Originally trained as a confectioner, Judit Horvath from Judit Bakes, is a Hungarian baking blogger and recipe writer. When designing her cakes, Judit often gains inspiration from her native folk art that is rich in traditions and flavours. The nougatine cake is a traditional wedding dessert in Hungary often referred to as the groom’s cake given that it is harder than the usual sponge based bridal cakes. As tradition suggests, the nougatine cake was smashed during the wedding ceremony, marking the number of happy years the couple would have by the number of its broken pieces.
To prepare the working station, fill a jug with cold water and place the spatulas and knives in for later use.
Wet one of the wooden boards and the rolling pin and cover with a damp towel. Spray a large sheet of baking paper with non-stick spray.
Measure 200g of sugar and 100g of coarsely ground walnuts - the recipe is two parts sugar and one part nuts.
Pour the sugar in the saucepan and start to heat whilst stirring occasionally.
As the sugar melts, stir more often until the entire sugar amount has melted.
Clear the spatula with another wet spatula swapping regularly to prevent sugar building up on and making the stirring difficult.
When the melted sugar starts to gain a dark brown/dark amber colour, gives out visible steam and actively boils (the sugar should be about 170°c), pour the ground nuts in and cook with the sugar for a minute.
Pour the mixture on the damp wooden board and quickly start to turn with two wet spatulas to cool the mixture.
The mixture is ready to be worked with if the sugar creates threads when the spatula is lifted off it.
Transfer the mixture to oiled baking paper secured on a wooden board and start to roll. Make sure to roll in one direction only to retain the shine on the surface of the nougatine.
To make the base and the discs, mark the circle with a cake mould, gently lift and cut around with scissors. At this stage, the nougatine is still hot and pliable therefore has to be approached with care. Place the base of the cake on a cake drum and let set completely. Make two smaller discs following the same steps.
To make the rings, firstly use scissors to cut long strips.
Form these around the biscuit cutters.
There will be a visible seam but that will be hidden during the assembling. Keep using the scissors to trim the edges for a clean finish until the nougatine is still pliable.
Let the shapes set completely in a place with very low humidity as moisture melts the caramel.
To make the shapes, make dark caramel that will act as glue. Join three different sized circles and starting with the smallest, apply the gluing caramel on the bottom of the circle. Turn the circles so their seam is at the bottom where the glue will mask it.
Plan the placement of shapes and test the straightness of the levels before applying the gluing caramel and building the next tier. Use royal icing to create dots on the edges adding the finishing touches to the cake’s traditional appearance.