Chocolate Krantz Cake

It’s no surprise that I am a fan of taking it slowly in the kitchen. Once the hideously boring, but necessary chores are done in the morning (laundry, making up bed, tidying up the breakfast stuff), I don the apron like a uniform; it helps get me in a particular mood, a mindset. For the next few hours, I’ll potter, whisk, prod and poke, whatever needs doing to get a good bake on. The only voice I need is one that’s singing its heart out of the speakers, the only sound that hums around is the Kitchen Aid whirring. This is my time, in my space, where I do my own thing. And I am usually rewarded handsomely for the investment.

I have made a fair few sweet yeasted rolls. All of them, have been good, great, excellent in their own right. However, this cake, The Chocolate Krantz Cake, is in a league of it’s own. From the outstanding book Jerusalem by Yotam Ottelenghi and Sami Tamimi, this is definitely, a star recipe; the kind that’s worth buying the book for.

A soft, butter, sugar and egg enriched yeasted dough, left to prove and firm slowly in the fridge overnight, is rolled in the morning, smeared with a buttery chocolate filling, rolled, cut lengthways  twisted, proved again and baked. It puffs up magnificently. The hot, tiger striped, chocolate rippled cake, is then doused with a staggering amount of sugar syrup. This unapologetic cake is not for the faint of heart or hand. And yet, it manages to attain balance. There isn’t an awful lot of sugar in the dough, so the syrup is essential for offering that initial hit of sweetness, followed by buttery bread and deep chocolatey flavour. Any more filling and the whole would be cloying. Plus it looks magnificent, the sugar syrup sitting on the rippled cake like a glossy, tactile veneer. Like a glazed earthenware dish, you can’t resist touching it.

Krantz Bread 02 The Patterned PlateWhile you are not required to have a finely honed level of skill to make this cake, it does need a bit of pre-planning and patience. The counter-intuitive slicing of the rolled dough lengthwise feels completely weird, wrong and worrisome. Plus,  the twisting requires a ‘just do it’ approach, you can’t muck around here. It may or may not twist neatly, it might fold in on itself a little, the chocolate might set too much and crack as you twist it, or it hasn’t cooled enough and it’s flowing out of the layers. It doesn’t matter! Both these scenarios happened with my cakes as you can see from the photos, but they didn’t matter a whit!  You will wonder midway why the hell you are bothering with all this faff when 2o easy, trouble free minutes would have seen a glorious Victoria Sponge come out of the oven already. You would have been eating it by now! But then, after you finally get it baked, soaked in syrup, cooled and ready to slice, that question as to whether the effort was worth it will be answered with a serious, loud, resounding yes. This is so much more than the sum of it’s parts, it is magnificent. And the feeling of accomplishment is hard to beat. In fact, it’s impossible to remain modest; I give you leave to gloat.

Krantz Bread Process 01 The Patterned PlateKrantz Bread Process 02 The Patterned PlateKrantz Bread Process 03 The Patterned PlateKrantz Bread Process 04 The Patterned PlateKrantz Bread Process 06 The Patterned PlateKrantz Bread Process 07 The Patterned Plate

Krantz Bread 04 The Patterned Plate

Of all the things I have baked, the unapologetic Krantz Cake got the most enthusiastic reception. Kids were around the plate like animals at a watering hole. Friends were raving about it and I have a request for a loaf next time I should bake it (which will be in a couple of days time). This recipe makes two loaves. Between friends and family, the tin lay empty the day after the cake was placed in it, with only the smear of the icing betraying the previous occupant.

In the midst of all that there is to do and think about on a day to day basis – school, lunches, homework, dance lessons, sports, playdates, dinners, tantrums, tiaras and footballs- it’s liberating when you can focus on just one thing for a few hours. There will always be something that needs doing. It can wait. Truly, right now, it can wait. Have another slice of Krantz Cake.

Krantz Bread 07 The Patterned Plate

Chocolate Krantz Cake

  • Servings: 2 x 2lb loaves
  • Print

from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottelenghi & Sami Tamimi

530g / 4 cups + 1/4 cup Plain, all purpose flour plus extra for dusting
100g / 1/2 cup caster sugar
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
grated zest of 1 small lemon
3 large free-range eggs
120 ml wwater
1/3 tsp salt
150 g / 2/3rd cup of butter at room temperature, cut into 2 cm cubes
sunflower oil for greasing

Chocolate Filling

50g/ 1/2 cup icing, confectioner’s/powdered
30g/ 1/4cup  best quality unsweetened cocoa powder
130g / 4.5oz best quality, semi sweet, dark chocolate (70 percent cocoa solids)
120g/ 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
100g / 3.5oz pecans, roughly chopped
2 tbsp caster sugar

Syrup to cover both cakes
260g / 1 cup + 1/8 cup  caster sugar
160ml/2/3 cup water

For the dough
Put the dough hook attachment onto your mixer. In the mixer bowl add the flour, sugar, yeast and zest and mix with the dough hook for a minute. Add the eggs and water and work for a few moments at this speed, then increase it to medium, mixing for a 3 minutes until the dough comes together. Add salt and start adding the butter, a cube at a time, letting it all melt into the dough. Mix for 10 minutes at a medium speed, scraping the sides, flouring it lightly as necessary, for around 10 minutes, after which the dough will take on a sheen, be elastic and totally smooth but very sticky.

Brush the oil into a large bowl, scrape the dough into it, cover with plastic wrap/cling film and preferably, leave it to rise and firm up in the fridge overnight or for at least half a day.

Grease two 1 kilo/2lb loaf tins well and line the bottom with paper. Divide your dough into two, leaving one covered and return to the fridge. The dough will have risen a bit and feel quite firm.

Mix all the filling ingredients except the nuts and the 2 tbsp of sugar. Beat until you get a smooth, spreadable paste. Now, flour your work surface. He says lightly, but I say flour well, unless you have a silicone, non stick pastry mat. Shape your dough roughly into a rectangle and then roll out into 38cm x 28cm (15″ x 11″) rectangle. Trim the sides with a sharp knife to keep the dough even and place one of the short sides closest to you. Spread HALF the filling over the rolled dough, with a palette knife, leaving a 2 cm border all around it. Sprinkle HALf the pecans on top and one tablespoon of caster sugar.

Brush a little but of water over the long end furthest away from you. Using both hands, roll up the rectangle like a roulade, starting from the long side that is closest to you and ending at the other long side. Press the wet ends to seal it and even the roll into a perfect, thick cigar, sitting on it’s seam.

With a serrated knife, trim off just under an inch or 2 cms of both ends. Gently, cut the roll into 2, LENGTHWAYS, starting on the top, right through to the seam. With the cut side with it’s layers up facing you, gently press one end of each half together. Then, lift the right half over the left half. Repeat with the left half over the right half and press the ends together to seal it. Carefully lift the interwined loaf and place into your tin. Cover the loaf with a wet tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hrs. It will rise only about 20 percent. Repeat the same process for your second loaf.

Preheat the oven to 190 deg C/ 170deg C Fan/ Gas Mark 5/375 F. Remove the tea towels and place the cakes on the middle shelf for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Make the syrup while the cake’s in the oven. Place both ingredients into a saucepan and over a medium heat to dissolve the sugar. As soon as the sugar dissolves and the syrup starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool. As soon as the hot cakes are done and are out of the oven, brush both loaves liberally with the syrup. It will seem excessive but finish off all the syrup equally on both loaves.

Leave until just warm before removing them from the tins to cool down completely.

They keep for two days at room temperature, wrapped up well in foil and up to a couple of weeks when frozen.

Notes: If the chocolate mixture is too liquid and warm, it makes it more difficult to roll the dough and definitely more slippery when trying to braid the two halves. I would suggest leaving it to cool a bit until it’s still warm and supple, but thickened slightly, before using it.

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60 thoughts on “Chocolate Krantz Cake

  1. Rushi!

    Drooooool. That loaf looks delish, I wouldn’t be able to say no to a slice or two or the entire loaf. I hate being rushed in the kitchen too, one of my friend’s used to say, cooking is an art and art shouldn’t be rushed 🙂
    Well I’ll be buying Jerusalem very soon, must start hinting to hubby 😉 Carrie you make the best recipes ever.

  2. Alexandra

    These loaves are GORGEOUS! I would love to try out this recipe some day. I was just thinking this morning that I should be baking more healthy things, and then I see this cake and all I want to do is make it instead! Talk about timing… But I will definitely keep this in mind, and try it out when I feel like I deserve an indulgence. I’m a chocolate lover, so this would be like heaven in bread form, I’m sure.

    1. The Patterned Plate

      My sincere apologies for scuppering your well laid out plans Alexandra! Haha! You said it, it’s heaven in bread form so please do try it when you want to tinker in the kitchen and get something wonderful out of it at the end 🙂 This recipe is made for sharing. One to keep and the other to gift!

  3. oiyoufood

    Gosh! Could this look any more mouthwatering?! I used to follow Ottelenghi on Guardian. A genius yet slightly ….poncey!? Can I call him that? I always thought none of his dishes will make me feel full and happy! 🙂 This recipe will though!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Hahaha! Course you can, it’s how you feel! Oh bless, I think the opposite, especially when you see him on telly. To me, he is completely approachable. And on the food front, some argue that his portions are too ‘restaurant’ based, ie, stingy, but that’s easily amended. One thing to note…if food has flavour, real, good hit of flavour you don’t need a lot of it to feel satisfied and that’s certainly the case with YO. Have you tried any of his recipes? Jerusalem, is on it’s way to being a classic.

  4. bitesizedjessica

    This looks so amazing, it reminds me of the chocolate babka from Russ & Daughters that I love so much!

  5. Tina

    This is almost identical to my babka recipe, without the almond paste and raisins! Hmmm…it’s been quite a while since I’ve made that recipe…I guess a weekend baking project is in order!

  6. Shoba

    Oh my these look so delectable. What a lovely dense yet decadent cake! Love your clicks and the lighting…What is the camera that you use? Its amazing!

  7. Georgia

    This sounds gorgeous and is so attractive too. The dough seems very like a brioche to me, as is the technique of leaving it to rise and firm overnight in the refrigerator, and the filling reminds me of chocolate (rather than cinnamon) buns. But the new thing to me is the syrup! So much of it! I am curious to try it out soon but may halve the recipe to stop me eating two entire loaves! 🙂

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Yes, I would agree it’s brioche like Georgia. Soft, buttery but not overly sweet. Which is why the sugar syrup is needed. Remember though, that it is divided over two, two pound loaf sized cakes, so it’s not TOO bad! I had my doubts, oh I did. But on eating it, there was no cloying sweetness. Some of the other bloggers did halve the sugar. I, well, I didn’t feel it was too much when I tasted it. And it doesn’t actually seep deeply into the cake. So in other words, it worked perfectly!

  8. Lucy

    So beautiful! My understanding is that “krantz” means “wreath” and I have only come across krantz bread in ring form before. I like the idea of a loaf tin instead and love the effect of the pattern both inside and out. Stunning photos. I wonder though if YO should have named it differently? I cannot criticise the man though as he is a culinary God! It is on my to bake list now. And it is getting shifted up to the top! I think my kids would go crazy for it like yours!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Lucy, as far as I know, there is a German cake that bears the same name, and is baked in a savarin ring so that it looks like a wreath, though it looks nothing like this. This cake also goes by the name of Babbka, which hails from Russia. This typically Jewish cake has it’s roots in Germany from as way back as the Middle Ages and has travelled East through time via the Jewish community. So, your understanding is correct by default.

      I adore YO’s creativity and his recipes, but of course, no one is, or should be immune to criticism! 😉 Your kids will lick the crumbs!!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      There is no more of an indulgent reason to make this than for the pleasure of creating something special, if only for yourself 🙂 It is indeed lovely, thank you for your kind words!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      LOL Rosaria, I follow Tara’s blog and had a chuckle when I saw that post. And subsequent searches have brought up a fair few blogs that have posted on it. So please do take that as a sign of a reliable, delicious and achievable recipe. It’s worthy of effort 🙂

  9. thespicysaffron

    Looks super super delicious, Carrie!! I love bakes that includes “bread textured cake”+”chocolate”..Yum Yum Yum!!!
    The photos are doing absolute justice to the soft, flaky, buttery, chocolaty cake…….I mean I can taste the cake while looking at the picture:) Will have to bake this one soon:)

  10. Michelle

    I have got to start cooking from that book. Which I have. I just haven’t yet gotten past the drooling over stage. Such lovely photos you took.

  11. Val McArthur

    Fantastic photography that makes me want to bite into the rich, chocolately dough NOW! I have Jerusalem and it’s a wonderful book but I haven’t made it to the sweet section yet, but I’m definitely going to bring this to the front of the queue. Thank god I haven’t given up chocolate for Lent!

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Hello Val! Thank you! The book is absolutely wonderful! I haven’t yet made too much out of it, but the fish skewers are a regular for home and when I have people over too. Not a flake left behind! And this? Oh worth the purchase of the book for this recipe alone!

  12. Thanh @ eat, little bird

    Oh my, that looks heavenly! You really do have a way with yeasted breads 🙂 I would love to get my hands on Jerusalem … I’m hoping my husband will pick up on my hints soon! And gorgeous photos as always – I love your black slate wall background.

    1. The Patterned Plate

      Thank you but I think it was pure chance! It’s incredible how the difference in chocolate temperatures affect the looks in the end. Whatever it looks like, it tastes wonderful, no?

      1. AJollyGoodEgg

        It is certainly is delicious, I love making enriched doughs. Hopefully next time I bake it, I’ll have your knack with it! It’s definitely more tricky than cinnamon buns or stollen, for example, but so worth it. I think I know what I’m baking tomorrow…

  13. Janelle

    This sounds labor-intensive (or perhaps just time- and planning-intensive), but it does also sound quite worth it. Also, I really like your writing.

  14. Hannah miller

    I, too, made this. I had to leave in oven a bit longer than recipe called for. Mine didn’t rise very much, but it really didn’t matter. Butter, sugar and chocolate compensate for everything. Your comments were perfect and the photos were, too!

  15. caroline

    I have the dough in the fridge right now. I am an avid bread baker and it was strange to me that no recipes for this cake calls to proof the yeast or add lukewarm water. I wasn’t sure when I was making the dough if that was implied so i did use lukewarm water, but I’m worried now that the yeast will not have activated. Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! thanks so much

    1. Caroline @ The Patterned Plate

      Hello Caroline. The original recipe does not call specifically for warm water. I would think the reason is that the mixed dough would have it’s first rise in the fridge overnight. I use room temperature water and it works fine every time. Consider that it will rise in the fridge, temperature being on average around 4 deg C; it just takes longer that’s all. The yeast isn’t dissolved in water to activate before hand either, and to be honest, I don’t usually do it for standard straight doughs and this one is even easier. So, I think you will be fine! At any rate, you used lukewarm water and that would only have helped things along. I would love to know how it turns out in the end. It sounds like you are an experienced yeast baker, so you know to let it take the time it needs for the second rise without being constrained by suggested times in Ottolenghi’s recipe 😉 Good luck and I would love to know how you and your bake gets on.

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