Friday, November 09, 2018


Bar desserts have been around for a long time, and they are irreplaceable when it comes to catered events, or even casual weekend picnics, as they are incredibly easy to transport and serve. Even more so if serving little ones who are very prone to making their little hands and faces messy with desserts.
These old-fashioned cake bars are just the right combination of sweet and tangy, topped with a thin, crunchy layer of dark chocolate. A feast for all senses.
The gorgeous sponge cake is paired with lemon purée, honey, and vanilla bean paste, creating a unique style of frosting, typical for olden desserts. You can even embellish the frosting with a splash of Limoncello, if you so desire. Chill the bars well, then serve them with lemonade or strong coffee.

For the cake
3 medium eggs
100 grams light brown sugar
50 grams granulated sugar
200 grams sour cream
150 ml vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
125 grams plain flour
25 grams cornflour
3 teaspoons baking powder
For the topping
100 grams granulated sugar
100 ml cold water
2 medium lemons
30 grams thick honey
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the glaze
100 grams dark chocolate

Place the eggs into a large bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on high, for about 2 minutes, until they start thickening up. Add in the light brown sugar, as well as the granulated sugar, and continue whisking on high until the sugar has dissolved, and the batter is fluffy, pale, and thick. Add in the sour cream, vanilla, and the oil, and blend well on low speed. Finally, sift in the flour and the baking powder, and blend well on low speed.
Line a square baking tray (20x20 cm) with baking parchment, pour in and level the batter, then bake in a preheated oven, at 180˚C, for about 20-25 minutes. Check the cake with a skewer or a toothpick, to make sure it doesn’t stay undercooked in the centre. The top will brown considerably, but that is to be expected. Let the cake cool down completely, then split it in half, as you would for a sandwich cake. Return one cake layer to the tin, and reserve the other.
For the topping, peel the lemons entirely, removing all the seeds and membranes. You can segment them, but it is not mandatory. Blend them into a puree, then reserve. Add the sugar to a heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour in the water, and place the saucepan over high heat. Let the syrup come to a boil, then let it cook, still on high heat, without stirring, for 3 minutes. It will reduce, but it shouldn’t change colour. Remove from the heat and let it cool down slightly.
Take a large bowl, and crumble in the reserved cake layer. It does not have to be finely crumbled. Add in the lemon puree, sugar syrup, honey, and vanilla, and blend it with an electric mixer on medium speed until it becomes uniform and relatively smooth. Carefully spread this topping over the cake layer in the tin, level it as much as you can, then place it in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
For the chocolate glaze, melt the chocolate in a double boiler, remove the cake from refrigerator, quickly glaze it and tap the tin on the counter so it settles nicely, then return it to the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Serve well chilled. Yields 9 servings.