-time" in at night when I dive in to a good read.

Last week, I finished up The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski.  What a gem!  

 This review from Booklist sums it up nicely:
"Born in the aftermath of a searing family tragedy, Bonaventure Arrow “didn’t make a peep when he was born.” Never speaking a word, his silence enables him to listen to what no one else can hear. He is not only hyper-aware of the sounds of the natural world, but he is also in tune with the clamorous echoes of personal heartbreak and despair. Joining forces with Creole servant Trinidad Prefontaine, young Bonaventure undertakes a quest to unlock a series of family secrets to liberate himself, his dead father, and his inconsolable mother from the emotionally and spiritually paralyzing bonds of the past. This mystical fairy tail set in a 1950s-era Louisiana rife with religion, superstition, and tradition draws you in from the wondrous first page. Silence has never been so boundlessly eloquent."  --Margaret Flanaga

On page 222 in the chapter titled "In a Piece of Time Too Small for a Clock" I read, "On Saturuday afternoon, Bonaventure was in the kitchen with a Mrs. Silvey, who stood at the butcher-block table humming a song and rolling out dough.  She was making fresh-baked bread and cinnamon rolls, and putting together something called blitzkuchen that came from a recipe she knew by heart."

I immediately looked up blitzkuchen, and the next morning, I made a batch for breakfast.  Thank you Rita Leganski!  Thank you Bonaventure!

Blitzkuchen is also know as German Lightening Cake because it bakes up quickly, in less than 30 minutes.  It is a light snack-cake topped with candied slivered almonds that goes wonderfully with coffee or tea.  

I hope you'll try both the recipe and the book!


Blitzkuchen (German Lightning Cake)

Print-friendly recipe HERE

For the batter
2¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup, plus 1.5 Tablespoons granulated sugar
4 large eggs

For the almond topping:
12 Tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/4 cup raw or organic sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F with rack in the middle.

Line a 16 x 12 x 1 baking sheet with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment and sides of the pan.  Set aside.

Step 1:  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.    Set aside.

Step 2:  In a stand-mixer beat the eggs on high for 4 minutes.  Add sugar and mix to combine.

Step 3:  On low speed, add the flour and cream alternately in small batches, ending with the flour mixture.  Do not over mix.  

Step 4:  Transfer batter evenly on to the prepared baking sheet.  Smooth and level out with an offset spatula.  Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Step 5:  While cake is baking, prepare the topping.  In a medium saucepan, melt the butter.  Then add the vanilla, granulated sugar, heavy cream and almonds.  Heat until the mixture over medium-high heat,  stirring constantly, till it comes to a boil and just begins to darken (about 4-5 minutes).  

Step 6:  After cake has baked for 15 minutes, remove from oven and gently spread the almond caramel evenly over the top with an offset spatula.  Sprinkle with raw, turbinado or organic sugar (something with large crystals).  This will give the cake sparkle and extra crunch. 

Step 7:  Reduce oven to 350 degrees F and bake cake for 15 minutes.  Let cake cool slightly, then slice into squares and serve.  It's delicious warm, but is also heavenly the next day!

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