Puncs Torta (Punch Cake)

Posted on November 6, 2012


AKA Punch Cake.

I’m not Hungarian, but a friend of mine is, and she just moved to the same city as me, and it was her birthday.  So I decided to give this cake a try.  It looks amazing, and I love European layered cakes, like Opera Cake, and since at one time Austria & Hungary were one – I assumed this cake would be equally as awesome.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F

Prep 2 8-inch springform pans, and 1 regular round pan of about the same size.  (Spray, line with parchment, spray again)

1.0 Cake  

  • 9     ________________ egg whites
  • 9     ________________ egg yolks
  • 1 Cup   ________________ sugar (reserve a TBSP for the egg whites)
  • 142 grams  ________________ Cake Flour (1.5 Cups, before sifting) – sift
  • 1 tsp   ________________ vanilla
  • 14 tsp  ________________ salt
  • In a large bowl, or stand mixer whip the egg whites, with the sugar.
    • Start the whites with a whisk, by hand, to avoid un-whipped egg whites from collecting in the bottom of the bowl
  • Whip to stiff peaks – stiff but not dry.
  • Scoop whipped egg whites into another clean bowl
  • Beat the yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla
  • On low, add in the flour, until just combined
  • Remove from mixer, and fold in one-third of the egg whites.
  • Fold in the rest of the egg whites, carefully.
  • Distribute into the pans.
  • Bake for 7 to 10 minutes.  Check at 7 minutes.  Don’t let it get too brown, but make sure the middle isn’t goopy.
  • Remove, and let cool.
  • Flip onto a cooling rack (for the non springform), and pull the parchment off, cover the cake with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Undo the springform pan, and flip onto a cooling rack.
  • Clean the springform pans – or at least give them a decent wipe with paper towel.

2.0 Rum Syrup

  • 200 grams  ________________ Sugar (1 Cup)
  • 23 cup  ________________ water
  • 14 cup  ________________ dark rum
  • 12 cup  ________________ orange peel and rind
  • 10 drops  ________________ bitters (I used yuppy hopped grapefruit bitters, but angostora, or any bitter you would put in rum punch would work)
  • Bring water and sugar to a boil
  • Squeeze the orange peels into the hot sugar mixture, like you’re making a cocktail
  • Simmer till the sugar is clearly dissolved, like you’re making simple syrup
  • Remove from heat and let cool a little before adding the rum and bitters.
  • Cut up the cake from the non-spring form pan, and soak it in the liquid you just made
  • Let sit for 10 minutes, not so long that it turms to complete mush.

3.0 Jam – for layer coating

  • 34 cup  ________________ apricot jam (or mix of apricot and raspberry)
  • Springform pan & the bottom of the other springform pan.
  • A heavy object that will fit on top of the springform pan, pressing down.
  • Warm the jam, and then strain it.
  • Spread the jam on one side of the whole layers.
  • Place the layer jam side up, in the springform pan.
  • Place a layer of the rum soaked cake pieces on top of the bottom layer.
  • Spread apricot jam on one side of the other layer, and place it on top.
  • Place the bottom of the other pan on top, and weight.
  • Put in the fridge overnight, or a few hours.
  • Let the cake warm up some before making the fondant coating.

4.0 Fondant Coating

  • 1,000 grams  ________________ Sugar (5 Cup)
  • 200 grams  ________________ glucose syrup (or corn syrup)
  • 200 grams  ________________ water
  • 100 grams _________________ fondant (optional, to seed the crystallization)
  • \frac{1}{4} cup  ________________ raspberry jam, strained + squeeze of lemon juice
  • Mix sugar, water, and glucose syrup in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil
  • Heat to 243°F / 117°Cthen remove from heat
  • Sprinkle with cold water to help cool it, and add the optional fondant.
  • Cool to 120°F
  • Agitate in the pan, mixing it.
  • Pour it into the stand mixer, and beat with the paddle attachment.
  • It will crystallize and become semi-solid.  The more you mix it, the more dough like it becomes.
  • You want it to stay semi liquid, so you can stop before it gets doughy, or you can get it doughy, then carefully reheat it to 100° F
  • Stir in the raspberry jam and lemon juice.


5.0 Final Assembly

  • All your pieces
  • Round Cake Board
  • Cooling Rack
  • Sheet pan
  • Un-mold the cake onto a cake board (AKA round piece of cardboard)
  • Place on a rack, on the sheet pan, and angle it up slightly.
  • Pour the warmed fondant over the cake to coat.
  • Tilt the other direction, and pour more over.
  • Wait a minute or two, and then pour over the rest of the fondant.

Puncs Torta – Covering in fondant

At first finding a recipe in English was challenging – which is a good sign.  Then I found this amazing blog. zsuzsa is in the kitchen.  Lots of great recipes.  My recipe is based on zsuza’s with some additions/alterations to suit my taste and baking style.  One thing I don’t understand about European cake recipes, is why they never call for salt, or vanilla.  It is probably because they always get tons of toppings and syrups – but why not start with a super awesome cake in the first place, then make it awesomer.

I ended up needing to freeze this cake – it froze OK – but the rum sort of evaporates in the freezer, leaving it less soft.  Make sure to let it thaw for a day in the fridge, then several hours out of the fridge.  We didn’t really do this, because we ate it in a hurry, before hurricane Sandy.

Posted in: Cake, Complicated