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Look beyond the sufganiyot

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ANDREA GOH PHOTO

I was lucky enough to be in Israel during Chanukah last year. Let me tell you, it was a gourmand’s heaven. There were sufganiyot in every bakery window, light and luscious, heavily dusted with both granulated sugar and icing sugar. Some were filled with lemon, some were filled with chocolate, others with raspberry or strawberry filling. I tried them all!! Even the ones they offered on the El Al flight to Tel Aviv.

Of course, the reason we all indulge in these marvellous doughnuts every Chanukah is because they’re fried in oil, and it’s our delightful obligation to consume foods either fried or made with oil to commemorate the miracle of Chanukah. So, it got me thinking. Why not expand the dessert horizons at this time of year? Why stop at sufganiyot? There’s a large variety of wonderful desserts that have olive oil as their base, without the need for frying.

Lemon bundt cake

It’s best to use a mild olive oil for this. Any bundt cake pan will do for this, even those with fluted edges. Just make sure to grease the pan well.

o 1/3 cup olive oil
o 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
o 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
o 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
o 3 large eggs, at room temperature
o 1 cup soy milk, at room temperature
o 3 cups all-purpose flour
o 1 tsp. baking powder
o 1/2 tsp. baking soda
o 1/4 tsp. salt

Glaze:
o 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
o 2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 12-in. bundt pan; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In another bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar until very well combined. Whisk in the lemon zest and lemon juice. One at a time, whisk in the eggs, whisking vigorously after each addition. Whisk in the milk.

Pour the wet ingredients over the flour mixture, whisking until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan.

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven until the top springs back when lightly pressed, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely.

Glaze: Whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice until it’s thick but still pourable, adding up to 1 more tablespoon juice if required. Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake. Serve at room temperature. Makes 12 servings.

BETSY WEBER PHOTO

Chocolate cake

With dark chocolate glaze and hazelnut crunch
Because it’s quite rich, a small piece of this cake goes a long way. You can also omit the hazelnut crunch and substitute it with small meringue buttons, lightly coated with cocoa powder.

Cake:
o 1 cup soy milk, at room temperature
o 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
o 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
o 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
o 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
o 2 tsp. baking soda
o 1 tsp. baking powder
o 1/2 tsp. salt
o 1/2 cup olive oil
o 2 large eggs, at room temperature
o 1 cup brewed hot strong coffee
o 1 tbsp. vanilla

Hazelnut Crunch:
o 1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted
o 2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
o 2 tbsp. margarine
o 2 1/2 cups toasted rice cereal

Glaze:
o 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
o 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
o 2 tbsp. cornstarch
o 2/3 cup soy milk
o 1/3 cup corn syrup
o 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13 in. x 9-in. rectangular baking pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.

Combine the soy milk and lemon juice and let sit at room temperature for at least 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, coffee and vanilla. Whisk in the thickened soy milk. Pour this mixture over the flour mixture, whisking until well combined and no lumps of dried ingredients remain. Pour into the prepared pan.

Bake in the centre of the preheated oven until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack.

Crunch: Place the margarine and chocolate in a small bowl set over a pan of hot, not boiling water. Let cook, until melted thoroughly and smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in the hazelnuts and then the rice cereal. Spread the mixture out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes. Break into small pieces. (Make ahead: Crunch can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours).

Glaze: Combine cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Whisk in the milk until thoroughly blended. Whisk in the corn syrup and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, until thickened and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes.
Transfer cake from pan to serving platter, removing parchment paper. Pour glaze over top of cake, coating sides lightly. Sprinkle crunch evenly around edge of cake. Makes 16-20 servings.