I firmly believe in simple recipes, as at the end of the day, having tried everything new and fancy, we stick to those few ingredients recipes, which do not confuse our brain and our stomach. But, the favourite out of my favourite recipes are those, which can be made ahead and be frozen.
This beautiful cake is the favourite of my favourites. It takes only flour, sugar, milk, butter and eggs to make it. But the best thing about it is that you can make more than you need for tomorrow, and freeze the extra. It becomes only better while sitting for a few weeks in a freezer.
300 g butter
3 cups wheat flour
3/4 cups whole milk
Coarsely cut or grind the butter and work it into the flour. Pour milk and kneed the dough until it forms a ball. If your feel that the dough is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Let the dough rest in a fridge for at least an hour (meanwhile you may prepare custard). Then divide the dough ball into 5-6 equal portions. Roll each portion as thin as possible on a well floured surface (about 3 mm thick), transfer to a round baking sheet and bake in a preheated oven at 400 F until it starts to brown in the middle (for about 10 min). The edges will be darker, which is exactly as it should be. I have 2 baking sheets which saves me a lot of time. I roll the next crust, while the previous one is baking. Keep the portions you are not working with in a fridge. The crusts are very fragile, let them cool down a bit before removing them carefully from the baking sheet. Put them one on top of the other and let them cool down completely.
2 cups whole milk
1 cup sugar
2 tbsp white flour
200 g butter
few drops of vanilla extract
Warm butter to the room temperature, whip it with sugar in a big bowl (you will be adding milk later, there should be enough space for it), add eggs, flour, vanilla, beat well. Warm milk to the boiling point. Pour the hot milk slowly in a steady stream into the butter/eggs mixture while stirring constantly . If you are using a hand mixer, it would be the tricky part, let somebody help you. Warm the mixture carefully, stirring it constantly, over the low heat until it thickens (almost to the boiling point). Then let it cool down completely to the room temperature, then add, mixing, to the whipped butter. You may add a tea spoon of brandy to your custard.
The fun part – stacking and spreading! Spread a bit of custard cream on a plate or tray before placing the first crust on it so it would stick and would not move and have fun! Be generous with a custard! If you have a home made jam, any kind of jam, spread it instead of the custard between middle crust layers.
The sad part – the cake needs to sit in a cool place for a day. The crusts need time to soak and to soften. Keep it in mind if you are making it for an occasion.
As you see from the picture, the crusts are not perfectly uniformly round. I think it only adds to the natural beauty of the cake. But, sometimes the rolled dough is too big for the sheet, or the crust is too uneven, so I cut some pieces out. At the end I roll the leftovers together and bake them darker than other crusts. I crush the leftovers crust in a bowl and sprinkle the crumbs on the top of the cake.
As I said, you may freeze this cake. Bake more crusts and make two cakes, or leave the half of one cake and freeze the other. Thawed and freshly dusted with icing sugar, it is even better.