It had been a while since the supper club group had gotten together, so Stephanie and I decided to take the initiative and rally the cooking troups. It’s hard, finding a night that eight people can meet up for dinner, but it so happened that this past Saturday night worked… so we all gathered at my house for an evening of German(ish) food.
See, supper club was Stephanie’s brainchild; the general idea is that we would have a themed dinner at someone’s house every month or so*. Themes could be something as silly as “things made with flour” or as simple as a chosen country’s cuisine. Once the theme was set, we’d then all brainstorm courses or dishes to bring to dinner, as well as beverages to share.
So, after a little caucus, Saturday night’s dinner was made up of with Käsespätzle (a sort of macaroni and cheese with bits of fried onions), potato salad, a lot of obscene-looking bratwursts**, Zwiebelkuchen (an onion, bacon and cheese tart) and a green salad. We also made a bunch of radlers — which, while delicious, would have been much more refreshing if the weather actually began acting like June…
I’m getting off topic.
My contribution to our communal table was dessert, something that made me a little nervous. On my trips in Germany, all we ate after dinner was gelato, of all things, and the only other possibilities I could think of was either a Black Forest cake or an apple strudel… neither of which got me overly excited. Luckily, I found a recipe for a Gugelhupf, a traditional marble cake; I’ve always loved a marble cake — there’s something about the swirly cross-section that I find so endearing. This cake had not only lovely whorls of chocolate and vanilla, but also fantastic flavors and a nice texture. I served it along with some berries and mint sugar (two parts mint leaves to one part sugar, blitzed in the blender) and schlag, which is German for whipped cream. Doesn’t everything taste better with schlag, after all?
Oh, and not to toot my own horn — toot toot — but I’m quite pleased with my invitation-making handiwork. The photo from Keith and my trip to Bavaria a few years ago; it’s of the Neues Rathaus in Munich’s Marienplatz, the square in the city center.
Gugelhupf (Marble Cake), from German Pastry Baking
Makes twelve portions.
for the batter
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1¾ cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups sifted flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup whole milk (though I used cream)
for the chocolate batter
3 tablespoons cocoa
3 tablespoons dark rum
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch bundt cake mold.
- Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add vanilla. Fold in half of the flour and baking powder. Add the milk. Mix in the remainder of flour, stirring gently but thoroughly.
- Stir cocoa and rum together in a separate bowl until smooth. Remove one-third of the batter and fold gently into the cocoa mixture.
- Pour half of the remaining vanilla batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it with a spatula. Add the chocolate batter to the pan, followed by the rest of the vanilla batter. If you wish, run a knife blade through the batter to marble it further. (I wished, and did. Just be careful not to actually mix the batters together, just to swirl them.)
- Bake on the lowest rack of a preheated 375°F oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding onto a cake rack to cool thoroughly. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.