This cake is a bit different from the ones I usually bake as it needs pre-planning and patience. The later is not really one of my strengths, but they do say ‘good things come to those who wait’. This cake is similar to one of my favourites to order in a German café, the classic Käsesahnetorte. It’s creamy and zesty at the same time and you can use any seasonal fruit you fancy – or none at all. You can also ramp the calorie count up or down depending on what kind of yogurt and cream cheese you use.
The most important bit: You need at least 5 hours to chill the cake in your fridge, so you better get up early and get cracking if you want to eat it in the afternoon. Alternatively, make it in the evening and in the fridge overnight.
Preheat the oven to 160C (150C if it is a fan oven)
For the sponge layer you’ll need:
- 200 g flour
- 1 tsp backing powder
- 125 g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla sugar
- 3 eggs
- 100 g unsalted butter, very soft
- 100 ml milk
Place the flour and baking powder in a large bowl. In a second bowl mix all the other ingredients together with the hand mixer on high until you get a frothy mixture. Add this to the flour with the hand mixer set on slow/medium.
Fill the mix into a greased round baking tin (25cm) and bake for 30 minutes.
Once it comes out of the oven put the sponge on a cooling rack.
For the filling you’ll need:
- 500 g yogurt (fat content is up to you. I used a full fat Greek yogurt)
- 200 g cream cheese (I used a half fat variety)
- 200 ml whipping cream
Enough gelatin, or the vegetarian equivalent, to set a litre (roughly 2 pints) of fluid. I used two packs of Dr. Oetker ground gelatin.
75 g sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla sugar, the one I used is made with Bourbon vanilla (I also scraped out the core of half a vanilla pod, because, as Canadian Band Barenaked Ladies once said, “vanilla is the finest of the flavours”)
1 lemon, zest and juice
Mix the yogurt with the cream cheese, Whip the cream and fold into the yogurt mixture. Prepare the gelatin as instructed and add as well. Lastly mix in the sugar, vanilla sugar and lemon juice and zest.
Put the sponge bottom back into the baking tin and fill it with the yogurt mixture. Put it in the fridge and do something else for the next five hours. Do not be impatient, it really does need that long to set.
Now you can decorate the cake with your favourite fruit and berries, with a pattern or not – totally up to you. Just be careful with pineapple and kiwi fruit, as the enzymes in those will interact with the gelatin and soften it and also make the fruit taste bitter. If you want more fruit, add another layer on top of the sponge before adding the yogurt mix. I like this variation when I use just one kind of fruit, for example just strawberries or clementines.
I would have normally finished the cake with Tortenguss, a German cake glaze, but I didn’t have any in the house, the English supermarkets didn’t stock it and it was too late to get it from the German Deli in Borough Market, so I decided to make a glaze with arrowroot powder. It did not work as well as Tortenguss, so that’s what I’ll be using again next time – or nothing at all.
If you have leftovers, put the cake in the fridge, it does keep well for a day or even two.