Croatian Hrapoćuša Cake, from Brač Island

Excited to share this recipe! It combines my love of baking with my full-time job as a travel specialist with Adventures Croatia! I love Croatia and all of its culinary delights, but their traditional food is so amazing, happy to include this in my blog.

I hope you love Walnuts!

My favorite aspect of this cake is the almost 5 cups of walnuts it uses! I could eat the walnut praline just by itself. The 2 separate elements that make up this cake are worth the effort, and you can make the cake ahead of any special dinners and freeze.

Coming from Croatia’s island of Brač, this dense hrapoćuša cake is loaded with sticky walnuts and hints of lemon. Hrapoćuša is included on the Croatian Republic’s Ministry of Culture’s list of protected cultural heritage, and it is DELICIOUS!

Hrapoćuša; Traditional Walnut Cake from Brač Island

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours

Category: Dessert, Baking, Baking from Scratch,

Cuisine: Croatian, Tradtional Croatian Dessert, Brac Island

Servings: 16 slices

Hrapoćuša; Traditional Walnut Cake from Brač Island

Ingredients

  • For the Cake:
  • 5 whole eggs
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 and 3/4 cups white sugar (350 g)
  • 2 and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (250 g)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, finely chopped (100 g)
  • For the Walnut Praline topping:
  • 9 egg whites
  • 3 and 1/4 cup white sugar (650 g)
  • 4 and 2/3 cups walnut halves (700 g)
  • Juice of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Line the base of a 10 inch (25 cm) springform pan with baking paper, then lightly spray or grease the sides with oil
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
  3. In a stand mixer with a wire whisk attachment (or by hand) whisk the 5 whole eggs and 9 egg yolks, vanilla, lemon zest and sugar until foamy but not stiff. Remove from stand mixer, and gently whisk by hand the flour, baking powder and ground walnuts into the wet ingredients. Mix only until dry ingredients are just barely incorporated, (do not overmix) then pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Depending on your pan size, do not fill the pan more than 1/2 to 2/3 full. The cake will rise slightly, and you’ll need room for the walnut praline topping.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until just baked, test with a knife or skewer. It should come out fairly clean, and you should be able to touch the cake lightly (carefully!) without leaving an indention. Do not overbake!
  5. While the cake is in the oven, work quickly to create the praline topping.
  6. Put 9 egg whites and sugar into a large saucepan, and mix until sugar is incorporated. Add all of the walnut halves into the saucepan, stir to coat.
  7. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 15 minutes until it’s slightly thicker and a light golden brown.
  8. Add the lemon juice and keep stirring for another further 5 or 6 minutes.
  9. Turn off the heat and set aside.
  10. When the bottom layer of the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 320°F (150°C).
  11. Pour the still-hot walnut praline mixture over the cake that just came out of the oven, spreading it evenly and gently over the top.
  12. Put the pan back into the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes until the top is light brown.
  13. Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before removing from the pan.
  14. Run a sharp paring knife around the edges of the springform so nothing sticks, pop the spring, and voila! Ready for cutting and serving!

Notes

The cake is delicious at room temperature and will keep for about 5 – 7 days, but it is best to refrigerate. I recommend microwaving each slice for 10 – 15 seconds prior to serving, goes great with a cup of tea or coffee! ENJOY!

You can make ahead and freeze, and defrost for when you need it, too.

https://mimijkent.com/2019/09/11/croatian-hrapocusa-cake-from-brac-island/

Learning the science of Bread making

I’ve been avoiding making bread from scratch, and at this point, I’ve officially made bread twice in my life. It was always a bit of a mystery, seemed really daunting, time-consuming and a wee bit scary….and I thought for sure it would be really easy to mess up.

Thankfully, with a little bit of learning and a lot of watching my favorite show, The Great British Bake Off, as well as watching their “Masterclasses” and reading as many tips from Paul Hollywood himself from his book “How to Bake”…I’m not nearly as afraid of bread as I was.

I’m still a total novice, but at least I can say I’ve successfully made two loaves and some rolls, and not only were they edible, but they were also really tasty!

I’m sure I’ll have some bad results when I try some more difficult types of bread, but for now, I’m going to pat myself on the back for being able to follow instructions! I’m still on a quest to bake every recipe from the “Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking” cookbook, so the Poppyseed White Bloomer is a good one to try at first, and start to get my kneading muscles stronger!

Here are a few things to remember:

  1. Read the recipe! There are hints, tips, and tricks in the GBBO cookbook, so reading those are really helpful, but the recipe itself has pretty specific instructions. Follow them.
  2. Get a thermometer, and keep the liquid at exactly the right temperature.
  3. Do not be afraid to get your hands in there. Machines are for speed, your hands are for getting the feel of the dough. Get them in there!
  4. Love the dough. Love the process.
  5. Use a good timer. I have two, and you will need them for the different bake times, and proving times.
  6. for a nice crust, I used a big roasting pan on the bottom rack and tossed a cup of cold water into it when I put the loaves into the oven, which steamed up my kitchen but also created a really nice crunch!
  7. And lastly, ENJOY the time and effort. It is so satisfying to eat the fruits of your labor!