I had a long list of bakes lined up against this letter and I had quite the hard time picking just one. I finalized on a bake that has an interesting, scandalous story attached to it :D
Rigó Jancsi is layers of rich chocolate sponge cake sandwiched with a layer of rich chocolate whipped filling and then topped with a chocolate glaze. Its chocolate upon chocolate upon chocolate..every chocolate lover’s dream. It is typically served as a 2”x2” square. Of course there is no restriction on how many of these squares you can eat ;)
The story goes that there was a famous Hungarian Gypsy violinist, Rigó Jancsi who seduced and married Clara Ward, the wife of a Belgian Prince. Clara and Jancsi met in 1896 while Rigó played violin at a restaurant in Paris where Clara and her Prince husband, dined. The cake is named after Rigó Jancsi and in honor of their love story. Their marriage was written about extensively in newspapers back then.
Sources do not agree about the origin of the pastry. Some claim that Rigó created the pastry together with an unknown pastry chef to surprise Clara. Others claim that Rigó Jancsi brought this pastry to Clara and the confectioner named it Rigó Jancsi afterwards.
Whatever the story, the cake is a must try. It is often made with Rum in the filling, but I left that out so my boys could enjoy it as well..which they did..plenty of these squares!
You will need:
Makes: 20-24 2” squares
Recipe adapted from here
For the Chocolate Sponge cake:
¼ cup All-purpose flour
1.5 tbsp Cocoa powder
4 tbsp Unsalted butter
3 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup sugar, divided
1/8 tsp salt
For the chocolate glaze:
4 oz Bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Corn syrup
½ tsp Vanilla extract
For the Filling:
1 tbsp Cocoa powder
¼ cup Powdered sugar
4 oz Semi-sweet chocolate, chopped fine
1 cup Heavy cream
½ tsp Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 12x16 or 9x13 inch sheet pan with parchment paper. Brush with melted butter and set aside.
Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips and heat in 10-second bursts until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool.
Separate the egg whites and yolks. Beat the yolks with the whisk attachment on medium high speed until pale yellow and light. Gradually add in the half of the sugar while beating on low. Increase speed to medium high and continue whipping until the yolks fall in ribbons form the whisk when lifted. Transfer to another bowl.
Rinse and dry the mixing bowl and add the egg whites. Beat on medium high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar and the salt. Beat until the meringue forms stiff peaks and is very glossy.
Combine the cooled chocolate-butter mix to the beaten yolks. Fold in gently, don’t over mix. Now add 1/3rd of the meringue and fold. Add the remaining meringue in two additions and fold gently until no streaks of white remain. Sift the flour and cocoa and fold into the beaten mixture.
Pour into prepared sheet pan and bake for 12-15 minutes. I baked mine for 14 minutes.
The sponge cake is very fragile. Once baked, remove pan from oven. Line a rack with parchment paper and place over cake. Flip the pan carefully and lift it off the cake. Peel the parchment paper off taking care not to rip the delicate sponge. Place a clean kitchen towel on the sponge and flip again onto another rack. Peel off the other parchment and allow the sponge to cool completely. Once cooled, cut the sponge into half.
Make the Glaze:
Prepare the glaze by combining all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl, except for the vanilla extract. Heat the bowl on full power at 20-second intervals, stirring in between until fully melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and pour over one half of the cake and spread evenly with a spatula. Rest for an hour until glaze is set. Cut into 2” squares, cleaning the knife between each cut. This ensures sharp clean cuts. You can chill the pieces while you assemble the rest of the cake.
Make the Filling:
Stir together the cocoa powder and powdered sugar. Melt the chocolate until smooth and let cool. Whip the cream to soft peaks, then add the cocoa and powdered sugar. Whip until stiff and the cream holds shape when lifted. Don’t over beat It will turn into butter. Fold in the melted chocolate.
Apply a thin layer of apricot jam on the other cake layer. Spread a thick layer of filling evenly, using a spatula over the cake.
Line up chilled chocolate cake squares over the filling and chill for 30 minutes. Slice into squares following the cut squares as a guide.
BAKES FROM AROUND THE WORLD:
A for ANZAC BISCUITS - AUSTRALIA
B for BASBOUSA - EGYPT
C for CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS - FRANCE
D for DAMPER BREAD - AUSTRALIA
E for EMPANADAS - MEXICO
F for FLAN MEXICANO - MEXICO
G for GRISSINI BREADSTICKS - ITALY
J for JOULUTORTTU - FINLAND
K for KORVAPUUSTI - FINLAND
L for LEMON SPRITZ SANDWICH COOKIES - GERMANY