Meggyes Piskόta-Hungarian Sponge Cake with Cherries
This is the last Hungarian recipe I will post. Promise. I thought this one would be a hit, since it is so easy, has no ingredients that you can’t/do not always have on hand for last minute baking and seems to be loved by all. Most Hungarian desserts such as Esterhazy Torte, Dobosh Torte and Apple Meringue Pancake Torte are elaborate concoctions with their roots in the more famous Viennese pastries, which, by the way, have THEIR roots in French pastry. These are store-bought occasion cakes for most Hungarian households. But every Hungarian housewife has a special “Mom’s Homemade Cake” which is a crowd pleaser and whose recipe is passed down through the generations.
This Hungarian Sponge Cake with Cherries (Meggyes Piskόta) is one such cake. It is a much simpler cake and is served as a breakfast cake, a “church cake” or an afternoon snack and is often eaten off a napkin. It is a sweet that is not too sweet and has the additional punch of sour cherries. This is not as airy as a traditional sponge cake-in my mind it is a cross between a sponge and a pound cake. Traditionally, Morello cherries are used-find them in a jar in Trader Joes-but you can use any tart cherries. If you use the frozen ones, be sure to defrost them well and pat dry before using. Otherwise, the cherries will ooze too much liquid and the cake will be soggy.
Since most everyone I know is dieting for the morning and mid-day meals, I turn this cake into a just right after dinner dessert with the addition of some very decadent home-made chocolate ice cream served on the side. However despite the aforementioned diets, somehow the leftover cake stored on the kitchen counter disappears the next day long before dinner. Sour cherries and dark chocolate. Finom (delicious)!
- About 1 lb. Morello cherries or other tart cherries, well drained and patted dry
- 2/3 C. unsalted butter
- 1 1/3 C. confectionery (powdered) sugar
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1 2/3 C. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- For Decorating:
- 1/3 C. confectionary sugar
- 2 TBL. vanilla sugar or granulated sugar or sanding sugar
Preheat the oven to 400ͤ°.
Grease and flour a 9” square pan, a 9” round pan or a small jelly-roll pan.
Sift the flour and baking powder together and set aside.
Beat the butter and confectionery sugar together.
Beat in the egg yolks.
Add the flour mixture and mix gently until thoroughly combined.
Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
Mix about 1/3 of the whites into the butter/flour mixture to lighten.
Gently fold the remainder of the whites into the batter-you will have a very stiff batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the cherries on top.
Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. The time will depend on what size/shape pan you use. A larger pan/thinner cake will take less time.
Cool on a cooling rack and either turn it out if the pan (cherries on the bottom) and dust with a mixture of confectionery sugar and granulated sugar or leave it in the pan and dust with the sugars.