Like many traditional Hungarian recipes, this unusual cake evolved from ‘poor man’s food’. You can make it from scratch, or you can make it from leftover rice pudding.
My Mum always made it from leftovers because she made rice pudding as often as English speakers would make oat porridge. The only difference was that we would have rice pudding as a dessert, with lots of cinnamon and sugar, after a simple main course such as chicken soup.
The cake itself can be heavy or light, depending on how many eggs you use. The version I made the other night was very light, but so delicious with its slightly granular texture that The Daughter and I had it for dessert, breakfast, lunch and snacks in-between. I know, mea culpa, but at least I didn’t make chocolate sauce to go with it. That would have been really naughty.
Few of Mum’s recipes were measured [she was a pantster before they had a name for it] but I looked online for some quantities and I will give those for the rice pudding. If you want to try this ‘porridge’ on its own first, just add a bit more of everything except the sugar.
1. Pour 1 cup of water into a medium sized pot. Add one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla essence. Bring this light syrup to the boil until the sugar has completely dissolved.
[The reason I start the cooking with a water syrup instead of milk is that milk can easily boil over, and I hate having to clean up the mess].
2. Add one cup of long grain rice, stir, cover and let the rice simmer until it has absorbed most of the syrup.
3. When the rice is half cooked [and the syrup is almost gone] add one cup of milk, stir and let it continue simmering. The rice has to be fluffy and not at all crunchy so add more milk until it is the right texture, and has a nice porridgy consistency.
4. Serve with a liberal sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar. Allow the leftovers to cool in the fridge.
Rice pudding cake
If you are making this cake all in one hit, you MUST allow the rice pudding to cool completely. Warm rice pudding will give you sweet scrambled eggs with rice.
1. Preheat oven to 180 C [or 350 F]. [If you use fan bake, lower that temperature a little].
2. Lightly grease a kuglof tin
or a ringform tin. Dust the inside of the tin with flour. Shake out the excess.
3. Separate 4 eggs into two mixing bowls.
4. Using an electric mixer, whip the whites until firm peaks have formed. Set aside in a cool place [not fridge].
5. Using the same beaters, cream the yolks with 4 tablespoons of caster sugar and 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla essence.
6. Measure 3 cups of cold rice pudding into a large mixing bowl. [It's not necessary to pack the rice in tightly].
7. Stir the creamed egg yolks into the rice pudding.
8. Gently stir 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the rice pudding.
9. FOLD the remaining 2/3 of the egg white into the cake batter. [Don't be too worried by a few white lumps].
10. Pour the cake batter into whichever type of tin you are using, and place in the centre of the pre-heated oven.
Cooking time will vary but expect it to take between 45 minutes to an hour. Do not open the oven during the first 1/2 an hour of baking. The cake will rise like a souffle, and then it will slowly deflate. It will be done when :
a) It is a rich, golden brown and has pulled away slightly from the sides of the tin,
b) A skewer pushed into the centre comes out moist but not gooey. This cake will never be completely ‘dry’ so the skewer test is just for peace of mind.
Once the cake is done, leave it in the tin and allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes. You should be able to touch the outside of the cake tin without going ‘ouch’.
Use a plastic spatula to completely loosen the cake from the tin. Give the tin a little shake. If the cake jumps around a bit it’s ready to be decanted.
Place a serving plate over the tin and flip the whole thing so the top of the cake ends up sitting on the plate. Dust the cake with icing sugar and serve plain or with :
- plum jam and whipped cream, [the picture shows apricot jam so suit yourself]
- a warm chocolate sauce. [And no, sorry, not giving you that recipe because you'll get fat! I do have a conscience you know].