Friday, October 23, 2009

Cooking with My Oma: Apricot and Mandarin Orange Kuchen

As you may know from my entry on Plum Kuchen, there is a very special history between my Oma and I with eating various types of Kuchen (or cake in English).  Because of this long and special history with Kuchen, I have come to love the cake!  The German cake is not one of those cakes that is necessarily served for celebratory purposes.  Kuchen is the type of cake that can be eaten throughout the day with a mug of coffee.  Kuchen is very easy and fast to prepare and does not require additional shopping.  This is the type of cake that can easily be whipped up at the last minute, using nothing more than the items in your pantry.  

When my Oma and I made it on Tuesday, she wanted to make an Apricot Kuchen.  We did not have any fresh apricots, so she had planned on using canned apricots.  I normally don't like using canned fruits, but for this recipe it actually works to your advantage.  Firstly, as I stated before, this is the type of cake that is meant to use items from your pantry, ie. canned goods as well.  Also, because canned fruits are kept in a syrup, they soak up a lot of that moisture, which in turn, results in a much more moist cake.  Unfortunately, we only had one can of apricots, so Oma took out a can of mandarin oranges.  I immediately cringed!  Ew mandarin oranges in an apricot cake!  I didn't see how this could taste very good.  

Oma put me in charge of mixing the dough, pressing the dough into the pan, and topping the cake with the fruit and streusel.  Although I had trouble taking my mind of the fact that I was making a mandarin orange cake, I was able to pick up on some great tips to help make the perfect Kuchen.  Firstly, Oma says you must mix everything with your clean bare hands.  No machines here!  This allows you to feel exactly when the dough is ready, and she's convinced it adds more love as well.  Secondly, the last time I made my Plum Kuchen, I thought that the dough was too thin in the large pan that I was pressing it into.  So I scraped all the dough out of the pan and transferred it to a smaller one, which resulted in a denser cake that my family wasn't too fond of.  The dough is meant to be very thin when pressed into the pan.  This allows for each bite to be filled with the sweet flavour of fruit rather than the denseness of the cake.  

Next came the part I was dreading, adding the fruit.  I happily placed each apricot halve onto the dough and then stalled, hoping that we could put it in the oven without the mandarins.  Nope, Oma caught me.  She kept telling me to put more and more mandarins until I had used up the entire can!  When it came time to serving the cake to the rest f the family after dinner, I warned them all that it may not taste good because "Oma made me put mandarin oranges."  I cut the cake and reluctantly tasted my first bite.  Mmmm, it was delicious! Perhaps I had just tasted an apricot.  I ate the whole piece and it was all delicious! Who would have thought that mandarin oranges on a cake would taste so good! I absolutely loved the cake! It was so moist and flavourful, I took home a piece to save for later!  So I guess the moral of this story is, Oma is always right...unless we are talking about my mom's childhood crushes, Elvis not Ricky Nelson! Oma you owe me 5 bucks!
Note:  You can use whatever fruit you like in this cake, fresh or canned.  Apricots, mandarin oranges, strawberries, plums, blueberries, peaches, ANYTHING!  Use what you have!

3 egg yolks
1 cup butter, softened
about 2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cans fruit or about 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit, sliced (I used one 398 ml can pitted and sliced apricots, and one 284 ml can mandarine oranges.  Both cans with syrup drained)

Streusel Topping
about 1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla 

1. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all cake ingredients and mix with clean hands until well combined.  The Dough should come together into a ball and feel smooth when pinched, so that you no longer feel the grains of sugar.  

2.  Grease and flour a round cake pan (about 14 inches in diameter), and press dough evenly into pan.  Top evenly with fruit.

3.  In the same bowl as used before, combine all streusel ingredients with clean hands until crumbs are formed.  If needed, add more flour.  Sprinkle evenly on top of cake.

4.  Bake in 350ยบ oven for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.  


Sugar and Spice said...

Wow, that looks good, thanks for sharing! :)

Sara said...

Mmmm, this looks so tasty! I love the look of this kuchen...those fruits sound so delicious together! Yum. :)

figtree said...

Great post! I want a slice!!YUM

redkathy said...

Oh hey, this is my type of baking!!! Your photos are really wonderful, as always. These economic times have forced me to be a use what I have person; I do embrace and enjoy that idea now. Funny how life is. Thanks for the recipe!

Danielle said...

Thanks for all the sweet comments! You really will enjoy this cake! It's soooo good! Especially warm out of the oven!

the NEO-traditionalist said...

Your posts always make my mouth water. This looks so amazing I must give it a try. In fact, I want to go buy the ingredients right now!
XX Kate

Ginger said...

I gave you an award! Check it out here:

This sounds delicious, BTW;)