Halva is a sweet confectionery originating from the Middle East. You can also get it in Asia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, North America. Depending on the place of origin, different types of halva are available. There are two main types you can get: the first one is based on flour, mainly on grits. The other one is grain-based, usually made from sesame but it can also be made from nuts or sunflower seeds.
My family recently visited Israel and they brought me some halva from there. I don’t like to eat halva on its own, which is why I decided to prepare something from it. The most obvious choice was cake.
I made quite a tasty coca cake with halva-based cream, whipped cream and cherries. The cherries balanced out the sweetness of halva very nicely.
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Sponge cake: all ingredients should be at room temperature.
Separate the egg whites from the yolks and place them into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and whisk until stiff. Once they’re stiff, add caster sugar in small portions, while continuously whisking.
Combine the flour with the cocoa and baking powder then sift it through a sieve. Break the yolks with a fork. Add the dry ingredients and the egg yolks in small, alternating portions to the whisked egg whites.
Pour the cake mixture into a baking tin lined with baking paper and bake for 30 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Once ready, let the cake cool then cut it across horizontally.
Halva cream: pour 100 ml out of the 250 ml milk into a cup or glass and mix it with with an egg yolks and custard powder. Add caster sugar to the remaining 150 ml and place it on heat and bring it to boil. Once it starts boiling, pour the mixture from the mug into it. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly. From the moment the pudding starts boiling, keep it on heat for one minute. Afterwards, let the pudding cool.
Mix the soft butter until fluffy. Add the pudding to the creamy butter, in batches, not at once. Then add halva, also in smaller portions. Mix the cream for a few minutes and press it through a thick sifter. It will make the mixture smooth and without lumps.
Cherries: pour 3 tablespoons of cherry juice into a bowl. Add gelatin and let it soak for 10 minutes. Bring the remaining juice to boil and mix it with the soaked gelatin and cherries. Set aside to a cool place to thicken.
Whipped cream: take 100 ml out of the 400 ml of whipped cream and let it stand for 30 minutes at room temperature. Pour water into a cup and add gelatin. Set it aside to swell.
Once it gets swollen, heat it up in a microwave or over a water bath but be sure not to boil it. Then let it cool and while still runny, combine it with the 100 ml of whipped cream you set aside previously. Take 300 ml of whipped cream from the fridge and whisk it with caster sugar until half-stiff. Quickly add the gelatin previously combined with the cream. Whisk until stiff (for a few seconds).
Folding the cake: spread a little more than 3/4 of the halva cream on the first sponge cake. Arrange ladyfinger biscuits on the cream, keeping 1 cm of space between them. Pour the thickening cherries with jelly between the biscuits. Put it in the fridge for a few minutes to set. Take the cake out of the fridge and put the whipped cream on the jelly then put the second half of the sponge cake over it. Spread the rest of the halva cream on top of the cake. Sprinkle the cake with grated dark chocolate. Let it cool in the fridge for several hours.
I used a rectangular baking tin with a size of 20 by 30 centimetres.
I used 12,5 ladyfinger biscuits.
The pudding will be quite thick, don’t worry about it. Once you combine it with butter and halva and press it through a sifter, it will form a creamy mixture with a stable consistency.
When adding cherries to the cake, they have to be slightly thickened. This applies to both the cherries and the juice in which they are mixed.
If you happen to get lumps after adding gelatin to the 100 ml of whipped cream, you need make it smooth again. In such situations, I put the mixture into a small bowl, which I place in another bowl filled with lukewarm water. Stir vigorously until the whole thing becomes liquid again. The whipped cream, however, should not get warm, so you have to mix all the time and it must be done quickly.
Whisk the whipped cream in the last seconds before pouring it on the cake.
I used halva with the addition of cocoa.
Do you like cherry cakes? If yes, then try our recipe for Cherry roulade.
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