Aside from challah, I haven't baked in ages. I've been working very hard at keeping everyone here relatively wheat free and since no one in this family really likes nut flour or coconut flour treats, I don't even bother. If we need a quick sweet fix, we usually just have a handful of chocolate chips.
But Rosh Hashana is coming very soon and we are hosting for all three lunches and I can't really serve chocolate chips to my guests as a dessert - although now that I said that out loud to myself, the truth is, if someone served me chocolate chips for dessert, I'd be thrilled. That, however, might be a function of the someone else serving dessert, rather than the actual dessert itself. I have to think about that.
Anyway, last night I baked. I baked an apple crumb cake and a vanilla bundt cake with an orange glaze and all I can say is that I really think I've lost my touch. Maybe baking isn't like riding a bike, maybe it really is like some other skill that you can lose when you don't use it but I can't think of what that skill might be right now. I'm sorry, that analogy just went nowhere. Which is where my baking is going. Both cakes, I think, came out dry. I can't tell because I don't eat wheat so I can't taste them but they look dry to me. The only thing to do was to blame the oven. Obviously. I even went as far as to ask Josh which repair guy to call, at which point he made nice to my shoulder and said shhhhhh, it's going to be okay.
But today was a brand new day. The sun was shining and it was as hot as ever here in Florida.
I started off slowly, making challah for shabbos. I needed the ego boost. When I saw that the dough was actually rising, I moved on. My kids have been kvetching for kokosh cake. They've never before had the yumminess that is kokosh cake but they heard about it in school from the kids of a mommy who bakes professionally - and they heard it was good.
I could have taken the easy way out and just bought from her. But no, my challah dough was rising so of course, I should be able to make kokosh cake. A yeast cake. A cake that needs a rolling pin. What was I thinking. After an hour of the cake dough not rising, I'll tell you what I was thinking - I was thinking bad words.
But in the end, it all seems to have come together. Or not. Cause again, I didn't taste it. But the kids did and they seemed to like it. Two of them asked for seconds, which is always a good sign.
The dough was quite large - and I had already halved the recipe so I can't even imagine how many cakes I would have wound up with had I gone with the original recipe.
Two reasons that I halved the recipe - one, I have this theory that if it's a huge recipe and I haven't made it before, then making the whole thing will yield just "eh" results. But if I halve it, it will turn out to be great and there won't enough because it's so good and I'll be all like, oh, why didn't I make the whole thing?! It usually works. Josh isn't home yet to test it out, but I think my theory will stand. And second, 11-12 cups of flour made me nervous. It's in that gray area of whether or not I would have to take challah with a bracha and I don't like gray areas. Plus, I don' trust my kitchen aid to handle 12 cups of flour in one shot and I certainly was not mixing this twice.
Anyway, one kokosh is shaped like a log and was baked on a cookie sheet.
Kokosh cake number two was shaped like a log and then twisted around to form a babka - and baked in a loaf pan. (I seriously just had to google "banana bread pan" because I couldn't remember the word "loaf pan").
And kokosh cake number three never made it into cake form. I rolled the dough out into two circle and was able to make 24 rugelach out of it, which is what the kids tasted.
I meant to sprinkle some confectionery sugar on the cakes while they were still hot, but I forgot. You might want to make note of that though.
Before I share the recipe, I have to tell you - there's a thing, there's always a thing. I like to give credit where credit is due, but I don't know who originally shared this recipe. I found it by googling "Green's kokosh cake". If you grew up in Brooklyn, I'd place money on the fact that you have had a Green's kokosh cake, possibly finishing one all by yourself. Don't be ashamed, they're delicious
So two things- one, this is NOT anywhere close to a Green's kokosh cake so don't get angry at me when you make it and it tastes different. And second, the first hit on google took me to this website that I do not frequent called Imamother.com. I first came across this site years ago and really, what's the name of it - is it I'm A Mother? Or Ima Mother, like mommy in Hebrew and English? I can't get all worked up about this right now, so I'm going to move on.
Here's the full recipe for the kokosh cake - again, I halved it. And also, I didn't change the recipe, but I did turn it into working English because that seems to be a problem that website has as well and the editor in me is physically pained by reading anything posted there - and yet, they seem to have good recipes so clicking through there turns into a whole dilemma. But, really, I can't get involved.
2 oz. Yeast
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. warm water
1 tsp. vanilla sugar
1 c. orange juice
2 c. oil
3 lbs. Flour (around 11-12 cups of flour)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 c. icing sugar
3/4 c. oil
1 1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. warm water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Proof the yeast in a standing mixer's bowl with 1/4 c. of the sugar and water and wait for ten minutes, until the yeast bubbles.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl and using the dough hook, knead for five minutes. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to double in size, about one hour.
One the dough has doubled in size, lightly flour your workspace and divide the dough into 6 sections.
One at a time, roll each section out using a rolling pin. (The recipe did not indicate what shape or size to roll the dough into - I rolled it into a long rectangle).
Spoon 1/6 of the filling onto the dough and spread it around, leaving about an inch on one side free of filling. That edge is going to be your starting point for rolling the dough so choose carefully.
Roll up the dough, jelly roll style and tuck the edges under or else the chocolate will explode out the sides in the oven. Trust me on this one. My oven could use a good scrub with some baking soda and vinegar right about now.
The original recipe said to put three cakes each on two greased 11"x17" pans. I don't know what that is so I just used a cookie sheet. You can use whatever pan you like. Own this.
Again, the original recipe says to bake for 50 minutes but if I would have let them go that long, I would have ended up with nothing resembling a cake. My largest one was done at 30 minutes and I think even that was too long.
I'm hoping these freeze well because I froze two of them.
I still haven't made a Rosh Hashana menu. But at least we have some dried out cake and I have some ice cream in the freezer so we should be okay. I'm not worrying about all the company right now.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)