Mitzpe Hayamim, The Best Cake in The World
I stand on the wide terrace and watch my favorite Galilean landscape. Clear air, green fields around me and the sound of silence. All the hotel guests are still asleep and only me and Sivan Tzafrir, the Mitzpe Hayamim Hotel’s Pastry Chef, are awake. I walk quietly to the patisserie window and watch him work.
Tzafrir, who recognized my passion for the baking world, collaborated with me and made me an active spectator in his preparations. He would smile at me through the big window, occasionally coming out of the patisserie with hot products from the oven and inviting me to come in and watch his magical work.
The first time I tasted it I realized it was a miracle, it was the best cake I’ve ever tasted and to be honest to this day I think it has no competitors. Tzafrir gladly agreed to give me the recipe and after making it dozens of times and making some changes in the recipe, I came up with my favorite version.
When I posted the cake recipe a few years ago on the old blog, I never imagined it would become the most beloved cake on the blog. People from all over the world send me pictures of it, people are willing to swear that this is the best cake they have ever tasted (and I agree with them), it has become a “permanent resident” in so many homes and it’s so exciting.
For Rosh Hashanah, I decided to re-examine the recipe, change it a bit and photograph the result. This cake is wonderful for Rosh Hashanah and for every day, it has honey and date honey, nuts and a wonderful sweetness that will stay with you all year long, at least.
Almond Pastry Dough:
200g soft butter, cubed
50g brown sugar (I use Muscovado)
230g all-purpose flour, sifted
5g baking powder
30g almond meal
Caramel and Nuts Layer:
200g condensed milk (or 100g condensed milk, 100g heavy whipping cream)
200g butter, cubed
120g brown sugar (I use Muscovado)
30g honey or date honey (Silan)
360g roasted nuts, chopped. I use a mix of hazelnuts, pecans and walnuts
220g heavy whipping cream
220g dark chocolate, chopped (at least 70% cocoa)
1. Preheat the oven to 160C degrees and line a 23cm square pan with parchment paper.
2. Almond Pastry Dough: In a mixer bowl or food processor, mix all the dough ingredients until a soft and uniform dough is obtained. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan to form an even layer and bake for about 30 minutes, until the dough is very golden. Set aside to cool.
3. Caramel and Nuts Layer: In a medium saucepan cook together condensed milk, butter, sugar and honey. Bring to the boil and add the chopped nuts, continue to mix and remove from heat.
4. After the filling has cooled slightly, pour it over the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Chocolate Ganache: In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until almost boiling. Remove from heat and strain the cream into the bowl with the chocolate. Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes before stirring. Using a spatula, slowly begin to stir together the chocolate and cream. Keep the spatula in the center of the bowl, touching the bottom, without lifting it out, so that air bubbles aren’t incorporated in. Stir slowly and carefully until you have a glossy ganache with no air bubbles. Add the honey and stir slowly, pour the ganache on the caramel and nuts layer.
6. Refrigerate for 2 hours, cut into cubes and enjoy.
Bon-Appétit ans Shana Tova