Shmoo Cake - Irresistible and Iconic Canadian Dessert. Completely redesigned recipe

Shmoo Cake - Irresistible and Iconic Canadian Dessert. Completely redesigned recipe

Toasted pecan sponge cake, layered with whipped cream frosting and drizzled with salted butterscotch sauce. Wow. This cake is rich, flavourful, delicious and absolutely irresistible.

It comes form Winnipeg, Manitoba and the story has it that it was created by a mother for her son’s Bar Mitzvah. It’s a very popular dessert of choice for special occasions (weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, etc.) in Winnipeg and could also be purchased in many local restaurants as well.

This cake can be made using a sponge cake or an angel food cake layers.

I decided to, however, completely redesign this cake and make a more tropical variation. The cake is lovely and rich, however, when it comes to flavour – it falls a little flat, in my opinion. The cake is very very sweet with no acidity to balance the sweetness, a lot of buttery taste in every component and the flavour is very one dimensional. I feel packing some flavour into the cake, as well as adding some acidity to balance the incredible sweetness would greatly benefit this recipe. Next comes the texture. I noticed a lot of trendy Winnipeg restaurants changed up their Shmoo recipe and now make it using a chiffon cake with no pecans in the cake layers. That’s what I’m thinking exactly! I don’t see much benefit in folding so many pecans into the batter – it makes it a bit grainy, a bit dry, slightly deflated; at the same time – pecans don’t have too much flavour, so all of these textural issues are created with not much benefit. As such, I’m making a chiffon cake with no pecans folded into it.

If you are not into my tropical take, feel free to follow the original Shmoo cake recipe. The recipe here seems to be true to the original Shmoo torte.

Delicious! How about some fruit macerated in some sugar and rum to serve alongside?!

The butterscotch sauce is traditionally drizzled over each slice and also served on the side. So if you wish, you can leave your cake simply iced with whipped cream for a simple and elegant look

Yields12 Servings

For the cake:
 2 cups cake flour, spooned into the cup measure
 1 tbsp baking powder
 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
 ½ cup cold water, or ideally - unflavoured carbonated water
 ¼ cup lime juice
 7 eggs, separated
 ½ cup neutral oil
 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
 ½ tsp salt (fine salt)
 zest of 3 limes
 2 tsp vanilla
 ½ tsp almond extract, optional
 6 tbsp shredded coconut, optional
Icing:
 4 cups whipping cream
 6 tbsp granulated sugar
 2 tsp vanilla
 pinch of salt
Caramel:
 ½ cup butter (1 stick)
 1 cup dark brown sugar
 1 cup whipping cream
 1 tsp vanilla
 ¾ tsp fleur de sel (or other coarse salt)
Garnish:
 ½ cup chopped toasted pecans, optional, see note
 whole toasted pecans for garnishing the top of the cake (around 12)
 fresh fruit of choice, to serve along the cake
 additional shredded coconut or coconut flakes, optional

1

Preheat the oven to 325. Make sure your 10 inch angel food tube pan is totally clean. Do not grease or line it in any way.

When the oven is preheated, lay your pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes until darkened and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2

When you separate your egg yolks and egg whites, please note, that if your egg yolk breaks and makes it into your whites - they will not whip up properly and the cake will not turn out. For this reason, I suggest separating each egg over a small bowl then transferring it to separate yolks and whites bowls. If your egg yolk happens to break and leak - do not use it. Reserve it for an omelet or another use.

Measuring the flour correctly is very important. Spoon the flour into the cup measure and shave off the excess flour with a butter knife without compressing it into the cup measure. Flour is very compactable, so if you simply scoop it out of the bag and not spoon it in, you will end up getting a lot more flour than needed and turning this delicate cake into a dense one. So do not skip this extra step.

3

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the middle, add lime zest, lime juice, water, oil, coconut, half of the sugar (3/4 cup) egg yolks and the extracts. Whisk the liquid components together gently with a fork, then combine it with the flour. Fit a whisk attachment to the mixer and beat this on medium-low for a minute or so, then increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is perfectly smooth. Set this mixture aside.

4

If you have another stand mixer bowl proceed to the next step. However, if you don't, transfer the egg yolk mixture to another bowl. Wash the whisk attachment and the stand mixer bowl in hot soapy water. Be sure to wash it really well so no trace of oil remains or your egg whites will not whip properly. Dry well.

5

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat it on medium until foamy. Increase the speed to high and with the mixer running, very slowly start adding the remaining half of the sugar (3/4 cup) in a slow but steady stream. Keep whipping until egg whites form stiff peaks. However, it's important not to overbeat them. Make sure your egg whites are still very glossy. Stop as soon as the firm peaks are reached.

6

Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolks; this will lighten the batter and make it easier to fold in the rest. There are a few techniques to do so - using a rubber spatula and gently scraping the bottom of the bowl and folding it over the egg whites; or you can use the stand mixer whisk attachment; I prefer using the rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Only fold until uniform in colour and combined; do not fold any more than necessary. Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan.

7

Bake in preheated oven for about 55-60 minutes. The cake should be nice and golden, firm to touch and spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Look for the internal temperature of 206 measured with an instant read digital thermometer. Remove from the oven. If your pan has legs, open them up and place the cake upside down to cook (this will take about 2 hours.) If your pan doesn't have legs, find 3 cans (beans, tomatoes, whatever) and prop up the pan upside down over the cans.

Icing:
8

Place all of the icing ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip. When the icing is thickened but does not yet hold stiff peaks, taste it. If you wish, add more sugar at this point. Continue whipping for about 4 minutes to stiff peaks (but stop beating as soon as stiff peaks are reached as you are not making butter here!)

Cake assembly:
9

Gently run a butter knife between the cake and the pan. Using an offset spatula gently try to loosen the cake from the bottom as well. Gently remove the cake from the pan. Slice your cake horizontally into 3 layers. Ice each layer with 25% of the icing. You are looking to make the icing layer 1/2-3/4" inch thick. You should have icing left for garnish.

If using 1/2 cup chopped pecans, sprinkle 1/4 cup over the first layer and 1/4 cup over the second layer. Ice the top and sides of the cake with leftover icing and garnish with whole pecans. Sprinkle shredded coconut, if desired.

10

Drizzle the cake with he butterscotch sauce. Be sure to also drizzle each individual slice with some additional butterscotch sauce, or serve some butterscotch sauce on the side with each slice. Refrigerate the cake for 4 hours. But no more than 8 hours. The leftovers will still store in the fridge for a couple of days, however, the best texture is when the cake is refrigerated between 4 and 8 hours.

For the butterscoth sauce:
11

Your sauce will foam and bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a medium pan and not a small one.

Add butter and sugar and heat on medium heat, swirling the pan and infrequently stirring the sauce with a rubber spatula, around 3 minutes. The sauce should become quite smooth and fluid and no longer look grainy. In other words, you are looking to ensure the sugar has dissolved.

Add cream and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir constantly with a heat resistant spatula and cook for 7-8 minutes until the temperate of the caramel reaches 225. After a minute of cooking, turn your heat up back to medium heat.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and heaping 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes as the sauce will be extremely hot. Taste it and see if you wish to add a bit more salt. Salt brings an interesting dimension to this sauce, so don't be afraid to add more.

If this sauce separates, warm it up in a sauce pan and whisk until smooth.

Notes:
12

Know your audience. If you have a lot of kids who don't like nuts, skip the optional 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

The almond extract will give this cake a nice and interesting flavour, however, your cake will still taste delicious without it.

Same applies to the shredded coconut - if you enjoy its flavour and have some on hand, go ahead and add it. If you don't, feel free to skip it.

Consider adding some fruit as you serve the cake. It will provide a nice balance to this rich cake.

Ingredients

For the cake:
 2 cups cake flour, spooned into the cup measure
 1 tbsp baking powder
 1 ½ tsp cream of tartar
 ½ cup cold water, or ideally - unflavoured carbonated water
 ¼ cup lime juice
 7 eggs, separated
 ½ cup neutral oil
 1 ½ cups sugar, divided
 ½ tsp salt (fine salt)
 zest of 3 limes
 2 tsp vanilla
 ½ tsp almond extract, optional
 6 tbsp shredded coconut, optional
Icing:
 4 cups whipping cream
 6 tbsp granulated sugar
 2 tsp vanilla
 pinch of salt
Caramel:
 ½ cup butter (1 stick)
 1 cup dark brown sugar
 1 cup whipping cream
 1 tsp vanilla
 ¾ tsp fleur de sel (or other coarse salt)
Garnish:
 ½ cup chopped toasted pecans, optional, see note
 whole toasted pecans for garnishing the top of the cake (around 12)
 fresh fruit of choice, to serve along the cake
 additional shredded coconut or coconut flakes, optional

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 325. Make sure your 10 inch angel food tube pan is totally clean. Do not grease or line it in any way.

When the oven is preheated, lay your pecans on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes until darkened and fragrant. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2

When you separate your egg yolks and egg whites, please note, that if your egg yolk breaks and makes it into your whites - they will not whip up properly and the cake will not turn out. For this reason, I suggest separating each egg over a small bowl then transferring it to separate yolks and whites bowls. If your egg yolk happens to break and leak - do not use it. Reserve it for an omelet or another use.

Measuring the flour correctly is very important. Spoon the flour into the cup measure and shave off the excess flour with a butter knife without compressing it into the cup measure. Flour is very compactable, so if you simply scoop it out of the bag and not spoon it in, you will end up getting a lot more flour than needed and turning this delicate cake into a dense one. So do not skip this extra step.

3

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl of a stand mixer. Make a well in the middle, add lime zest, lime juice, water, oil, coconut, half of the sugar (3/4 cup) egg yolks and the extracts. Whisk the liquid components together gently with a fork, then combine it with the flour. Fit a whisk attachment to the mixer and beat this on medium-low for a minute or so, then increase the speed to high and beat for 2 minutes, until the batter is perfectly smooth. Set this mixture aside.

4

If you have another stand mixer bowl proceed to the next step. However, if you don't, transfer the egg yolk mixture to another bowl. Wash the whisk attachment and the stand mixer bowl in hot soapy water. Be sure to wash it really well so no trace of oil remains or your egg whites will not whip properly. Dry well.

5

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat it on medium until foamy. Increase the speed to high and with the mixer running, very slowly start adding the remaining half of the sugar (3/4 cup) in a slow but steady stream. Keep whipping until egg whites form stiff peaks. However, it's important not to overbeat them. Make sure your egg whites are still very glossy. Stop as soon as the firm peaks are reached.

6

Gently fold 1/3 of the whipped egg whites into the egg yolks; this will lighten the batter and make it easier to fold in the rest. There are a few techniques to do so - using a rubber spatula and gently scraping the bottom of the bowl and folding it over the egg whites; or you can use the stand mixer whisk attachment; I prefer using the rubber spatula. Fold in the rest of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Only fold until uniform in colour and combined; do not fold any more than necessary. Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan.

7

Bake in preheated oven for about 55-60 minutes. The cake should be nice and golden, firm to touch and spring back when gently pressed in the centre. Look for the internal temperature of 206 measured with an instant read digital thermometer. Remove from the oven. If your pan has legs, open them up and place the cake upside down to cook (this will take about 2 hours.) If your pan doesn't have legs, find 3 cans (beans, tomatoes, whatever) and prop up the pan upside down over the cans.

Icing:
8

Place all of the icing ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip. When the icing is thickened but does not yet hold stiff peaks, taste it. If you wish, add more sugar at this point. Continue whipping for about 4 minutes to stiff peaks (but stop beating as soon as stiff peaks are reached as you are not making butter here!)

Cake assembly:
9

Gently run a butter knife between the cake and the pan. Using an offset spatula gently try to loosen the cake from the bottom as well. Gently remove the cake from the pan. Slice your cake horizontally into 3 layers. Ice each layer with 25% of the icing. You are looking to make the icing layer 1/2-3/4" inch thick. You should have icing left for garnish.

If using 1/2 cup chopped pecans, sprinkle 1/4 cup over the first layer and 1/4 cup over the second layer. Ice the top and sides of the cake with leftover icing and garnish with whole pecans. Sprinkle shredded coconut, if desired.

10

Drizzle the cake with he butterscotch sauce. Be sure to also drizzle each individual slice with some additional butterscotch sauce, or serve some butterscotch sauce on the side with each slice. Refrigerate the cake for 4 hours. But no more than 8 hours. The leftovers will still store in the fridge for a couple of days, however, the best texture is when the cake is refrigerated between 4 and 8 hours.

For the butterscoth sauce:
11

Your sauce will foam and bubble up quite a bit, so be sure to use a medium pan and not a small one.

Add butter and sugar and heat on medium heat, swirling the pan and infrequently stirring the sauce with a rubber spatula, around 3 minutes. The sauce should become quite smooth and fluid and no longer look grainy. In other words, you are looking to ensure the sugar has dissolved.

Add cream and reduce the heat to medium low. Stir constantly with a heat resistant spatula and cook for 7-8 minutes until the temperate of the caramel reaches 225. After a minute of cooking, turn your heat up back to medium heat.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and heaping 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes as the sauce will be extremely hot. Taste it and see if you wish to add a bit more salt. Salt brings an interesting dimension to this sauce, so don't be afraid to add more.

If this sauce separates, warm it up in a sauce pan and whisk until smooth.

Notes:
12

Know your audience. If you have a lot of kids who don't like nuts, skip the optional 1/2 cup of chopped pecans.

The almond extract will give this cake a nice and interesting flavour, however, your cake will still taste delicious without it.

Same applies to the shredded coconut - if you enjoy its flavour and have some on hand, go ahead and add it. If you don't, feel free to skip it.

Consider adding some fruit as you serve the cake. It will provide a nice balance to this rich cake.

Schmoo Torte

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