I saw the message on Wednesday morning, just after I had put the baby down for a nap.
We'd love to come for a visit...sometime after lunch?
My in-laws. I'd forgotten they had the week off and planned to come to Bern.
I instinctively ran to the kitchen and pulled some butter out of the fridge.
Must. Bake. Cake.
And that's what a Hauscake is for. It isn't fancy, but it's yummy and it fills your house with that 'I baked just for you' smell.
The recipe comes from the classic Swiss Home Ec textbook, Tip Topf and is incredibly adaptable. Basically, whatever you have in your cupboards can be added to the cake. I had a jar of sour cherries and a bar of dark chocolate, which were perfect additions.
"Mhm, sehr fein," said my mother-in-law.
As an aside, I recently discovered that Tip Topf is called Croqu'Menu in French, and Cosa Bolle in Pentola? in Italian (which directly translates as What Bubbles in the Pot? but basically means What's Cooking?). A Home Ec teacher in Laax, deep in Romansch-speaking part of Switzerland, has even made a version in the fourth national language called Mintgin Cuschin. Cuschin seems to mean kitchen or cuisine, but I have no idea what Mintgin means. Perhaps another clever title.
A shout out to my cousin Christoph—I have his old Tip Topf from his school days (not actually sure if this is with or without his explicit knowledge or permission...) and I smile every time I see his Megadeath doodle on the inside cover.
125 g butter, soft
125 g sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla paste or extract
250 g flour
1 tbsp baking powder
100 g ground nuts, toasted
150 ml milk
100 g sour cherries
150 g dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 180 C / 350 F / gas mark 4.
Butter a 25 cm (9 inch) springform pan.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together until fluffy.
In a measuring cup, whisk together the eggs.
Add the eggs to the butter mixture and beat well.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and ground nuts.
Alternately stir in the flour and milk to the butter mixture.
Stir in the additions.
Scrape into prepared pan.
Bake for about 45 minutes.
- Instead of cherries, use dried fruit (apricots, raisins, prunes etc.) soaked in booze.
- Use milk or white chocolate instead of dark.
- Add lemon or orange zest, a shot of coffee, or a shot of booze.
- You can also add nothing and have this cake plain.
Do you need room temperature butter and eggs, but yours are direct from the fridge?
Here's what you can do:
Fill your sink with hot water.
Break your butter into small pieces and put it in a bowl (stainless steel, glass, or ceramic work best) then pop this into the sink.
Put the eggs directly into the hot water in the sink.
Stir and mash the butter occasionally until it softens (it's ok if some melts).
Eventually it will warm up and be a good consistency for beating. You may have to refill the sink with hot water.