Punch-Soaked Sponge Slices

In the Winter Book of A Taste of Slovakia series, which I’m planning to publish later this year, there will be a chapter on Slovak wedding and our most popular wedding cakes. To bring you the best from the field, I joined forces with Jana, a skilled baker who creates all sorts of cakes and tortes for her friends and their special occasions. Her recipe for Punčové rezy will be included in the book together with photos I took while she was making an assortment of cakes for a birthday party.

Some of you may know Punschkrapfen – a classic Austrian dessert laced with rum and glazed with pink fondant. We borrowed the idea from our southern neighbours and created Punčové rezy. There are quite a few recipes for this cake circulating on Slovak cooking websites – and among professional bakers. I tried many, with varied success, and have finally arrived at my own creation that doesn’t use shop-bought fondant or any food colourings.Punch-soaked sponge slices, feature photo

Punch-Soaked Sponge Slices

Serves 20

For the sponge:

  • 6 medium size eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 heaped tablespoons cake flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • a small jar of jam to spread on baked sponge

For the punch:

  • 100 ml redcurrant syrup
  • 100 ml water
  • 50 ml dark rum
  • 3 cloves
  • cinnamon stick

For the icing:

  • 150 g powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons redcurrant syrup

Method:

  1. Line a baking tray of 39x29cm (≈15x11in) with baking paper. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until smooth and fluffy. In a different bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form. Spoon by spoon, add the flour into the yolk mixture and stir gently in between the additions. When all the flour is incorporated, gradually spoon in the whisked egg whites, folding them gently into the batter.batter for sponge dough
  2. Transfer the batter into the baking tray and level with a spatula. Bake in the oven preheated to 180°C for about 15 minutes, or until the sponge turns golden brown on the surface and the skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Take out of the oven and let cool down.baked sponge dough
  3. To make the punch, put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Turn off the heat, stir well, cover with a lid and let stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cover the sponge dough in the baking tray with a large enough wooden board and turn it upside down. Now you have the dough on the board with the baking paper on top. Remove it carefully and discard the paper. Cut off the rough edges, then cut the dough lengthways into three parts. Take away the middle part and chop or tear it into small pieces together with the cut-offs. Place in a mixer and pulse. Transfer the crumbled sponge into a large bowl.sponge dough before filling
  5. Remove the cloves and the cinnamon stick from the punch. Pour it onto the crumbled sponge and stir well. Let soak for a few minutes. In the meantime, spread the jam on the two remaining parts of the sponge. Distribute the punch soaked crumbs onto one part and cover with the other, putting it the jam side down. Press lightly to even all three layers of the cake.putting the sponge layers together
  6. Now is the time to make the icing. Put all the ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well until you achieve a slow-dripping consistency. Apply on the top and the sides of the cake. Don’t worry if some of the icing runs down the sides, the sponge layers will absorb it as you store the cake in a cold place overnight.
  7. The next day, use the butter knife to return any unabsorbed icing back onto the sides of the cake. Only cut as many slices as you need to serve. The rest of the cake can be stored in a cool place for up to a week.Punch-soaked sponge slices

6 thoughts on “Punch-Soaked Sponge Slices

  1. This looks like a very nice cake.

    I have a very basic question so ask you so please forgive the ignorance of an alien living in Slovakia –
    What is cake flour? I have not heard the term before.

    I see many different flours in the supermarkets, many more than in in UK, and they all have different numbers on the packet which baffle me. For my English style cakes and pies I use the soft fine ’00’ and usually have good results.

    I remember once trying to buy flour for bread and tried to ask the advice of another customer, an old lady who I thought would be able to help. I immediately regretted trying to communicate with her – she was horrified that an alien should approach her. A throwback to past times perhaps? These days I go for younger people who can and are pleased to speak English.

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    1. Hello Philip, you would use Psenicna muka hladka 00 Extra in Slovakia for this type of cake. I only put the term ‘cake flour’ there, because many people from outside of Slovakia keep asking me about the flour they should use for Slovak cakes. I have seen ‘cake flour’ being used in the USA for the same type of dough, but never tried it myself. I would appreciate it if someone from that part of the world confirmed or contradicted my assumption.
      And yes, it is definitely better to approach younger people for advice, although they might be all at sea in this particular area. The old generation in Slovakia speaks no English at all, so they are often scared if someone approaches them in a language they don’t understand. Fortunately, this is changing slowly but surely.
      If you need any help with whatever ingredient in my recipes, please don’t hesitate to ask.
      And finally, this IS a wonderful cake to try out. Once you’ve mastered all its nuances, you will want to make it regularly. Happy and healthy 2022 to you and yours!

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      1. Thanks for your reply Jarmila,

        I had forgotten that you are writing for mainly an American audience.

        If I discover an American recipe on the internet which has not been converted to metric weights from their American volume measures I convert it myself and update the recipe for my own use. I have a set of American cup measures so it is not difficult to do.

        For example:
        1 x American cup of sugar weighs 206grams (200 if you’re not a stickler for accuracy).

        Australians use a similar cooking measurement system to Americans but their cups are a different size!

        And incidentally, if you have ever been mystified by an American stick of butter it weighs 110 grams.

        We have not touched on the old English Imperial system of weights and measures that the English have moved away from as the metric system makes so much more sense. But Americans still use our ancient and awkward system originally based upon dimensions of human body parts e.g. one foot which is 12 inches, the width of a thumb.

        I have a friend in England who is an aircraft mechanic happily working with a full a full set of metric tools. He moved to a new employer that services American Boeing aircraft and had to buy a duplicate set of Imperial tools to work there! Madness.

        Just imagine it, the Americans are sending probes to the stars built using a measurement system devised by some long forgotten ancient Briton based upon the width of his thumb or length of his forearm. And they may soon have warplanes flying over Slovakia built the same way…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Interesting and funny at the same time! Thanks for the cup measurements and the weight of the butter stick – yes, I came across that many times before and had no idea how much it actually was. You are a precious source!

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      3. Thanks Jarmila,

        You flatter me. I there is ever anything you think I may be able to help with in the future then please don’t hesitate to ask me.

        Maybe at some point you would want to do a set of conversion tables or whatever to help people?

        Cheer, Philip

        Liked by 1 person

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