When I think about visiting my grandmother in New York as a child I always remember her standing in the kitchen and making a special cake that looked like an „Igel“ (hedgehog). She always made it for relatives we visited during our stay who never wanted her to bring anything but her famous „Igel“.
Shortly after launching our blog my uncle Eric asked us to do the „Igel“ as a challenge. Now it’s not a challenge this time, but I did him the favour of making this traditional family cake. It is very, very rich and sweet and consists of buttercream with coffee and ladyfingers.
Eric, I hope I fulfilled your request (in rhyme-form) to your satisfaction:
„There is such a cake called an Igel,
Which, when made right looks rather regal;
Pure sugar and butter,
It makes heart doctors utter:
“Delicious!..but it should be illegal!”
My sister had the recipe in her family cookbook so I really tried my best to hold up the tradition!
Creme: Mix 250 g butter (room temperature!), 5 egg yolks, 1/2 cup powdered or very fine sugar. In a cup, mix 2-3 tablespoons of instant coffee with very little water (so that you get a kind of coffee paste) and mix it with the buttercream. Refrigerate briefly.
Assembly: Place a row of ladyfingers (the soft kind – this is important if you’re in Germany, where it might be preferable to use “Wiener Boden” or some kind of light spongecake) on a cakeplatter or plate, cover with buttercream, add another layer of ladyfingers. You may want to do four or five layers of ladyfingers, depending on how many you have and how big you want the resulting Igel to be. Make sure to save enough buttercream to cover the top and all the four sides of the Igel with buttercream!
Final touch: Roast slivered almonds in a pan until they turn medium-brown. Once they are cool, use them to decorate the cake, sticking them into the top and sides – this is where the concoction gets its name! Whether you do this at random or in some geometrically accurate pattern (straight lines) is up to you.