Kolach Cake (Cream Cheese Cake)
Buttery vanilla cake wrapped around sweet cream cheese. All lightly scented with zesty lemon and earthy cardamom (optional here). Baked in tart or round tin. This is a fantastic quick bake which does not compromise on flavour.
The cake looks like one big kolach! We are big fans of this buttery dough filled with cream cheese (you can find the recipe for Brioche Kolaches here). This cake is a quick bake which combines same flavours - buttery cake filled with sweet cream cheese. The cake can be baked in a round tin or tart tin. Tart tin gives this simple cake beautiful shape.
Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar and serve with warm fruit coulis. Fruit is almost mandatory here! Another option which works great here is using fresh pitted cherries in this bake (250g, place in cream cheese filling and bake). This is a good option if you plan to serve this kolach cake warm and don’t foresee any leftovers. Otherwise - fruit coulis works perfectly. Serve the cake warm or cooled.
This cake will stay enjoyable for 2-3 days. If you enjoy the cake warm - on second day, place it in the oven at 180C (no need to preheat the oven) and bake for 4 minutes, just enough time to warm it up.
For a good bake:
- Ingredients at room temperature - make sure eggs, butter, cream cheese are at room temperature.
- Vanilla and lemon - rub vanilla seeds and lemon zest into sugar using your finger tips and palms of your hands. In that way you will release more flavour from both. You will use half of the vanilla seeds for the cake and the balance will be used in cream cheese filling. Place the remaining vanilla pod in the melted butter (to infuse melted butter with vanilla flavour; melt butter and when still warm place the pod - rub few times to remove leftover seeds, leave in the butter until it's cooled to room temperature and then remove the pod before adding butter to the cake).
- Fluffy cake base - slowly add zesty sugar to eggs (1-2 Tbsp at a time) and beat until the base is fluffy and pale. Add melted butter in a steady stream to keep as much volume as possible. When adding flour use light touch and don’t over-mix.
- Cream cheese - use traditional cream cheese or Philadelphia. You will get best result with smooth cream cheese. If you are using local curdled cheese - make sure to remove excess liquid and to grind it 2-3 times until smooth. Ricotta and mascarpone don’t work that great in this bake.
- Baking at high temperature - ensures that the base puffs up (no soggy, under baked bottom) and creates lovely buttery edges in this cake. The main challenge in this bake is to get proper texture of the buttery cake underneath (covered with fairly heavy cream cheese layer). Baking at high first, fixes just that. Leave some 2cm cake uncovered around the rim of the tin (this will ensure the cake puffs up nicely; will also give lovely golden ring around the cream cheese filling).
Kolach Cake (Cream Cheese Cake) Recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Time: 20 min prep + 40-45 min baking
Tin: 28 cm tart tin or 28 cm round tin
- 140g all-purpose flour
- 1 flat tsp baking powder
- 1/5 tsp ground cardamom (optional)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod - use half of the seeds for the cake, half for the cream cheese
- lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 115g butter, melted and at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) cream (38%)
- 50g unsalted butter, soft
- 75g (5 Tbsps) sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 300g cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 Tbsps (30ml) cream (38%)
- 300g fruit (cherries/raspberries/blackberries/blueberries/strawberries)
- 2 Tbsps (30ml) water
- 2-3 Tbsps (30-45g) sugar, to taste
- confectioners' sugar or melted chocolate to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 220C (200C fan forced). Grease bottom and sides of the tin with butter, line the bottom of the tin with parchment paper.
2. Prepare dry ingredients: Mix flour with baking powder and cardamom (if using) and sift. Set aside.
3. Prepare fluffy cake base: Cut vanilla pod and remove seeds. Use half of the seeds (you will use remaining part in cream cheese filling). Rub vanilla seeds and lemon zest into sugar using palms of your hands. Place remaining vanilla pod in melted butter (and stir few times to get the most out of the flavour; remove the pod just before adding butter to the rest of ingredients). In your main mixing bowl beat eggs (on medium-high speed, use handheld mixer or whisk attachment) until fluffy (1-2 minutes), start adding vanilla/lemon sugar - 1 Tbsp at a time, and beat until pale and fluffy (3-4 minutes, mixing at high speed). Add vanilla extract and salt and mix for few more seconds.
4. Combine: Change to paddle attachment (or mix on lowest speed). In a steady stream start adding vanilla butter to fluffy cake base (from Step 3) and mix on low speed until combined. Add sifted flour (from Step 2) in two turns and mix only until combined. At the end, add 1 Tbsp cream and mix until combined. Transfer the cake base into tart tin (level out).
5. Prepare cream cheese filling: Beat soft butter for 1 minute until creamy. Rub remaining vanilla seeds into sugar and start adding to butter (1 Tbsp at a time, beat for 2-3 minutes until pale and fluffy). Add 1 egg and mix only until combined; then mixing on low speed start adding cream cheese - 2 Tablespoons at a time. It will take 1-2 minutes to fully incorporate cream cheese. At the end, add 2 Tbsps cream and mix only until combined. Pour vanilla cream cheese on top of the cake base - leaving 2cm space around the rim uncovered, level out.
6. Bake at 220C (200C fan forced) for 10 minutes then reduce the temperature to 165C (145C fan forced) and bake for another 30-35 minutes. When baked, open ajar the oven door and leave to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven to cool. Enjoy the cake warm or cooled. To prepare fruit coulis - cook fruit of your choice (raspberries, cherries, strawberries, blueberries or blackberries - all work well) with sugar and water over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 7-10 minutes until fruit is reduced. When ready, purée the fruit in a blender or food processor, then strain through a sieve to achieve smooth consistency. Serve warm.