Sunday is the traditional day for cooking here in the Czech Republic. Moms and grandmas gather in the kitchen and start preparing the Sunday lunch because for the older generation, Sunday is the day for a home-cooked meal. From very early morning, you can hear the unmistakeable sound of meat being tenderized for the lunch schnitzels and smell the wonderful odors of hearty Czech comfort food. And because you need to finish your lunch with something sweet, baking is an indispensable part of the whole Sunday morning cooking tradition. And "babovka", or the bundt cake, is an undisputed Sunday lunch classic.
Babovka is recognizable by its unmistakeable shape, inspired by the large skirts worn by older Czech women. Every family should have its own form for the bundt cake. (And so should you: the most conveniently located Czech kitchen ware shop we know of is the shop on the 3rd floor of the Kotva department store right opposite the Palladium mall. You can buy your own form there.) Also, every family has its bundt cake recipe. We have recently tasted the recipe of Lukas, our dear friend, and asked him to share the recipe and the story behind it. This is what he wrote:
"I remember it like it was yesterday: 'Are you sure you didn’t forget to grease your tray?' my grandmother asked me. Of course I did forget. Almost every single time. She was the one who taught me so much about cooking and baking. She was the involuntary taster of everything I prepared. I remember her grimace when she swallowed something seriously awful but she would still reply 'Uhhmmm! Delicious! The best thing I’ve ever had!' She passed away more than 4 months ago and I miss her so much. I’m writing my very first article in her honor - a recipe for a classic bábovka cake. And granny no, I didn’t forget this time. I will never ever forget again.
For light yet moist cake you will need:
- 250g of full-fat curd cheese
- 250g of butter
- 250g soft wheat flour
- 150g powdered sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 sachet of baking powder (around 5 grams)
Yes, it’s that easy. And no. It’s not healthy. It’s a dessert for a typical lazy Sunday afternoon.
Get your oven ready and set the temperature to 170°C/340°F. Divide yolks and whites and whip the yolks with all of the sugar. Then add melted butter with the curd cheese and mix it gently and thoroughly. Put the flour in a bowl and mix it with the baking powder, then pour the mixture into the cream you prepared. Whip the egg whites with your machine to create something we call “snow”, whipped egg whites. Be very careful and fold the snow into the dough to create an amazingly light dough. And - for the love of god - please don’t forget to grease your baking tray with butter. And that’s it! Use a wooden skewer to check whether the cake is finished - if there’s no dough on the skewer, the cake is ready.
I can almost feel the smell of your freshly baked babovka here. The beautiful memories from my childhood are just coming back to me - me sitting in front of the oven with the task of checking when the cake is ready; me barely unable to wait for the thirty minutes required to allow the cake to cool on the table before eating; and the feeling in my chest when I carried my first babovka proudly for testing by my parents and grandmother. Enjoy your cake wherever you are and please, leave some comments if you try it!"
(Lukas' post was inspired by Petra and her amazing blog - Kitchen and the city)